Kathleen King resigned from the Santa Clara County Board of Education earlier this month, citing the need to focus more on the Healthier Kids Foundation, a nonprofit for which she’s served as CEO the last 13 years.
King was appointed to the board in 2018 as the Area 2 trustee following the resignation of Dr. Michael Chang the year prior. The Area 2 seat represents Cupertino Union, Lakeside Joint Union, Loma Prieta Joint Union, Los Gatos Union, Saratoga Union, and the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School districts, as well as parts of the Santa Clara Unified and Sunnyvale school districts.
King, whose last day was June 11, told The Beat that her resignation was a “hard decision.” But being on the Board of Education and the leader of the Healthier Kids Foundation –– a nonprofit focused on health screenings for students –– often posed conflicts of interest.
“I couldn’t contract with the Office of Education in the area’s [the Healthier Kids Foundation] work in parallel or partner on because I was part of both agencies,” King said. “I know with the kids going back to school, there are going to be so many issues that I could do more at Healthy Kids Foundation and partnered with the Office of Education than I could on the board.”
After more than a year of remote learning for many students across the county, King says she’s focused on mental health screenings and ensuring students receive the support they need. Originally a pilot program at the Franklin-McKinley School District in San Jose, Healthier Kids Foundation plans to expand to districts across the county –– including the Milpitas Unified School District.
Board President Claudia Rossi applauded her former colleague for being a “champion for children” and said she would personally miss King’s presence on the board.
“Kathleen King is truly one of the most dedicated, amazing women that I have ever met and I respect and admire her,” Rossi told The Beat. “Wherever she goes, she gives her best and whatever she’s a part of becomes better because that’s who she is.”
At the time of her resignation, King was serving as the board’s vice president, prompting the board to appoint Trustee Peter Ortiz to the second-in-command position at its June 16 meeting.
The board has also opted to appoint someone to the Area 2 seat instead of calling for an election, which would cost the county office of education an estimated $700,000.
“Given that there’s truly a short amount of time left in this term, I think that it’s important for us to save the public’s money,” Ortiz said at the June 16 meeting. “I personally feel like the only sensible decision would be to move forward with an appointment process and save the detrimental effect to the public.”