SAN FRANCISCO — The Filipino community gathered recently to celebrate the milestones achieved by San Francisco’s Filipino cultural district, SOMA Pilipinas.
The occasion also commemorated Hydra Mendoza — the first and currently only Filipina elected to office in San Francisco.
As the outgoing president of San Francisco’s board of education, Mendoza will take on a new role as Deputy Chancellor for community empowerment, partnerships, and communications at New York City’s Department of Education.
“We are honoring her tonight to really recognize her contributions as being our champion for SOMA Pilipinas and actually we’re really proud and excited that she’s going to be now the deputy chancellor for New York public schools,” says Raquel Redondiez.
Having been elected to San Francisco’s school board in 2006, 2010, and 2014, Mendoza has served under four mayors.
She worked for Mayor Gavin Newsom as a senior advisor for education, and served as Mayor Ed Lee’s deputy chief of staff for education and equity.
“She’s a powerhouse that always brought us to the table and what she has done has inspired leadership in the next generation,” said Dori Caminong. “She has a fierce journey that we will follow and she has a great pair of shoes that we are happy to step into.”
Mendoza says she is proud of what she has accomplished in her time in office.
“Ethnic studies was a critical component for us because that allowed us to talk about our culture in a sitting, learning environment and that was really great. But it’s also early learning childhood education. It’s jobs for our young people,” she says. “It’s being able to have stem in our school and having our young women, in particular, be able to think about math and science and technology careers.”
Mendoza says she is heading into her new job with confidence thanks to her Filipino community.
“This has been my learning ground. I had some tremendous support from the Filipino community to let me think about how I grow my leadership, how do I take on the more challenging issues around segregation, or discrimination, and the racism we experienced. And be able to take it to the next level and really educate people about our own culture and heritage.”
According to New York’s Department of Education, Mendoza will lead the department’s work to empower families and communities, while increasing awareness and support for New York City’s public schools.