Walk with me

Our Mt Diablo students from Mt Diablo High and Riverview Middle truly inspire me.  Over 50 of them walked the Bay Point neighborhoods on a Sunday afternoon for Measure J!  They each had thought through exactly why Measure J school safety and upgrades were personally important, and bravely and enthusiastically knocked on doors.  

But we can't be successful in this campaign without YOU.  Each and every vote will show whether our communities are ready or not to invest in our school building safety & upgrades, and voting has already begun!  Please join us to walk, text, email friends & colleagues to vote #YesonJMtDiablo .

This Saturday, take an hour or two to meet us at the beautiful Dave Brubeck park next to Concord High, eat our snacks & grab a clipboard, and then pair off to walk neighborhoods together.  Your actions can make all the difference.  Kids of all ages are welcome! Email [email protected] to RSVP and get our cool walking app.  #TogetherWeCan 

And please forward this email or share this video - an in depth view of Measure J:


Ever thankful for your participation,

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Call to Action

Victory!  Thank you all.

Our campaign was a success! An uncontested race means that I will begin as a Mt Diablo School Board member this December, and I will not be listed on the November ballot.  

Thanks to all who came to our spontaneous victory ice cream celebration! You can view my thank you speech here:

and see the full album of photos on our Facebook page too.

Donations given

Remember when I said I'd donate $10,000 to the Foundation?  Yes, since we no longer needed to spend it on campaign materials for my school board race, we are able to give directly to the district-wide nonprofit to benefit all students.  And we ended up deciding to write not just one large check, but two.  

The first check we wrote was $8000 to the MDUSD Education Foundation, which is already providing arts this fall to students in our elementary schools, and will soon begin science and math enrichment as well.  You can help these programs reach even more students -- Join the Foundation team for the Oct 6th Break a Sweat run/walk for education here.

The second was $2000 to the Yes on J - Neighbors for Safe, Quality Schools Campaign.  We decided to invest some of our campaign funds in the Measure J campaign, because if it passes it will provide crucial funding to update our aging facilities and ensure student safety.

Call to Action - Get Involved to Pass Measure J for our kids!

Since that wonderful ice cream party, I've been busy non-stop volunteering for Measure J.  To me this is one of the most urgent items on our local November ballot!  I hope that you will join us.

The committee to pass Measure J is a grassroots organization of parents, teachers and community members who care about our students—and we need your help! Here are five ways you can make sure Measure J is a success:

  1. Vote YES on Measure J: Measure J will appear near the end of your long ballot—remember to go to the end and vote YES on J!  If you vote by mail, look out for your ballot the week of October 8th.  
  2. Endorse Measure J: Lend your name to the campaign by publicly endorsing the measure.  Endorse by clicking here 
  3. Put up a YES on J lawn sign: Show your support by putting up a YES on J sign in front of your home or business. Order yours here
  4. Donate to the campaign: This is a grassroots effort.  Every donation — no matter how big or how small — will help get us over the top!  Donate here.
  5. Precinct Walk for J: Walk your neighborhood with friends and help us talk to voters!   Join us this Saturday in Clayton/Concord from noon-3pm, meeting at The Grove.  Click here to RSVP!

See you out there soon.


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Tonight our campaign is officially finished - and a success! 
Only 3 people filed by tonight's deadline for the 3 seats, so I will become the new MDUSD school board member on December 7th.

Thank you to everyone who joined and helped along the way to build our community of people working to improve all our schools!

Please come to our Saturday Ice Cream event - which will now transition from a kickoff to a Thank You Celebration!

We can't wait to thank each and every one of you.
We'll also have news about upcoming actions you can take together with us to improve our schools. 

Saturday August 18th, 1-3pm

Concord Community Park, Picnic Site #1 (by playground)

**Please RSVP so we know how much ice cream to buy!**

RSVP and see details here:


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Ready to File

With less than 100 days til the election, I've pulled my papers and am getting ready to officially file my candidacy for Mt. Diablo School Board. 

