New Haven Unified School District

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Board of Education

The New Haven Unified School District (NHUSD) is represented by five publicly elected trustees. Each trustee represents a trustee area. A map of these trustee areas can be found under the Trustee Area Map to the right. More information about each of the trustees can be found below.
Sarabjit Cheema
Board President
Governing Board Member - Area 5
 
 
 
Sarabjit Cheema was elected to the Board of Education in 2010 and re-elected in 2014 & 2018. Born in Punjab, India, she taught math and science in her native country before moving in 1991 to the United States, where she has worked as both a part-time and substitute teacher and as a transportation engineer.

Ms. Cheema and her husband are the parents of three sons who attended New Haven schools. Long active on school site councils and parent-teacher associations, she participated in New Haven’s Strategic Planning process and is member of the District’s Equity Task Force. She also is a member of Union City's Human Relations Commission.
 
Board Clerk
Governing Board Member - Area 2
 


Melissa Shuen Mallory was elected to the Board of Education in 2020. Born in and raised in Texas, they also lived in Ohio before moving to the Bay Area over 17 years ago and eventually putting down roots in Union City. Melissa has a Bachelor’s of Vocal Performance in Music from San Jose State University and a certificate of Paralegal Studies from California State University, East Bay Hayward. Melissa taught music for five years and also has sung with professional opera companies such as San Jose Opera and West Bay Opera. Melissa works as a Legal Assistant for a Fortune 500 Company. 
 
Mx. Shuen-Mallory was formerly the Chair of Union City’s Human Relations Commission and also sat on the Policing and Community Engagement Committee. Melissa has served as an organizer and activist in the Bay Area for many years including organizing rallies for education and other important issues such as immigration and Black Lives Matter.   She is also on the Alameda County Democratic Central committee.

Linda Canlas
Governing Board Member - Area 4
 
 
 
 
Linda Canlas was elected to the Board of Education in 2010 and re-elected in 2014 & 2018. She is a principal in the Hayward Unified School District, where she also has taught.

Ms. Canlas and her husband, Dennis LaFlam, have been Union City residents since 1983 and are the parents of two daughters who attended New Haven schools. Before her election to the Board, she served on New Haven’s Strategic Planning Team and co-chaired school site councils at Cabello and Eastin elementary schools and Alvarado Middle School.

Michael Gonzales Michael Gonzales
 Governing Board Member - Area 3
 

Michael Gonzales was elected as a Trustee to the New Haven School Board in 2020. He is an elementary school teacher in Hayward Unified School District. His previous teaching experience includes 15 years with numerous grade levels and diverse populations for the Los Angeles Unified School District. Michael has been heavily involved with the fight against the privatization of public education in California. In doing so, he organized a coalition that wrote a plan, S.M.Art Academy, for a new elementary school which eliminated a charter school takeover during the Public School Choice Initiative in LAUSD. Mr. Gonzales’ previous advocacy for the California Teachers Association (CTA) includes the Racial Equity Affairs Committee, serving as vice-chair of the CTA Hispanic Caucus and 10-year State Delegate for the California Teachers Association. Mr. Gonzales was also a proud National Delegate for the National Education Association Representative Assembly for seven years. Mr. Gonzales, is steeped in community advocacy and has served as president of the Pacoima Neighborhood Council, where he also served as chair of the Education Committee.  


Michael understands the strife of students with learning disabilities from not only teaching experience, but also as a student. In grade school, Michael would misbehave to compensate for his inability to read at grade level due to his learning disability. The New Haven Unified School District staff recognized Michael’s attention seeking behavior and never gave up on him. Michael is excited to serve on the school board and give back to the community that has given him so much support as a student. 


Michael Gonzales is a third generation Union City resident. All of Michael’s family went to New Haven Unified Schools. The Gonzales family serves or has served the Bay Area as educators, athletic coaches, and firefighters. 

 
Governing Board Member - Area 1
 
Lance Nishihira was elected to the Board of Education in 2016 and re-elected in 2020. He is a Director of Global Design at a Fortune 500 Financial Technology company. He has lived in Union City with his wife Tina, a Union City native, since 1998. All three of his daughters are currently enrolled in New Haven Unified School District.

Mr. Nishihira serves on several non-profit boards, including the New Haven Schools Foundation. He has served as chairperson for school site councils at Hillview Crest, César Chávez Middle School and Itliong-Vera Cruz Middle School. Prior to being elected, he served on the Union City Economic Development Advisory Team, the Union City General Plan Advisory Committee, and the NHUSD Measure M Citizen Oversight Committee.