DUBLIN ― In a special meeting held May 18, the Dublin Unified School District (DUSD) Board of Trustees appointed William Kuo ― spouse of late trustee Catherine Kuo ― to fill his wife’s empty seat.
Catherine Kuo was struck and killed by a car while volunteering for food distribution at a district school in March. The board interviewed Kuo and two other applicants during the special meeting. After acknowledging the overwhelming community support for Kuo, they unanimously voted to select him.
“I was very encouraged and touched by the amount of support I received from the Dublin community,” Kuo said. “Folks emailed and made public comments to the board members. I was also relieved to have been appointed unanimously by all four board members, which puts us on a good starting note.”
Although Catherine Kuo was elected to serve as the Area 3 trustee from 2020 to 2024, Kuo’s appointment will end with the next board election cycle in 2022, at which time he can run for re-election. He has indicated his intention to do so.
During the meeting, Kuo and his fellow applicants, Taji Brown and John Wu, responded to a series of 10 questions asked by board members. They listened to an extensive public comment period, responded to follow-up questions from the board and made closing statements. After deliberating, the board voted, and Kuo’s smile was evident under his mask.
“One may wonder why I applied to become a trustee after losing Catherine just eight weeks ago,” Kuo said during his closing statement. “It is a decision made with a lot of thought and deliberation. I witnessed her passion and dedication to our students and the well-being of the school district for the last two years as the first Area 3 trustee. Her impact on me was profound, and I share her same passion to serve.”
Kuo immigrated to the United States with his family at the age of 10. He said his decision to run for the board position was strongly influenced not only by his wife’s passion, but the impact teachers in the public school system had on him as a youth. He stressed the importance of a public education and said he feels indebted to the system for his chance to attend Berkeley for his undergrad, the University of California Los Angeles for his dental degree, and California State University East Bay for his MBA. He currently works as an engineer in the East Bay.
Kuo is a longtime resident of Dublin, and during his time as a parent of two DUSD students, has served as a volunteer, a chaperone and auditor for the Dougherty Elementary School Parent Faculty Club.
At the end of the interview process, DUSD board president Dan Cherrier thanked the candidates, stating they were an integral part of the district and should continue to stay involved. He expressed hope the district would move into the challenges of the new school year unified and prepared.
“Through this process, it’s clear that William comes to us with a wealth of knowledge, expertise and genuine support from our community,” said Cherrier. “As we continue to move through critical projects in our district, William will play a vital role in ensuring our future success. We look forward to working with him to continue this work for our students, staff and families.”
DUSD serves 12,900 students from preschool through adult education with seven elementary schools, two middle schools, on K-8 school, one alternative high school and one comprehensive high school, with a second due to open in the fall. One challenge the board will face in the new school year is opening all campuses full time with appropriate safety guidelines in place, a challenge Kuo thinks he and the district will meet.
“With our school being remote since March 2020, getting kids back into in-person learning could be a big challenge,” he said. “We’ve had kids that never stepped inside a classroom (pre-k), to kids who have not interacted in person with teachers, staff and other students. Addressing the learning-loss that occurred during the pandemic, social-emotional wellness, are some of the challenges I see we face.”