*What if only 3 people file for 3 spots?  Then there would be no campaign, but I would still hold Meet & Greets in all communities to best represent everyone.  (And if that happened, I would donate $10,000 of campaign funds to the MDUSD Education Foundation.)*

Either way, we'll soon be at a location near you!   

Together we can reach every corner of our district to hear the hopes and concerns of our communities for our schools.

We have 3 Free events planned in Bay Point, Concord and Clayton:

Bay Point Meet & Greet, Saturday August 11th, 10am-2pm

  • Free hot dog, corn dog, or car wash to the first 100 people!
  • balloon animals for kids from Dilly Dally the Clown!
  • Lorena Pena que habla español, estará también presente para poder facilitar
    cualquier traducción que sea necesaria para sus preguntas y respuestas.


Concord Ice Cream Campaign Kickoff, Saturday August 18th, 1-3pm

  • Free ice cream & toppings for all!
  • Shady area with playground nearby
  • Meet the campaign lead from your neighborhood!
  • Share your ideas for our schools


Clayton Meet & Greet, Thursday August 30th, 7-8:30pm

  • Informal opportunity to meet Cherise at a local Clayton home


Please take 5 minutes for 5 quick actions:

1. Click to endorse my campaign

2. Donate any amount - even $10 adds up

3. Share - forward this email, Like/share on Facebook, retweet on Twitter, like on Instagram

4. RSVP to events and to volunteer

5. Invite - friends to like my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter & Instagram, and to events in their neighborhood. Let me know if you can host a Meet & Greet at a park, cafe, or home in your neighborhood too!

See you out there soon,

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Early Endorsements & Campaign Launch

Now that the June elections are over, we are getting ready for my November run for MDUSD School Board.  It is ever more crucial that we get everyone out to vote who believes in quality public schools for all.

Save the Date August 18th Ice Cream Campaign Kickoff!

Join us to launch our Cherise Khaund for School Board campaign with Ice Cream in the Park!  Bring your families and friends on August 18th to hear from the candidate. We’ll have ice cream, drinks, stickers & signs, volunteer signups, and ways for you to share your ideas about our schools.

Volunteer - Host a “Meet the Candidate” Near You!

In addition to our Campaign Kick-Off Event, we plan to hold several “Meet the Candidate” events throughout MDUSD.  To best serve all students, it’s important for me to listen to voices from all corners of our district.

Our campaign committee is working hard and our momentum is strong, but we can’t make it to the finish line alone - and that’s where YOU come in!   

Can you host a “Meet the Candidate” event?  It’s easy - just check the host box here: http://www.cherisekhaund.com/volunteer  Then pick a date and location - your home or a local business (great way to support your neighborhood cafe or bookstore!)  Invite your neighbors & friends. We’ll take care of the rest!  I will come to speak, listen, answer questions, and bring all the materials.

**Thank you to Torrey and Bijan for hosting our first Meet the Candidate event - planned for August 11th at Arco Gas Station in Bay Point/Pittsburg at the corner of San Marcos & Leland!**

More Early Endorsements:

I’m pleased to announce that in addition to our strong grassroots support, our campaign has also secured early endorsements from Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma, as well as from the Contra Costa Building and Construction Trades Council, the Contra Costa AFL-CIO Labor Council, Plumbers and Steamfitters Locals 342 and 159, and Sprinklerfitter Local 483!  
After touring local apprenticeship programs, I am convinced apprenticeships are a win-win for our community and schools. It means safety on job sites and career pathways for our students. These local jobs with benefits can’t be shipped overseas, and business is booming right now. Here are some photos from my recent visit to the Iron Workers in Benicia, with Ken Miller and apprentice Manny.  Manny is a 2nd generation IronWorker apprentice, who said his family was so thankful for the benefits the IronWorkers provided, especially for the healthcare coverage for all his and his siblings' childhood injuries and illness.  Thank you Ken for the tour!

