San Leandro Councilmember Ursula Reed

SAN LEANDRO | Two-term San Leandro Councilwoman Ursula Reed says she intends to run for Alameda County superintendent of schools in 2014.

The current holder of the seat since 1999, Sheila Jordan, is eyeing retirement in two years, making Reed the first potential candidate to replace her.

Reed, who won election to the District 2 San Leandro council seat in 2008, won a tight three-way race for re-election last November over San Leandro school trustee Morgan Mack-Rose decided by ranked choice voting. If elected next year, Reed would only serve half of her second term in office. She says running another office so soon after winning re-election shouldn’t rankle constituents. Instead, they should view it as an opportunity for their children.

“Right now I’m a full-time educator and a full-time politician, so I have to split my life two ways—city and schools,” says Reed, who believes the superintendent job is best suited to her resume. And when it comes to her consituents, she won’t forget where she comes from, she says. “Not only would it make sense for all the kids in Alameda County, but because I have a preference and special allegiance to San Leandro, it could only help the students of San Leandro.”

Sheila Jordan

In addition to her stint on the San Leandro City Council, Reed has been an educator for 27 years, serving as principal of Markham Elementary School and vice principal at Bret Harte Middle School, both in Hayward. She also served a number of different positions at the Oakland Unified School District, including human resources, labor relations and student services.

“I’ve been in education this whole time,” says Reed, who insists she was not thinking of running while Sheila Jordan is seated in the superintendent’s office. Reed says she was first approached by some community groups in Hayward who urged her to contemplate a run for county superintendent of schools. However, in the past few months, Jordan has been rumored to be angling to groom a number of protégé to replace her in 2014.

Running a county-wide race is different and quite costly as opposed to the council races Reed has run in the past and less focused on blanketing the entire county in mailers. Reed says she has tabbed noted East Bay political consultant Doug Linney to run her campaign. Linney, viewed as one of the rising stars in campaign consulting helped Alameda County Superior Court Judge Tara Flanagan win her election to the bench last June without the need of a November runoff.