San Francisco native Shamann Walton wants to make a difference in the lives of San Francisco youth. As Executive Director of the Bay View’s Young Community Developers, he is already taking such steps as he helps Bay View youth get job training and jobs.
Now, he wants to impact education and is a candidate for San Francisco Unified School District’s School Board in the November election.
“I want to make sure that all of our children can be successful,” said Walton. “The vehicle to that success is SFUSD and a quality education.”
After receiving a Bachelor’s degree from Morris Brown College in Atlanta. Walton moved back to the Bay Area. He worked within the juvenile justice system in Vallejo before moving back to San Francisco where he worked in various positions at the Portrero Hill Family Resource Center.
In 2012, Walton ran for the School Board, coming in 6th place after getting almost 60,000 votes in a citywide grass roots campaign.
“We came in 6th place, just missing the cut,” said Walton. “You needed to be in the top 4, and we were close, without doing any real campaigning or having any political consultants.”
Building upon the momentum he had in 2012, Walton has been on a mission, and so far it looks as if he is one of the front-runners for a spot on the school board. He has endorsements from San Francisco Supervisors Malia Cohen and London Breed and San Mayor Ed Lee.
But even with that support, he is continuing the grassroots effort of his campaign, passing out leaflets, organizing rallies, conducting meetings and listening to the concerns of various community members.
“We are solid in the community and a lot of people are behind me,” said Walton. “We started this in 2012 with a grassroots campaign. We still have the same grass root supporters, but it has grown tremendously.”
The 39-year old Walton is apart of the new generation of young black leaders in San Francisco, who are returning to their old communities to try and make a difference.
“We have a lot of work to do, but I want to help rebuild black leadership in San Francisco,” continued Walton. “At YCD, for instance, we have given younger people the opportunity to grow and take leadership positions within the organizations.”
The Non-Profit Times recently ranked YCD in the top ten as one of the best nonprofits to work for in the country. It came in fourth in the country for nonprofits that have less than 50 employees.
If elected to the school board, Walton said he will have a few areas of interests but one of significant importance is working to close the achievement gap between white and minority students.
“We have a lot of African American, Latino and Pacific Islanders who are not graduating on time. The percentages are way off balance and we need to provide a second strategy for them,” he said. “How they are learning today correlates to future employment.”
He wants to bring back vocational training to schools and the need for resources throughout San Francisco schools.
“We need more equity throughout the entire district,” said Walton. “We need to make sure that all communities and neighborhoods will have quality classrooms, teachers, quality program offerings.”
Ultimately, Walton knows these changes require additional dollars to the school district, something he knows is necessary, in order to “provide all the tools need to improve student success,” he added.
University of California, Berkeley | Class of 2013
Graduate School of Journalism
Howard University | Class of 2011
B.A. English, cum laude