Article released by CHI MEDIA COMPANY:
Milpitas, CA: Christopher T. Norwood has been named as the 2020 California School Boards Association (CSBA) Board Member of the Year. As President of Milpitas Unified School District’s Board of Education, Norwood serves with a pronounced sense of purpose, dedicated to improving educational outcomes for over 10,300 students. He has served on the Board since 2014, working to lobby, raise revenue, and increase brand awareness of the district’s Culture of We mission, which is based on conscious collaboration between parents, staff, and community partners as a way of elevating student success.
As he was chosen from roughly 5,000 board members who serve 977 districts, this honor is not something Norwood takes lightly. As an African-American school board member, he is proud to stand tall in an underrepresented group. Norwood recognizes the complexities of race and politics in public education, and is grateful for the recognition and humbled by all that it represents for the future. According to a recent press release from the CSBA, the award “honors an individual school board member and governance team who exemplifies best practices in effective governance and boardsmanship.”
Along with the many diverse students that Norwood serves in the Milpitas school district, he is also focused on uplifting and empowering Bay Area and Silicon Valley youth of African-American ancestry, namely by providing them with the tools and knowledge they need to grow and succeed. He has been instrumental in the planning of various Bay Area community-based computer science events, giving K-12th grade African-American high school students and parents the experience of coming together to use their knowledge, skills, and creativity to experience the Internet of Things (IoT) and build social capital. Since 2015, in partnership with multiple Silicon Valley groups and grassroots organizations, Norwood has hosted a Cisco CyberSecurity Summer Camp, produced We Are Code VR Hackathon Oakland vs Compton, co-produced the Silicon Valley Black Youth Hackathon, and judged the Northern Black Enterprise TechConneXt Smart Hackathon for 3 consecutive years. In addition to his school board governance, Norwood’s nonprofit organization Bay Area Tutoring Association was recognized as the Silicon Valley Nonprofit of the Year in 2017.
Stanford University Professor Clayborne Carson, former Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, current Senior Fellow of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and leader of the Gandhi-King Global Network Initiative, states, “Chris’s leadership and willingness to share his knowledge of MUSD’s innovative pathway programs and peace building mindset with the Gandhi-King Global Network has been greatly appreciated as the GKGI network grows around the world.”
Most recently, as a result of the pandemic, Norwood launched a COVID-19 BLM Learning Pods Initiative (http://www.blmtutors.org), which provides online tutoring, cultural empowerment, and social-emotional support to San Francisco Bay Area African Ancestry children of essential healthcare workers, civil servants, and public education employees. The tutors who lead this program are primarily from Historical Black Colleges and Universities across the United States.
Norwood shared in his own statement, “Now, more than ever, we need leaders of African Ancestry to pursue the platform of public office; we need their fresh perspectives, their voices, their ideas, when it comes to conversations in which policies, laws, and taxpayer dollars are allocated. Simply put, if you’re not in the room…you are not in the room.”
To watch him deliver a stirring talk on TheWakeUpTour, a locally-organized 2019 TEDx event, go here.