News broke yesterday that sitting School Board member Niel Tam passed away on Sunday after a prolonged battle with leukemia.
I didn’t know Niel Tam personally, but as a long time School Board watcher, I found him to be soft spoken and thoughtful. While he was never the most outspoken and he was often criticized for being quiet, when he did add a few words to the discussion they were always meaningful and insightful. His previous roles as a teacher and school administrator meant that he brought a lot of subject matter knowledge to the School Board and his absence will be missed.
Plus, he just seemed like a really kind and generous spirit.
But what Niel Tam should really be appreciated and remembered for is his courage to stand up and do the right thing, despite the opposition and fall out such as his vote on Lesson 9 which earned him a recall attempt.
I think this quote from Superintendent Sean McPhetridge is a great summation of Niel Tam:
“Niel was dedicated to protecting and upholding the rights of all people, and he was a champion in the Alameda community,”
RIP Niel Tam.