Boulder Valley School District

Get to know Board Member Jason Unger

Jason Unger
Jodie Carroll

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From teaching to advocating for educational equity, Jason Unger, a newly elected member of the BVSD Board of Education, once contemplated a path in law but found his calling in the classroom instead. Teaching elementary school in Compton, California, he faced daunting challenges from day one – an overcrowded classroom, scarce resources, and dilapidated facilities. Yet, this experience became pivotal, fostering deep connections with his students and their families.

“The school was literally crumbling and there weren't enough resources,” said Unger. “This was very eye-opening for me because this wasn’t the case for me at the public school I went to just 40 miles away. That’s when I knew I wanted to work to change the laws and to help make education more equitable.”

Witnessing these disparities firsthand ignited Unger's passion for reforming education to promote equity. Pursuing a graduate degree in public policy and school administration, he transitioned into roles as an assistant principal in Boston and later as an advisor on education issues in the U.S. Senate

Now settled in Colorado, Unger works as a consultant aiding nonprofits and foundations in navigating federal legislation. Motivated by his background in education and policy, constituents urged him to run for the BVSD Board of Education, recognizing his expertise and dedication.

Unger's decision to run was also personal, sparked by a moment waiting for the school bus with his two elementary-age boys, realizing he and his family will be committed to the district until his 3-year-old daughter (who tried to get on the bus) graduates in 2039. 

“Part of my work nationally and federally is following what's happening in school boards around the country,” shared Unger. “I'm concerned about the direction of a lot of districts and the takeover by some ideologues. Ensuring that does not happen in Boulder Valley was one of my motivations to get involved and run for the school board.”

He says his extensive experience, including teaching underserved populations and shaping federal laws, has equipped him to address the district's pressing issues.

“I understand the pressures of teachers and even though that was 20 plus years ago, it's still relevant, and I understand the unique needs of very marginalized and underserved kids in populations,” expressed Unger.

“All of my students were in need. Probably a third of my students were undocumented immigrants and maybe two thirds were non-English speakers and not at grade level. So, all these issues that we deal with on a smaller scale here in Boulder, I've worked to help address some of these challenges - in the classroom, running a school, and through changes to federal law."

As a board member, Unger aims to confront challenges such as declining enrollment and prioritize students' academic and mental well-being, particularly in the aftermath of the pandemic. Working to ensure all kids are challenged and continuing to work to close the achievement gap are among his priorities.

Beyond his work and board duties, Unger cherishes family time with his wife and three kids - skiing, biking, hiking, and beach trips in California.

Have a question or feedback for Jason? You can reach him via email at jason.unger@bvsd.org. To contact all seven board members (as well as the superintendent and the board secretary), email bvs.board@bvsd.org. Contact information for all members of the BVSD Board of Education can be found on the BVSD Board webpage.


 

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