Family, Community & Foundation 

These last few months for me have been busy chaperoning my daughter's 4th grade class to the state capitol, leading our girl scout troop camping and high ropes trip, and planting our home garden, while also making great strides with the MDUSD Education Foundation. 


Our Foundation volunteers & donations brought schoolwide chalk art and classroom art pilots to 7 elementary schools already this spring!  I encourage all of you to give what you can to the Foundation here: https://www.mdedf.org/donate  Together we can ensure quality public education for all.  If you donate ANY amount before June 30, you will be listed as a Founding Donor!


We value and care about ALL families, and that is why I will be speaking this Saturday June 30th at the Families Belong Together Rally.

Will you be there?  


Gather at 10AM, Rally at 10:30AM @ Todos Santos Plaza, Downtown Concord

¡Todos juntos sí se puede!  Together We Can!

Spread the Word

Person to person is the best way to spread the word about the upcoming election and get our neighbors involved. Please forward this message, invite people to "like" our campaign page, and most of all…make sure you are registered to vote.

Wishing you all a good Summer. Thank you for your support!


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April 2018 News

Our movement is growing and increasingly visible through endorsements, donations, and volunteers.

I am particularly honored to announce an endorsement by the Plumbers & Steamfitters Local Union 342.  These hardworking men and women train apprentices for high paying, local jobs that can't be shipped overseas.  The only requirements for apprentices are to be 18 years of age and to demonstrate math skills at an eighth-grade level.  Our schools can and should focus on improving student math scores to ensure more students qualify for this and other career opportunities.  We also secured an early endorsement from the Contra Costa AFL-CIO Labor Council.  Fair wages and safe conditions are important for workers and their families everywhere, from our schools to refineries.
IMG_2014.jpg IMG_2016.jpg


As the President of MDUSD Education Foundation, I will be keynote speaker at the MDEA Academy Awards on Thursday, May 10th. I hope you can join us there!  It’s an uplifting event that brings people together from all around our district to celebrate our superstars – teachers, staff, administration, parent volunteers, and community.  Come to dine, toast, meet friends and make new connections.  Buy your tickets here. Proceeds benefit the new nonprofit districtwide MDUSD Education Foundation!


The focus of my time this spring has been dedicated to our MDUSD Education Foundation. Recently, I presented the results of our Arts Survey to the School Board (published here in English and Spanish), along with a list of free community arts resources for teachers and parent volunteers.  The Foundation is funding visiting artists and trial classroom arts lessons this spring before school ends. Our aim is to strategize together and raise enough funds for a full arts pilot this fall. If you are compelled by this opportunity, please visit, like, donate, and follow the Foundation at www.mdedf.orgFacebook and Twitter.  

For my husband Sandy and I, giving back to our community is a family value.  Here's a glimpse of what our daughters have been up to...  Iris and Robyn have been busy since January with Inventors University, teaching girls computer coding on raspberry pi computers every Saturday at Concord Library.  Their 2nd class just graduated last week, showing off their final projects at the Sun Terrace Elementary Open House!  



So how can you help our campaign?  Every bit helps. Endorse, donate, volunteer, and share at www.cherisekhaund.com.  And let us know if you can host a "meet the candidate" at your local coffeeshop, home, or neighborhood group.


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January 2018 News

January was a busy month!  The most energizing part was the Women's March, where we met amazing community activists and signed up pages of new supporters.  Welcome to those of you who joined us!  Huge thank you's to Anita and Ward Johnson, Annie Nolen, Jessica Clark, Frith O'Steen, Angie Traxinger, and Janine Payne Schneir for staffing our booth the entire day.

We reported on our campaign finances for 2017, and are thrilled to say that so far we have received 141 donations of all sizes, far surpassing anyone reported in the race to date!  This is the power of a grassroots campaign.  Every dollar really does add up, and enables us to print materials to reach voters, like the bookmarks we distributed at the march. Thank you for fueling this effort!

