photo of HyunJu Kwak at Brown graduation
I grew up in Paramus in an immigrant family with modest means. I loved going to school, and whatever time I had left, I worked as a cashier at a local supermarket to pay my way for activities like a school trip to Paris. I knew that education was an investment towards a better future and school was a gateway to opportunities. I had a view, thanks to my parents, that if I work diligently, I can make a difference in myself and the world.
I was admitted early decision to Brown University, and was later selected by Oxford University as the first visiting scholar from Brown who is Asian and a woman of color. A barrier was broken.
Another barrier was broken when I was elected by Ridgewood residents for a one-year seat on the Board of Education last year. I am the first woman of color to be elected to the Board and the first minority ever in a leadership role as Vice-President at the Board in its 125+ year history. I want students to see me on the Board and realize that I represent the norm and not the exception. I want to set a path so that other women of color will speak out, stand up and run for the Board and for public office.
The BOE position is an honor and I have given, and intend to commit if re-elected, my absolute best.