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November 8, 2016 — California General Election

Saratoga Union School DistrictCandidate for Board Member

Photo of Sophia Kao

Sophia Kao

5,842 votes (39.46%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Educational Development of the Whole Child: Provide more electives and extra-curriculum activities for a balanced and well-rounded learning environment.
  • Technology and Curriculum Innovation: Enhance the overall quality of education by improving technology within the district.
  • Open Communication and Community Collaboration: Engage the community, parents, teachers, and school staff as education partners.



University of Texas at Austin Master of Science, Electrical Computer Engineering (1994)
University of Chiao Tung University, Taiwan Bachelor of Science, Electronics Engineering (1991)

Community Activities

Technology Planning Committee, Saratoga Union School District (2016–current)
School Site Countil, Saratoga High School (2016–current)
Chair and Board Member, Family Vacation Camp (2003–current)
Science Fair, Math Coach and Judge, Live Oak Academy (2010–2013)
Children's Program Coordinator and Teacher, River of Life Christian Church (2002–2013)


  •        MSEE, University of Texas in Austin  
  •        13+ years of engineering and management experience in Silicon Valley
  •        Advocate for technology and learning innovation in K12 education
  •        Redwood Middle School: monthly Principal’s Chat coordinator and liaison (2015 to present)
  •        Saratoga Union School District: Technology Planning Committee (present)
  •        Saratoga High School: School Site Council (present)
  •        Redwood Middle & Saratoga High School : orchestra parent volunteer (2012-present)
  •        Live Oak Academy: science fair/math coach and judge (2010-2013)
  •        Family Vacation Camp: volunteer, chair and board member (2003-present)
  •        River Of Life Christian Church: children’s program teacher and coordinator (2002-2013)


I am the mother of two children and have been married to my husband for 20 years. My husband and I moved to Saratoga in 2004 particularly for its reputation for excellence in education and its safe environment. Our son is currently a senior at Saratoga High School and our daughter is in 7th grade at Redwood Middle School. Both my children have grown up and benefited greatly from the rich and diverse extra-curricular activities such as music, dance and sports offered in the Saratoga community.

Raised in Taiwan where family traditions were highly valued and having a good education was paramount, I came to the US in the early 1990’s and earned my MSEE degree from University of Texas in Austin. I then moved to Silicon Valley and spent 13 years in engineering and management positions in semiconductor companies such as LSI Logic and Sun Microelectronics before discovering my true passion, education.

Ever since my first child was born, I have devoted significant time and effort to enhancing the learning experience of my children and our community. My passionate involvement in education is multifaceted: I have served in many teaching, program design and leadership roles in various educational and family-oriented non-profit organizations, as well as being a technology education advocate in the community.

For over a decade, I served as a teacher, curriculum developer and then as children’s program coordinator in River of Life Christian Church with more than 500 children participating every week. My husband and I also are on the board of a non-profit organization whose mission is to help families thrive. I was trained to coach couples and parents in building healthy marriages and developing practical parenting skills. Last year, we assumed the position of chair-couple of the Family Vacation Camp, which attracts over 600 participants every year, including over 100 volunteers.

My background in engineering and passion for education leads me to advocate for the adoption of technology and an innovative curriculum for our kids’ learning. My experiences in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education include coaching the science fairs/math clubs and co-founding a technology learning center offering programming, multimedia, and engineering camps and classes to K12 students. Most recently, I helped build a teen entrepreneurship summer camp teaching students the 21st-century skill set of creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration.

I am a true believer in engaging the parents and community as joint education partners and have been dedicating my energies to schools’ parent organizations. As a proud parent of two children participating in Saratoga’s award-winning music programs, our family have been long-term orchestra volunteers in both Redwood Middle and Saratoga High schools. I help enhance the communication between parents and the school by serving as Redwood's Principal’s Chat liaison since 2015, as well as contributing to the adoption of technology in the classroom through serving on the SUSD’s technology planning committee. My "other hat" as a Saratoga High’s School Site Council member enables me to have a coherent view of how best to prepare middle school students for smooth social and academic transitions into high school. 










Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Rishi Kumar, Saratoga City Council Member
  • Michael Boitz, Saratoga High School Performing Arts Department Chair
  • Kansen Chu, State Assembly Member, District 25

Elected Officials (4)

  • Hung Wei, Fremont Union High School District Board of Trustee
  • Rishi Kumar, Saratoga City Council Member
  • Yang Shao, Fremont Unified School District Board Trustee
  • Victor Zhang, Saratoga Union School District Board Trustee

Individuals (14)

  • David Guidry, Former Saratoga Education Foundation President
  • Ben Liao, Former Cupertino Union School District President and Trustee
  • Mike Gipe, Former Saratoga Union School District Board Trustee
  • Judy Goldman, Former Saratoga High School Site Council, SHS PTSO Board member, Friends of Saratoga Library Board member
  • George Yang, Regional Vice President (San Francisco Region), California Congress of Republicans
  • Dinesh Bettadapur, Community leader
  • Annie Ying, Saratoga High School PTSO Board member, Saratoga Music Booster Board member, former Redwood PTA Board member
  • Helen Heinsohn, Owner, Young Genius Education Center, Saratoga
  • Kelly Chai, Former Foothill School Site Council
  • Marilyn White, Former Saratoga’s Citizen of the year
  • Sara Hung, Saratoga High PTSO Executive Board member, SMB Orchestra liaison
  • Yan Zhao, Community Leader, Saratoga Cemetery District Board Trustee
  • Keshav Saharia, Founder, TechLab Education, Saratoga
  • Nina Tang, Foothill SSC President, Secretary of San Mateo Metro Lions Club

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I am running for the SUSD school board because I believe that all students in our school district deserve a great education regardless of their abilities, backgrounds, or interests.

Every day, I will work very hard to listen to you, to gain a deeper understanding of the issues facing our district, and to effectively represent your ideas. I will work collaboratively with the key District stakeholders to come up with innovative solutions enabling enduring educational excellence for our students, while fostering a culture of oversight ensuring that every taxpayer dollar is well-spent.

My priorities as a SUSD board of Trustee:

  •        Educational Development of the Whole Child
  •        Fiscal Health and Smart Resource Allocation
  •        Open Communication and Community Collaboration
  •        Innovative Programs Ensuring All Children Will Achieve Their Full Potential





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