Activity is buzzing at the new districtwide MDUSD Education Foundation. Our Programs Committee already surveyed principals, teachers and parents at all 31 elementary schools, and is moving forward to bring recommended visiting artists to our schools!  Even though my role as Foundation President is unpaid, I decided to dedicate my full time to its success because I believe so deeply in our mission to educate all kids.  It's incredible how many people have already stepped forward to volunteer, donate, or connect us to community organizations!  If we all pitch in just a little, it will truly add up to a lot.  Please join us and share - visit, like, follow the Foundation at www.mdedf.orgFacebook and Twitter.  

Lastly, I toured the apprenticeship program at the Plumbers & Steamfitters Local Union 342.  I was so impressed by their quality training, encouraging instructors, and the fact that these are high paying, local jobs that can't be shipped overseas!   Only a high school diploma needed.  But it was incredible to learn just how few applicants pass the basic math test, which is 8th grade level with adding and subtracting of fractions and decimals, and basic algebra.  Each year around 800 people apply, 400 take the test, and only around 200 pass it.  Mt Diablo School District clearly needs to focus on improving student performance in math!  I love algebra and enjoy teaching it, and wish that more students could find joy in the beauty of math.  Let's make it happen!  See apprentice photos here

So how can you help?  You can endorse, donate, volunteer, and share at www.cherisekhaund.com.  Also help me to hear what you and your neighbors think about our schools!  Invite me out to your neighborhood meetings, coffeeshop meet-ups, book clubs, faith-based gatherings.  The more I listen to people throughout our district, the better I can represent you.  See you soon!
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In gratitude to YOU

Reflecting back on 2017, my heart is filled with gratitude for you and everyone who advocated for our kids in Mt. Diablo schools.  Together we passed a strong Safe Haven resolution, so that students can concentrate on their studies instead of their fears.  We held donation drives for HOPE to help homeless students, and for the food bank to feed local families and victims of the Solano fires. We painted, pruned and planted the grounds of many schools on Community Service Day.  And we coordinated with city and school leaders to build safer routes to school, with bike lanes, speed signs and crosswalks.

For my family, serving our community is a core value and responsibility.  Our daughters Iris and Robyn this year launched Inventors University to teach girls computer coding every Saturday for 10 weeks at the Concord Library.  In May, eight girls demonstrated their final projects at the Sun Terrace Elementary Open House, and each program graduate went home with a raspberry pi computer to continue on her own.  Twenty two more students attended December workshops.  (Iris and Robyn's vision became a reality thanks to my husband Sandy mentoring their entrepreneurial process, to teacher Karly Moura and principal Kris Martin Meyer at Sun Terrace, and Kimberli Buckley at Concord Library.  Yet again, success takes a village!) 

And I'm especially excited to announce that this month marked the launch of the brand new district-wide MDUSD Education Foundation, to ensure a quality education for every child regardless of zip code.  I am honored to have been elected President of the Board, and look forward to engaging business, community, parents, teachers and staff towards that bold goal.

As Delaine Eastin said, a single pencil alone is easily broken, but a handful of pencils is not.  We now have over 440 people who joined the Cherise for MDUSD School Board network, and we received 140 campaign donations large and small in 2017.  Person by person, dollar by dollar, we are building a movement that gets stronger every day.  Please continue to share our website and Facebook page to grow our team.

I look forward to reconnecting with each of you in 2018, and walking the tread off my shoes to hear from our neighbors and communities throughout Mt Diablo School District.  But for now, may your holidays be filled with rest, rejuvenation, food, family, and community.

Much gratitude,

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Thank YOU

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to pause and reflect on the year gone by. A year ago, I had just lost a tight election, while we were all denied the first female U.S. President. In the year since, I’ve been inspired by an amazing set of women and men who have filled my life with hope, purpose, and the desire to not only seek change, but demand justice. I truly have so much to be grateful for.

I’m thankful for my Emerge sisters, who continually remind me that the future is indeed female.

