Friday, May 24, 2024

School Committee candidate Eugenia Schraa Huh is a former public high school teacher and has two children in the Cambridge school and after-school system. (Photo: Eugenia Schraa Huh via Instagram)

A challenger for Cambridge’s School Committee is holding a launch party Thursday, marking the beginning of competition for seats on the six-member body led by the mayor.

The candidate, Eugenia Schraa Huh, was a public high school teacher in the Bronx in NewYork and has two children, one of elementary age in the Baldwin School and another in preschool, with husband Ming-Tai Huh, a restaurateur and maker of hospitality tech. Since moving to Massachusetts in 2013, Schraa has worked in marketing and with local nonprofits, including as a writer with the Kendall Square Association and as a board member of the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House in The Port, according to online profiles. Schraa was also executive director for the political arm of the pro-housing group A Better Cambridge.

The 5:30 p.m. launch party at Middlesex in Lafayette Square has a clever signature drink in the Algebra Spritz – an Aperol spritz with prosecco, soda and orange “with a Stem-pun name,” the event email quipped, referring to science, technology, engineering and math education. “Yes, it’s reference to Eugenia’s platform.”

The event is free but hopes to raise at least $250 from donors offering sophisticated fare for adults and pizza and baby-sitters for their kids; after-school care is a topic she’s pursuing as a candidate after encountering problems finding seats for her kids in the fall. Fellow parents were saying “I had to quit my job for a year or two years, or I had to cut back on [work] hours or we have to think about leaving the city,” she told NBC News.

Using after-school time “for much-needed extra academic and socio-emotional learning” is part of her platform, along with a call for more family and educator feedback on programs and policies and teaching the science of reading and keeping a eighth-grade algebra standard, among other things.

“Reading and math – they shouldn’t have to be in a School Committee platform, but that’s where things stand,” Schraa said online.

As on the City Council side of municipal elections, campaigning has been quiet ahead of the official July 3 opening of the season, when election nomination papers become available from the Election Commission. The deadline for submission is July 31 ahead of Nov. 7 voting.

Among School Committee incumbents, Ayesha Wilson has been fundraising for reelection since the spring and vice chair Rachel Weinstein says on her website she is running. Other incumbents have yet to announce.

Schraa enters the run with some well-known allies, including former Cambridge city councillor David Sullivan, current councillor E. Denise Simmons and former head of the Kendall Square Association C.A. Webb.

This post was updated June 12, 2023, with changes to references to employment and fundraising goals based on an email from the candidate.