Name: Chris Norwood
(Currently serving as a Board Member on Milpitas Unified School District’s Board of Education)
Running for: Milpitas Unified School District (MUSD) Governing School Board Member
Why are you running?
I have the most experience as a board member and want to make sure we keep moving in the best direction. I have built strong working relationships throughout MUSD and Milpitas – ones that have produced positive results for our students. I’ve also strengthened relationships for MUSD with other organizations. These relationships have increased funding and resources, and have produced new opportunities for Milpitas students, staff and community. While we are heading in the right direction, there is plenty of work to be done that requires experienced and trusted leadership.
What’s the biggest problem facing MUSD schools right now? And how would you intend to solve it?
The biggest problem MUSD faces is a national public education industry problem. There’s a shortage of teachers and people who want to work in public education. There’s a shortage of affordable housing for those whose income is entry to mid-level. There’s an exodus of people leaving the state due to the cost of living and hybrid flexibility many companies offer.
I see the problem for Milpitas as an opportunity to build our own employee and teacher pipeline from within our community and our graduates. I see the problem as an opportunity to build more relationships and partners on behalf of our employees and their needs.
What would your priorities be should you get elected?
My priorities are:
- School Campus Safety
- Mental health and wellness for staff/students
- Fiscal management (Making sure our credit rating stays excellent, staff is compensated according to our budget and needs, fundraising, grant writing, etc.)
- Inclusive college and career pathways for all students and adult learners
- Finishing bond projects (Innovation Campus, MHS Performing Arts Theater)
- Increasing our funding sources
- Recruiting, retaining and developing the best teachers and educators for MUSD students and adult learners
What can you bring to the table that you feel no other candidate can bring?
I’m a 40+ year resident who knows the history of Milpitas. I’m an alumni of Milpitas schools and member of the Milpitas High School Hall of Fame.The Milpitas Unified District serves almost 10,000 students and has more than 1000 employees. We have 18 schools whose buildings range from 60+ years to 5 years. The world is changing and our children need to be prepared. I’ve helped raise millions of dollars and strategically plan for the future. I bring to the board information from across the nation, county, and state from the relationships I’ve built over the years for consideration.
What makes the MUSD community – leadership, staff, students, families – so exceptional?
When Superintendent Cheryl Jordan talked about wanting a “Culture of We” 6 years ago, it immediately resonated with me because that is how I grew up in Milpitas and believed the district could be. The Culture of We is about everyone having the opportunity to have a voice and express it. It’s about the ability to agree to disagree and still work together so Milpitas children and families have exceptional academic experiences and even better career pathway opportunities. It’s about building bridges with Milpitas Police, Fire, community organizations, business partners and caring residents.
Where do you see MUSD schools 10 years from now?
- Several of the older schools will be in some phase of their remodeling process
- The MUSD Innovation Campus and MHS Performing Arts Theater will be fully utilized
- MHS debate, football, softball, badminton, tennis, robotics, and math clubs will have more championships
- More MHS grads will be teaching in the District than ever before
- More language programs during the school day and after school
- Computer science will be taught at every grade level
- Stronger than ever!
What do you think is the most exciting thing happening at MUSD right now?
We are taking what we learned during COVID to better serve students and families. We are building bridges to new partners across the region. Our city, community and district partnership are solving problems together. We are exceeding expectations of the 2018 Bond and bringing more value than ever to public education in Milpitas. We are building the MUSD Innovation Campus with strategic partners, alumni, and community. We are exemplifying a Culture of We!
Who is your inspiration, and why?
My mom is my inspiration. When I was in high school, my parents divorced and my mom had the sole responsibility of taking care of my sister and I. She worked 2 jobs and showed up to every school activity. She kept me focused on my education and developing my leadership skills to serve others.
Can you tell us one interesting thing about yourself that other people don’t really know about?
I pray daily. I like old Western movies. I binge watch Law and Order at least once a month on WE TV.
What’s your favorite spot in Milpitas?
Ed Levin Park. My dad took me there as a kid and taught me how to fish before he and my mom divorced.
What do you love most about Milpitas?
I love hearing the stories of the longtime Milpitas residents, the history, and all the different food spots. I love watching the kids go to school, perform, and compete. I love seeing our hills, knowing the Police Chief is a Milpitas graduate, and how the city has helped raise me and my children.