Stevon Cook is a third generation San Franciscan and currently a resident of Bayview Hunter’s Point. At the age of 10, he and his sister moved in with his grandparents while his parents battled drug and alcohol addictions. He was headed down a troubled path until his outlook on school changed, when he became a student at Thurgood Marshall High School. Marshall’s engaging staff transformed Stevon and he developed into a leader, becoming active in school district policy as a member of the Student Advisory Council.
After graduating from Marshall and beginning his collegiate career at Williams College, Stevon vowed to return to San Francisco to help improve the city’s public schools and ensure every student has access to a quality education. While in college he gathered the skills he would need to fulfill his promise. He became active in community service opportunities, business and politics spending his summer vacations doing political internships and community service work.
With his degree from Williams College in hand, Stevon returned to San Francisco and served in the inaugural class of the Mayor’s City Hall Fellows program. Stevon’s goal as a Fellow was to learn how government can connect resources to communities in a manner that improves the lives of residents. He was able to achieve this goal by working in the Department of Public Works and helping the department improve performance measurements and efficiencies for the city’s maintenance departments. From there Stevon made good on his promise of returning to the San Francisco Unified School District to help students who grew up in an environment resembling his, by returning to Thurgood Marshall High School as an academic advisor for students and families. His goal was to put students in the best possible position to pursue higher education. During his time at Marshall advising students, he helped hundreds of youth with a variety of issues and ran several college support programs which included: Saturday School, SAT Prep course, After School Tutoring, Parent Academic workshops and several college tours.
Stevon’s dedication included hosting fundraisers to help students participate in college tours. Perhaps his most successful fundraiser was his 25th Birthday party. Where instead of gifts, he asked his friends to contribute to a fund that allows students to visit colleges and be inspired to seek a higher education.
His success as an academic advisor at Marshall led to his appointment to the Community Advisory Committee for the Public Education and Enrichment Fund, commonly referred to as PEEF. The charge of the committee is to provide oversight and recommendations for over $30 million in funding for programs like sports, libraries, arts, music, Peer Resources and Student Wellness programs. Stevon’s ability was recognized by his peers and shortly after joining the committee he was elected Co-Chair by his peers. Serving as Co-Chair, he played a leadership role in the reorganization of the committee to better define and structure the reviewing and reporting process to the Board of Education.
Further, Stevon’s success working at Marshall High School led to his earning a position at the San Francisco Education Fund, where he would now have the capacity to help link community resources to students at every public high school in San Francisco.
His work has focused on helping high schools improve postsecondary outcomes for first generation students of color. In doing so, Stevon has relied on local, state and national research around successful interventions that get students into college. He used this data to partner with teachers, principals, counselors and community based organizations to implement those interventions at the high school level. As a result of this work, his high school partners have seen a college enrollment increase by 38% for African American and 14% for Latinos.
Realizing his ability to create partnerships, coupled with his diverse understanding of San Francisco’s public schools as both a student and nonprofit professional, Stevon has come to the conclusion that he is capable of doing more to help create positive outcomes for students in the SFUSD. This desire to undertake a bigger responsibility has led him to seek a seat on the Board of Education.
As a Commissioner, Stevon will work to improve our teacher retention to ensure educators are better prepared and supported in their first five years of teaching. He will do more to create safe and supportive schools to ensure that we are creating learning environments that allow teachers to teach and students to learn.
Furthermore, Stevon will continue his work of improving postsecondary outcomes to ensure more students have meaningful pathways to college and career options.
Stevon’s life experience, career accomplishments and commitment to San Francisco public schools make him a perfect choice to serve as a Commissioner on the Board of Education.