Partnering with Educators, Families & Communities to Put Students First

As a 3rd grade teacher, I walked into school every day feeling the weight of the responsibility I had for the students in my class. I knew their families sent them to my classroom each morning trusting I would do everything I could to ensure their intellectual, social, and emotional growth. My students’ success was my #1 priority.

Austin with his 3rd grade class at Flintstone Elementary. 

I’m running for school board because I believe we need leaders who understand that responsibility, who know that the most important factor in a child’s education is the quality of their teacher, and who put students first with each and every decision they make.

My time as a classroom teacher was the beginning of a life and career devoted to improving public education - from early childhood through college. As the first person in my family to graduate from college, I know how quality, affordable public education can change a person’s life. I believe that opportunity should be a reality for every student.

After teaching, I founded an after-school literacy program that worked with both students and their families. Together, we deepened family literacy through the lens of social and economic justice - exploring writing that inspired us to take action to address inequality in our local communities. At the same time, I coached football at my neighborhood high school and organized community groups for a nationwide campaign dedicated to improving economic opportunity and social mobility.

I spent years working on education policy; advocating at the national, state, and local local levels for equitable, high-quality public education - from ensuring students with special needs were fully supported to expanding programs for English language learners to enabling districts to adopt personalized learning for every child. I have evaluated budgets for large school districts, managed large-scale contract processes, and worked with community stakeholders to ensure the success of new initiatives.

As a business owner, I know how to manage organizations, budgets, and operations towards success. I founded Friday, a company focused on improving education, economic opportunity, and community development. We have worked alongside clients to launch innovative early childhood literacy programs, dismantle inequities in higher education, improve student success, advocate for environmental and economic justice, expand access to fair banking, and connect unemployed young adults to careers.

Faculty member Austin Dannhaus

I know that many of our education systems have not served everyone equally and volunteer my time working to address those inequities. I currently serve on the advisory board of an alternative college program that provides pathways to a college degree for working adults. I’m also an English professor with the Prison University Project at San Quentin where I serve incarcerated learners looking to deepen their education.

As a school board member, I will bring experienced, creative leadership for educational equity. I will draw on all of my experience for the benefit of students, teachers, school leaders, and families.