Faauuga Moliga is a San Francisco native and San Francisco Unified School District alumni who is running for the Board of Education. He is the first Pacific Islander candidate for School Board, representing a severely neglected community impacted by high poverty rates, increased incarceration, and low college readiness. His campaign focuses on key issues that not only impact Pacific Islanders but all our students -- the opportunity gap. During his time as a San Francisco educator, youth advocate, and father of public school children, Faauuga identified key community concerns that must be addressed to close the opportunity gap. The first is supporting the well-being of our students, families, and educators through mental health services. The second is creating a community approach to schools that promotes collaboration between SFUSD, the City and County of San Francisco, and the communities surrounding our schools. Lastly, Faauuga wants to support our educators through the provision of competitive salaries, affordable housing, and retirement packages. Our teachers deserve to live long and fulfilling lives now and after their dedicated service to San Francisco children and families.
Faauuga grew up in the San Francisco neighborhoods of Bernal Heights and Hunter’s Point, where he lived in public housing with his family. He gained first hand insight into the SFUSD as student at Paul Revere Elementary, Burbank Middle School, McAteer High School, Downtown High Continuation, John Adams, and finally a graduate from Balboa High School. Later down the road, he would also come to further understand the importance of public education as a father of children attending public schools. Faauuga attended City College of San Francisco before transferring to San Jose State University, where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Justice Studies. Originally intent on becoming a lawyer, Faauuga left law school when he discovered that out of 55 Pacific Islanders at Burton only 5 had a 2.00 GPA. The lack of support for Pacific Islander students and his own personal connection to the issue, with two of the failing students being his siblings, compelled Faauuga to start his own program in support of young women pursuing a college education. Faauuga spearheaded the program Take Out Until Completely Healed (TOUCH) for six years, supporting over one hundred young women within a given year and leading to a 90% college transition rate for all seniors. Today, TOUCH participants have graduated and attended colleges such as UCLA, Harvard, Smith College, and UC Riverside. Impressed by his bold leadership and ability to take initiative, Faauuga was recruited by the Bayview YMCA to develop student advocacy programs for the Center for Academic Re-entry Empowerment Center collaboration with Five Keys Charter School. This was the first school dedicated to chronically truant students in SFUSD. His efforts helped students transition and flourish in the program. His continued success attracted the attention of Burton High School, that was developing a community-school approach to education. At the time, Burton had the city’s highest push-out rate and was on the verge of closing down due to low enrollment. After four years, the community school approach Faauuga helped implement increased the schools attendance by 400 students and decreased the push-out rate by 50%, the largest decrease in San Francisco. Today, Burton High School is the premier public high school in the Southeast side of San Francisco. While at Burton, Faauuga also extended his support to the PUMA Prevent initiative, addressing the high amounts of rape incidents in the United States by student athletes. PUMA Prevent reached nearly 3,000 student athletes in San Francisco, addressing male privilege and educating athletes on consent.
At this point in his career, Faauuga realized that his educational training was not sufficient to support the underserved students and families of SFUSD. This led him to San Jose State once again, where he studied in the School of Social Work with a concentration on mental health and social justice. When he was not studying the impact of mental health and public housing on education, Faauuga was interning for the SFUSD Student Intervention Team and supporting the the Project Prevent initiative in trauma-informed schools. He spent a school year at Carver Elementary, providing school wide support systems and individual counseling for the students and educators. After graduating, Faauuga was recruited by the Richmond Area Multi Services to be the therapist for June Jordan High School. During that time, June Jordan underwent an unfortunate shooting that traumatically impacted the school. By working alongside the school social worker and providing mental health services, Faauuga helped survivors of the shooting to heal and transition back to school. Today, he works for the Department of Public Health Community Wellness Program building wellness centers for the HOPE SF initiative in Potrero Hill, Huntersview, Alice Griffith, and Sunnydale public housing. Once a week, Faauuga dedicates his time to Downtown High School where he provides trauma informed practices for students. Faauuga, however, is ready for the next stage in his career and the next opportunity to advocate for the students, families, and teachers of the SFUSD -- running for San Francisco’s Board of Education.