takashi%2Bweb%2Bclean.jpg

SparkLeadership is proud to support diverse new leaders who are committed to making sure every child has the opportunity to succeed.

In 2018, we supported 255 candidates to run at all levels — from school board to Congress — and 156 won, for a win rate of 61%.

Below are just a few examples of the values-oriented leaders elected in 2018.

EJ won a historic race in 2018, becoming the first person of color and youngest-ever to serve on the Gwinnett County Board of Education. EJ is working to increase equity in teacher supports, reduce disproportionality in student discipline, and provide comprehensive student wellness services. He is committed to a future where every one of the district’s nearly 180,000 students – of whom the majority are students of color – graduate and are college-ready.

EJ won a historic race in 2018, becoming the first person of color and youngest-ever to serve on the Gwinnett County Board of Education. EJ is working to increase equity in teacher supports, reduce disproportionality in student discipline, and provide comprehensive student wellness services. He is committed to a future where every one of the district’s nearly 180,000 students – of whom the majority are students of color – graduate and are college-ready.

I serve because it’s critical for our students to have role models in public service who view them as the most important constituents and who will fight for every opportunity that realizes their potential.
— Everton “EJ” Blair, Gwinnett County Board of Education, Georgia
Julie was elected in 2018, securing 52% of the vote in an election that saw over 1.7 million votes cast. She first ran for office in 2016 for the Texas 61st District Court; earning key endorsements and running a strong campaign but losing in a primary runoff election by less than 1% of the vote. As a judge on the First Court of Appeals, Julie will hear criminal and civil cases on appeal from the trial courts in a 10-county district.

Julie was elected in 2018, securing 52% of the vote in an election that saw over 1.7 million votes cast. She first ran for office in 2016 for the Texas 61st District Court; earning key endorsements and running a strong campaign but losing in a primary runoff election by less than 1% of the vote. As a judge on the First Court of Appeals, Julie will hear criminal and civil cases on appeal from the trial courts in a 10-county district.

The connection between serving as a teacher in an elementary school in the South Bronx and as a judge in Houston isn’t immediately obvious. But just as the importance of a teacher cannot be overstated, neither can that of a judge’s role in the fight for equity and opportunity. Especially in an appeals court, we are very frequently a person’s last opportunity for justice.
— Julie Countiss, Texas First Court of Appeals
Lorena was elected to an at-large seat on the board in 2018. She was the top vote-getter, earning close to 60,000 votes in a field of eight candidates. Lorena first ran in 2016, coming close to victory and earning just 2 percent fewer votes than the second-place incumbent. She came out of the race disheartened but more determined than ever to fight for children in her community.

Lorena was elected to an at-large seat on the board in 2018. She was the top vote-getter, earning close to 60,000 votes in a field of eight candidates. Lorena first ran in 2016, coming close to victory and earning just 2 percent fewer votes than the second-place incumbent. She came out of the race disheartened but more determined than ever to fight for children in her community.

As an East San Jose native and educator, I understand firsthand what it is like to grow up and teach in this community, where far too many children lack the opportunities they deserve. I’m bringing my experience as an educator to the board and will fight every day to make sure that underrepresented voices are being heard.
— Lorena Chavez, East Side Union High School District School Board, San Jose, CA