I’m thankful for a school district that understands the importance of establishing a Safe Haven to protect innocent students caught up in the hysteria of anti-immigration sentiment.

I’m thankful for those who fought to keep our diverse school district together, and I am hopeful that our entire Mt. Diablo community can now move forward with love and commitment to ALL students as "our students".  

I’m thankful for a husband and family who remind me daily what I am fighting for, and who patiently accept the sacrifices required to make it happen.

I’m thankful for the countless mentors, allies, and supporters who encourage me to keep pursuing public office. It is because of all of YOU that I persist.


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It Started with a Walk to School...

As a mother of two young girls, I have often walked or biked with my daughters and their friends to school.  We chose to live in our neighborhood in part because of its proximity to schools.  It feels great to be outdoors in the fresh air, starting our day by greeting other students along the way.  But there was one particular spot near Foothill Middle School where we often found ourselves stranded, unable to cross the street or safely walk/bike along the busy road with no sidewalk.  "Why isn't there a crosswalk here?" I thought, as I watched young kids sprint across that same spot on my way back from Walnut Acres Elementary.  It seemed so simple and obvious, as if I could just grab some paint and create one myself.  

I met other people who were concerned too, including parents of kids who had been hit or nearly hit while crossing streets in the neighborhood.  It was clear that we needed additional precautions in place so our children could safely get to school. 

So in May 2015, a group of us attended a city meeting to tell them exactly where that crosswalk was needed, along with the other key improvements.  (photos are my daughter Iris participating in the meeting).


But nothing happened.

Eventually we decided we needed to show that this concern was held by more than just a few of us, so in November I sent out a change.org petition to our entire neighborhood that spelled out our specific requests, addressed to the city transportation director.  180 people signed it, and the director got right back to me! 

It turns out he agreed with the need for these improvements, and had already submitted 6 grants that were each denied.  Where could we find the funding?  Determined to find a way, we brought together a team of key stakeholders at our local bagel shop, to work towards a solution.  It was a challenging task, but by collaborating with the principals of both schools, PTA leaders, parents and neighbors, we prioritized the items, discussed regulations, and weighed trade-offs.  City staff figured out what smaller items could roll into regular maintenance, and got one grant successfully approved.  We timed the rest of the work with the previously planned road re-pavements.  

Within 1 year, a digital speed sign and temporary improvements were in place.  Within 2 years, construction was complete including two new flashing pedestrian beacons, three new crosswalks, a new bike lane on Cedro, digital speed signs, and sidewalk bulbouts that slow down cars and create safer and shorter crossings for pedestrians.  And now, on Wednesday October 4th, we will celebrate, on National Walk to School Day!

I wrote the petition and persisted in keeping the group going to the end, but the biggest lesson I learned was that this is definitely not the kind of thing that any one person can do alone.  It was ONLY successful because of the many people who took on key roles along the way, and who found consensus between schools and neighbors on all the nitty gritty details. We cannot expect a single city engineer to somehow intuit what is best for a particular neighborhood - they need community input as well - and as the director told us, our coalition paved the way for success.

When I first sent out that change.org petition two years ago, I had no idea that nearly 200 people would sign it, and that city staff would work so closely and cooperatively with us to bring our vision to a reality. Each and every one of you who signed, supported, met, shared feedback... this could not have been done without you. I am thrilled that the improvements are completed and helping our kids get to school safely! Seeing the photo of my daughter 2 years ago drawing in the ideas on the map brings tears to my eyes, as I am so thankful that people really can come together to make things better for everyone. It is true that Together We Can!

Thanks to our Coalition team: Principal Bush, Principal Dowd, Transportation staff Rafat Raie and Alex Wong, PFC/A Presidents Cherise Khaund and Anna Saunders, parents Ajit Chakradeo, Brooke Giddings, Jill Ridlehoover, Mike Seftchick, Ann Marie Titterton, Elizabeth Salmon-Omski, Linda Vanderjagt.  and to StreetSmarts Diablo for providing our Walk n Roll to School Day prizes!


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