About

About

I am running for Board of Education because I want to do my part to ensure the success of our students and schools — Roger Sinasohn

About Roger Sinasohn

As a parent of three kids in public schools and as the husband of a veteran public school teacher (25 years in the classroom and 10 years as a dance teacher before that), Roger is intimately involved with the school district.  As a native San Franciscan and a public school graduate, Roger knows how important the school district is to the future of our city.  As the son of an immigrant — his father arrived here by himself at the age of 13 — he is well aware how important it is to make education accessible to every member of our society.

 

Community Leadership and Volunteerism

Roger has served in many roles at Sunset Elementary School, including member of the School Site Council, classroom volunteer, member of the Hospitality Committee, and Technology Chair.

He has served on the board of directors of the Friends of the Company, a non-profit dedicated to supporting the Young People’s Teen Musical Theatre Company, a San Francisco Recreation and Parks department program that introduces young people to the theatre. In the past, Roger has led backpacking trips for the Sierra Club, assisted seniors at the Jewish Home for the Aged (now the SF Campus for Jewish Living), and volunteered (as well as lectured) at the Vintage Computer Festival.

For the last few years, Roger has handled the headshots for the San Francisco Arts Education Project Players, a theatre company made up of 9-14 year old students from San Francisco public schools across the city.  He contributes both his time and the photos which are displayed at shows and sold to parents as a fundraiser.

Education

Although college was always an expectation growing up, family circumstances meant that Roger did not attend a four-year university. Instead he went to San Francisco’s own City College where he obtained an excellent, practical education before discontinuing his studies to work full time. Recognizing the limitations imposed by the lack of a degree, he has set the standards high for his own children, all of whom assume they will be going to college — the only question being whether it will be a school like MIT (his oldest’s first choice) or somewhere less well-known. Roger wants to make sure that every child assumes they will go to college, if it suits them, and that there will be no obstacles other than hard work and dedication.

Professional Background

Roger knew what he was going to be at an early age — or at least he thought he did. He fell victim to the traditional thinking that each of us grows up and becomes one thing — doctor, lawyer, teacher, or, in Roger’s case, a computer programmer — and that one thing defines us and dictates who we are. The reality, however, is that each of us has the potential to become many things. Roger has been, thus far, a computer programmer, writer, publisher, activist, singer, photographer, and, perhaps most important, parent.

Roger has spent the last 35 years in the technology world, focusing primarily on business applications and solutions.  Specifically, for the last 13 years, he has worked in the education market, developing and maintaining systems to support school districts — payroll, supplies, accounts payable, and so on.  This has given him a unique insight into the needs and challenges school districts face.

He has also worked as a writer for several notable parenting-related websites, most notably ParentDish and Strollerderby.  Currently, his writing can be found — occasionally — at his own site, SafariDad.com.

Family

Roger has been married to Rachel Grilley, a first grade teacher in Daly City, for nearly 20 years; they have been together as a couple for nearly 30. They have three children: Jared, born in 2002, Sara, born in 2004, and Ezra, 2008.

Jared is a student at Lowell High School where he is an active member of the FIRST Robotics team. He is also an accomplished tap dancer, plays multiple instruments — piano, tuba, trumpet, bass guitar, saxophone, trombone, to name a few — and works with Celsius and Beyond teaching kids about engineering and robotics. His plan is to attend MIT (or possibly Berkeley or Stanford) and become an engineer.

Sara is an actress, dancer, and singer — what is known as a “triple threat”. She has shown an interest in the law, but is uncertain where her schooling and professional life will take her. For the moment, she is concentrating on her performing career and on getting straight As in middle school.

Ezra is the clown of the family. His path is the least certain — at the moment, his primary goal is to become a “Minecraft YouTuber”. He is also very interested in sports and learning to play the drums. His biggest challenge is school, where he keeps his teachers on their toes by reading at a high school level and being several years ahead of his grade in math.

Although his own parents have passed on, Roger is very close to his in-laws, spending time with them on a weekly basis. Having grown up without knowing his own grandparents, he recognizes the importance of facilitating his kids’ relationship with their grandparents.

Personal

When he was younger, Roger identified the three things that mattered most to him: technology, nature, and music. He has always been a fan of the potential of technology to improve people’s lives and make the world a better place for everyone. Innovation is exciting. Roger has always loved the outdoors, especially water. He loves camping and backpacking and spent much of his young adulthood in the Sierras: in Yosemite, the Carson-Iceberg and Desolation Wildernesses, and elsewhere. He taught swimming to San Francisco children under the watchful eye of Charlie Sava (for whom the swimming pool on 19th Avenue is rightly named) and loves small watercraft of all types. Rivers, especially, are rather dear to his heart. Lastly, coming from a very musical family (and having been a singer himself, performing with the San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony, and others) music is extremely important to him. He owns thousands of CDs, from an autographed copy of Vivaldi’s complete lute concertos and a copy of the only recording of Da Vinci’s viola organista to the complete Beatles catalog and all of San Francisco blues legend Johnny Nitro’s CDs.

Now, however, he would add a fourth and most important item: community.  More than anything, he values the network of friends he has built up over the years.  It is only when we come together as a community that we can make a difference  and make the world a better place.  As Roger puts it, we’re all in this together.