Kelly Yip-Chuan is running for re-election to Milpitas Unified School District’s (MUSD) Board of Education.
Yip-Chuan, who is currently President of MUSD’s School Board, has served in her seat since 2018. And she remains more focused than ever on ensuring that MUSD students receive the best education possible.
“I recognized the Board can make a difference, and it’s increased my commitment,” said Yip-Chuan in an interview with The Beat.
Yip-Chuan is intimately aware of the power that lies in education. She experienced it firsthand when she and her family immigrated from Vietnam and arrived in the United States in 1980. She, her parents, and her siblings were all suddenly thrust into a whole new world – and didn’t speak a word of English. Yip-Chuan was just turning 7 at the time. The family moved into government housing – a 2-bedroom duplex in Modesto.
“I was terrified,” said Yip-Chuan. “I cried at school. I didn’t have any friends.”
But she persisted. She showed up every day to school, intent upon getting an education and learning English. Although it was tough, little by little, things started to get easier. She started being able to speak and understand her new language. In time, things started to come together for her and her family.
“This is why I’m so passionate about education,” said Yip-Chuan.
When Yip-Chuan sees students who are English Language Learners in the school district, she feels an instant connection to them. She understands what they’re going through, and how hard they’ll have to work. And she can attest to the fact that every moment of that challenge is worth it.
“I can understand the challenge that these students and families face,” said Yip-Chuan. “And I really believe in the value of good education.”
Yip-Chuan currently has three girls attending schools in the district – one at Milpitas High School, another at Thomas Russell Middle School, and another at William Burnett Elementary School. Her husband, Bill Chuan, serves on the City of Milpitas’ Planning Commission.
When Yip-Chuan and her family decided to settle down in Milpitas in 2008, they did so because of MUSD schools’ stellar reputation.
Along with working full-time as a Realtor, Yip-Chuan was also a substitute teacher for MUSD from 2013-2018. She started subbing when her oldest child was in second grade at Anthony Spangler Elementary School. At first, she was only subbing for her daughter’s class, but then other teachers found out and started requesting her to sub for their classes, as well.
Along with that, Yip-Chuan has also been very much involved with various PTAs at her daughters’ different schools. She is a former PTA President at Spangler, and used to be Parliamentarian on Burnett’s PTA Board. She has also served as Vice Chair for MUSD’s Community Board Advisory Council (CBAC).
“I always knew that one day I wanted to get involved in my children’s education because with my parents — they didn’t have the resources, they didn’t speak English,” said Yip-Chuan. “I wanted them to be there and help at school, but they were so busy raising the six of us.”
When asked what her priorities would be if she were re-elected to the School Board, Yip-Chuan spoke about continuing to ensure the health and safety of students and staff, as the world continues grappling with Covid.
“Another priority is to ensure 2018 bond measure AA is being implemented in the way it’s supposed to be,” said Yip-Chuan.
This means: campus safety, remodeling and renovating schools, and completing the Innovation Campus (which will have its groundbreaking on August 3) to alleviate overcrowding at the high school.
Right now, Yip-Chuan is looking ahead, planning out these next few months of re-election campaigning. So far, Rob Jung and Anu Nakka have also announced they are running for one of the three open Board seats.
“I’m very dedicated to serving,” said Yip-Chuan. “I understand Milpitas’ diverse community. I’m passionate about wanting to help others who are in similar situations as I was. Because education pulled me out of poverty.”