1. Tell us about yourself.
My name is Tanya Kravchuk and I’m running to preserve the American dream. It may sound cliche, but as an immigrant from Ukraine, I value the incredible sacrifices my parents made, who brought us to this country with only the hope of opportunity. I believe I owe it to my children to do the same. I am a mom of four and I have a personal vested interest in improving our schools; I have a child in elementary, middle and high school in the district. I am also a joint owner of a residential construction company and the creative arm of our remodel ventures.

I’ve devoted most of my career to serving children in both a volunteer and professional capacity. I’ve volunteered for Robert’s Family Development Center, Boys and Girls Club, Volunteers of America, and The Children’s Receiving Home of Sacramento where I later worked for nearly a decade. I’ve served as VP of my children’s School Site Council, taught Sunday School at church for over 20 years and have been a board member and committee chair for various community groups and events including the Rotary Club of Sacramento, Planned Giving Forum of Sacramento, and the extremely successful Night of Hope benefit concert. I also worked with schools and local governments during the 2020 Census to secure support for an accurate count.

I attended elementary school in the Sacramento City school district and later Sylvan and Mesa Verde in the San Juan district when my family moved to Citrus Heights. Despite various barriers including language, socio-economic status, and cultural differences, I was able to excel in school and therefore understand the obstacles and nuances of navigating the school system from an “outsider” perspective. This gives me a unique sense of compassion for kids experiencing hardships in learning while understanding the importance of academic rigor.

I received a bachelor’s degree in Communications from California State University of Sacramento. Early in my career, I worked in marketing at Farmers Insurance and in Public Affairs at Intel Corporation. I then transitioned to non-profit work as the Resource Development Manager at PEACE for Families and later the Director of Development & Communication at the Children’s Receiving Home of Sacramento focusing on our communities most vulnerable– abused and neglected children.

Political Affiliation: Republican

2. What makes you a qualified candidate for school board?
As stated earlier, I’ve devoted a better part of my life to serving children. I’ve volunteered and worked for various nonprofits including a domestic violence shelter and an emergency shelter for abused and neglected kids. I’ve been very involved in my children’s schooling and served as VP of our Elementary School Site Council. I’ve also taught Sunday School for over 20 years. In terms of relevant experience- I have worked at a fortune 500 company, a federal government agency and currently own and manage my own business so I understand budgets, people and policies.

3. Why are you running for the school board?
I’d like to improve the quality of public education so that our children are equipped to compete in the global workforce and be contributing members of society. I want to make schools and communities safer and give parents a voice in education. I will prioritize support for teachers and students with special needs and demand fiscal accountability to ensure better facilities and programs.

4. What race and equity issues might you consider during your tenure?
The San Juan District has many immigrant and refugee groups that are English Learners. As an English learner myself, I understand the unique circumstances EL students are in. They are not only learning a new language, but also a new culture and customs. I believe the first step is to foster a welcoming classroom environment that encourages students to learn and teaches the fellow students to be compassionate, supportive and helpful. If these English-learners have peer support, they will thrive. Additionally, we must focus on literacy development, allow some scaffolding with the native language and build in more group work.

5. How are planning to address the achievement gap in your district?
Two main ways would be to invest in early education and focus on literacy. Specific interventions could include supports for new parents; free or affordable child care, quality pre-K or other early childhood education settings.

Invest Early while the brain is the most pliable: Research shows that children who graduate from preschool have improved academic readiness, lower incarceration rates, and higher earnings. Teach them early to be a “learner” so they understand how to apply it in a formal setting.

Focus on literacy: Too many of our graduates are not reading at grade level and this is unacceptable. We should be educating teachers in the application of well-researched reading strategies, particularly focused on younger grades. When children transition to reading to learn in higher grades, ingrain quality literacy instruction into other courses such as math and history.