Fresh ideas. Teaching experience. Innovation. Results.
Kalen grew up in San Jose and is a proud 4th generation resident of our community. Growing up, Kalen was active in student government, athletics, and served as the President of the Key Club, a national community service organization.
After high school, Kalen attended UC Davis and quickly became involved in student government serving the Associated Students of UC Davis as a Senator, Vice-President, and finally as President. As ASUCD President, Kalen worked on a wide range of issues on behalf of the UC Davis student body including fighting to keep UC, CSU, and Community College tuition low and increasing the funding for student recruitment and retention from low-income communities.
Driven by his passion for service, Kalen attended law school at the UC Davis School of Law. Again, Kalen continued his active involvement in campus life and student advocacy.
After graduating and passing the California Bar Exam, Kalen opted against taking a big firm job and instead decided to teach 7th and 8th grade Social Studies in East San Jose. During his time teaching, Kalen was responsible for educating nearly 300 students, many of whom came from underserved backgrounds. As a result of Kalen’s dedication to the classroom, his students performed twice as well as the district average on the California Standards Test. Believing there is much more to education than is shown on standardized tests, Kalen also encouraged his students to get involved in their community and develop the interpersonal skills needed to achieve success throughout high school, college, and beyond.
Recognizing the abilities of technology to drive widespread systemic and structural change, Kalen made the tough decision to leave the teaching job he loved to join an innovative education startup called ClassDojo as its first employee. His company builds a free tool for teachers, parents, and students to help establish positive learning habits, strengthen the connection between in-class behavior and academic success, and break down the communication walls between the classroom and the home. ClassDojo is now one of the most-successful education technology startups of all time with over 50 million users in over 180 countries. More recently, after three years of building the company, Kalen decided to take a break from the tech world and joined a small non-profit which focuses on educational equity work in California.
Since returning home to San Jose from school, Kalen has been very active in our community. Kalen co-founded and served as Co-Director of of New Leaders Council - Silicon Valley, a non-partisan, non-profit organization that annually identifies and trains 15-20 civic-minded, young professionals with the tools to make positive change in our community. Kalen also founded the Silicon Valley chapter of the UC Davis Alumni Association and served on the Board of Directors of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Alumni and Volunteer Corporation at Stanford University.
In 2012, Kalen was elected to the Campbell Union High School District receiving 31,725 votes from San Jose, Campbell, and parts of Los Gatos, Saratoga, Santa Clara, and Monte Sereno. He ran on implementing programs to solve CUHSD's 16% dropout rate, raising achievement scores that ranked us among the lowest similar schools in California, aggressively updating classrooms with technology, and eliminating the achievement/opportunity gap. Under Kalen's leadership, the district has made big strides in all of these areas and more.
In 2014, Kalen launched Code for San Jose, a local brigade of Code for America, and has served as its Co-Director the last three years. Code for San Jose's mission is to help make San Jose the world-leader in open government, transparency, and civic innovation. The group has had many big wins, from creating websites and apps that serve San Joseans to helping secure passage of the city’s open data policy.