Joe Mizrahi and Sarah Clark appointed to Seattle School Board

Newly appointed directors, Sarah Clark (second from left) and Joe Mizrahi (far right), pose with the board members and superintendent.

Newly appointed directors, Sarah Clark (second from left) and Joe Mizrahi (far right), pose with the board members and superintendent.

Joe Mizrahi and Sarah Clark have been sworn in as the newest members of the Seattle School Board. The two were unanimously voted in to lead districts 2 and 4 at the last meeting of the board on April 3.

Held at the John Stanford Center, the Oath of Office ceremony was conducted by Superintendent Dr. Bret Jones who welcomed the two members into the school district administration. 

“I’m confident that your lived experiences, your passion will show in your policy making and decision making and your support for our 48,000 students and over 6,000 employees,” Dr. Jones said. “I think our city will be better because of your presence and I thank you for your willingness to serve.”  

Clark now represents District 2’s Ballard, Magnolia, Phinney Ridge and Green Lake, while Director Mizrahi serves District 4’s Fremont, Queen Anne, South Lake Union and parts of downtown. 

After officially taking the Oath of Office, Mizrahi and Clark addressed their new colleagues and constituents in brief statements. 

“I look forward to listening and learning from you all, working hard to make sure your voices are heard through my work and advocating with you for more state funding,” Clark said. “I don't want us to return the district to status quo that has been broken for decades.” 

Clark has more than a decade of experience advocating for diverse communities on the state and federal level. She holds a masters of education from the University of Washington and currently works as the director of policy at the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. She said her interest for the position comes from a deep passion for eliminating barriers for BIPOC children and families in Washington state. 

Clark and Mizrahi both committed to engaging with their constituents by visiting schools within their respective districts and collaborating with students, staff and parents. 

In his statement Mizrahi welcomed the challenge that comes with the role.

“I am so grateful I engaged in this process. [I was able] to hear all these challenges people are facing but also hear the hope and love that people have for the school district,” he said. “Of course, there’s a lot to work on. We have one of the biggest opportunity gaps in the country in our school district and what I’m really excited about is I feel like I’m joining a board that’s already committed to taking that on, head on. We have our work cut out for us but we’re not shying from it.”

Mizrahi has three children currently attending Seattle Public Schools. He spent 15 years advocating for Washington’s largest union, UFCW 3000 which represents grocery, retail and healthcare workers. Educated in political science and Law from Brandeis and the University of San Diego, Mizrahi cites community organization as the core of his work and ran for the director position to ensure that the school system lives up to its best potential as a leveler of disparities in our society.  

The new directors join a board tasked with navigating the district’s budgetary constraints which may force school closures in the near future. 

“Their dedication to our students, teachers and the broader SPS community will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on the quality of education we provide,” Dr. Jones, SPS superintendent, said. 

Now operating with a full board, the directors and superintendent expressed optimism about the school board’s work.

The writer is a UW Journalism News Lab reporter.