Laura Bratt Q&A: Getting to know me
Updated: Sep 30, 2020
Q1: Tell me about yourself?
Laura Bratt: I am a parent with 4 current students in SRVUSD schools. My oldest is in 11th grade at Cal HS, my daughter is in 10th grade, and my twin boys are in 8th grade at Iron Horse MS.
I was raised by amazing, activist parents. My dad marched in Washington and was in the crowd when MLK Jr gave his "I have a dream" speech. My mother was active in the ERA movement and took me to many demonstrations. I am one of 4 children in our beautiful, multi-racial family. I grew up standing side-by-side with my loved ones, fully aware of the entitlement that was afforded to me purely based on the color of my skin. And I learned at an early age what it means to stand up and use my privlidge to fight for the rights of those being stereotyped and disenfranchised. I was brought up to believe in the ideas of hope, inclusion, and taught the skills to advocate for change by showing up, doing the hardwork, getting out of my comfort zone, and actually being the change.
I was born in Silver Springs, MD while my dad worked in DC for the Federal government. We then moved to the suburbs of Chicago and to St. Paul as he helped to build out the WIC programs there. When I was in the 4th grade, my family moved to a farm outside of Chippewa Falls. My parents started a printing business in the city nearby and I started at yet another school. At a young age, I knew what it felt like to be the new kid and how the differences in each school district impacted my public education experience - both academically and culturally. Our family moved from a very diverse district outside of Chicago where perceived differences were just part of the fabric. In Chippewa, my black siblings were two of very few minorities and witnessing the racist words and acts by little kids who were just repeating what their universes taught them deeply impacted my life and more importantly, effected my brother and sister in ways I will never fully understand.
This move also showed me how an individual student's academic experience is impacted by the district they are in. I moved from several rigorous school districts where I had a deep joy around learning, experiencing a fully funded GATE program and excitement around what I might learn next. At my new district, I stepped in ahead of what was being taught. Without differenitated learning strategies, I quickly became bored and disengaged. By the time I graduated, I hadn't taken math (once a favorite subject) for 2 years, focusing just enough to graduate and get into college.
I am a graduate of the great public institution and Big 10 school - University of Wisconsin in Madison - Go Badgers! I have a degree in Art through their School of Education and am proud of my time there, paying for school through grants, loans, a few local scholarships, and multiple jobs.
During my high school and college years, I also had the opportunity to become involved in drum and bugle corps, which gave me the opportunity to travel all over the U.S. and into Canada, practicing, performing, and striving for perfection with my fellow performers. I have been fortunate to be a part of world champion ensembles such as State Street Review from Madison, WI and the Blue Devils from Concord, CA. This experience showed me that with hard work and dedication, embracing what each of us brings to the table, we can all come together and make something powerful. This activity gave me a strong work ethic and I know what it means to practice long hours with a team striving to be the best. As an instructor in the 90s, I was given the gift of mentoring LGBTQ+ youth who found a safe community with us and were able to fully realize their identity at a time when the world around them told them they couldn't be who they were.
I moved to Chicago after graduation and landed my first job in visual design. During my 5 years there, I also taught color guard at a high school in Lake Central, Indiana, just outside of the city. I then made the bold move of picking up stakes and moving to San Francisco, where I'd always dreamed of living. I worked in various ad agencies and corporate marketing and communication departments and built up my consulting business.
I met my husband, Shawn, here in the Bay Area. We married in 2001 and had our first child, Leo 2 years later. We then moved to Grenoble, France for Shawn's job. I continued to work, had 3 more kids, Anaïs, Nic, and Dylan, while there, and Leo started in their pubic school system. My experience as an ex-pat living in a different culture and not having a strong grasp on the language had defined how I approach communication - with patience, empathy, and support. Navigating the nuance of an new culture and language is very intimidating and without support, extremely difficult. As a school district, we must provide the resources and support to lift up all voices, especially the ones that feel silenced because they do not feel confident speaking up and out.
We then moved to Delaware - when Leo was 3 1/2, Anais was 22 months, and the twins were just 2 1/2 months old. While this move was extremely difficult, it taught me so much about what I'm capable of handling and managing. .
Then Laguna Niguel. Then finally made our way back to the Bay Area.
Q1: What has been your direct involvement with the schools in this district (outside of being a parent of course)?
Laura Bratt: I am starting my 4th year as a District LCAP Stakeholder Committee rep and IHMS School Site Council member. I have also volunteered in the classroom and with extra-curricular programs (including Destination Imagination, Band Boosters, and Drama) for all 4 of my kids. While living in SoCal when my kids were in early elementary, I was President of a Mandarin Immersion Program’s foundation raising and managing $200,000+ in funding as well as on school site council, PTA board and Mandarin Program Advisory Council.
Q5: In one sentence, what distinguishes you from the other candidates?
Laura Bratt: As a parent with 4 current students in SRVUSD, I am dedicated to bringing much-needed insights to the board room by shining a bright light on our broad spectrum of communities, ensuring that each decision is made through the lens of transparency, equity, compassion, so that together we can deliver a strong, supportive educational environment for all.