Santa Clara County Board of Education trustee Michal Chang resigned from his post earlier this week to spend time with his ailing mother. His sudden departure leaves the seven-member board in a pivotal position as it enters the New Year.
Chang, who was nearing the end of his second term, would often cast the swing vote on critical issues, such as charter school petitions. His absence at the last board meeting of the year led to a deadlock that prevented trustee Claudia Rossi from being nominated vice president of the governing body.
Come January, the board will have to appoint an interim replacement for Chang—who represented Area 2, which spans Cupertino, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale—to fill the seat until the next election.
Chang, a Hong Kong émigré and career educator with five degrees, taught for more than two decades at De Anza College. He served as board president until trustee Rosemary Kamei was appointed to the role last week.
Before his election to the county board in 2010, Chang served two terms as Cupertino mayor and eight years as trustee in the Cupertino Union School District. He said he leaves his current post “with a heavy heart,” but that his family takes precedence at this time.
“It has been an honor to serve with each of you on this board and I am glad we were able to do some important policy work together,” Chang wrote in an email to his colleagues on Tuesday. “As remaining board members, I hope that you will redouble your commitment to work together to serve the needs of students.”
Rossi, who comes up for re-election in November, spoke highly of Chang’s tenure.
“He holds himself to the highest standard,” she said. “And I know there was a lot of soul searching before he made his decision.”
Below is the email Chang sent to fellow trustees and the county’s interim Superintendent Mary Ann Dewan.
Dear Board colleagues and Mary Ann,
As you know, my mother had a severe stroke in last October. At this point, I need to take care of mom and feel that I can no longer devote the necessary time and energy to my board duties. Hence, it is with a heavy heart that I must submit my resignation from the board, to be effective immediately. It has been an honor to serve with each of you on this board and I am glad we were able to do some important policy work together. As remaining board members, I hope that you will re-double your commitment to work together to serve the needs of students. Take care and I wish you the best.
Michael Chang, Ph.D.
SCC Board of Education, District 2