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Beyond Student Council

September 2023

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Beyond Student Council

IN THE LOBBY: Nori, in Washington, D.C., with another California school board member, Paige Winikoff, says he brings the perspective of a recently graduated student to high school governance. Photo: Sathvik Nori

Last fall, Sathvik Nori, ’25, became the youngest person elected to the Sequoia Union High School District board of trustees. He ran at age 19, newly graduated from the district himself. As a senior at Menlo-Atherton High School, Nori served as one of the board’s student trustees (a nonvoting youth position) during the pandemic. 

“I really saw how a school board operated at one of its toughest moments—you had parents, teachers, and administrators just in complete chaos. Every single meeting would go until 2 a.m.,” he says. “It showed me more about how education works at a macro policy level and the power they have in shaping the district.”

Now nine months into his four-year elected term, the computer science major and education minor has adjusted to life as a full-time student with a part-time public service career. Around 3 p.m. each Wednesday, Nori leaves his Escondido Village apartment and heads to the district boardroom for up to six hours of meetings (with the occasional early departure for an unmovable CS midterm). In addition, he makes regular visits to school sites, and in May, he traveled to Washington, D.C., to lobby on behalf of the California School Boards Association.  

‘It showed me more about how education works at a macro policy level and the power they have in shaping the district.’

Among Nori’s priorities is addressing the varied needs of some 10,000 students, from Atherton to East Palo Alto. “We by no means can solve all the societal problems that might have caused the achievement gap to manifest,” he says, “but we can ensure that every student has a great experience in the four years that we see them, and really comes out prepared to do whatever they want to do.”

Serving on the board now, Nori says, even though it’s a juggling act with college, is important because he’s so recently out of the district. Board president Rich Ginn, ’93, MS ’94, appreciates that. “Sathvik is a dedicated board member,” he says. Nori notes that education governance is unusual, in that “the people who are affected most by the decisions that we make are the students, who have no voice in actually electing the people who represent them. I wanted to [run] because I felt like I could bring that perspective.”


Rachel Lit, ’25, is a former editorial intern at Stanford. Email her at stanford.magazine@stanford.edu.

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