CANDIDATE STATEMENT of ANTONIO MEDRANO
Occupation: retired teacher, community college and high school
I taught for 36 years in public schools. I am the proud father of two sons and a daughter, and I’m the grandfather of four grandkids, ages 3 to 19. I have lived in West County since the early 1980s and have been very active in the community and the school district-including chair of the Redevelopment Committee of Montalvin Manor, two terms on the Contra Costa Grand Jury, WCCUSD school board member 2008-2012, WCCUSD Citizen Bond Oversight Committee member, WCCUSD Audit Subcommittee member, WCCUSD Budget Advisory Committee member, and chair of the Berkeley/North East Bay chapter of the ACLU of Northern California. I am a graduate of the University of San Francisco, with a teaching credential from UCLA. Retired AFT/CFT #61 AFL-CIO,NEA/CTA.
We need to increase school safety, attract and retain the best teachers and principals, provide equal opportunities for all students, and make student achievement our top priority. Our academies-health, technology, environmental studies, law and justice, multimedia, hospitality, and creative and performing arts-are providing more of our students with greater educational opportunities and are keeping students in school. They need our strong support.
We want and need open, transparent communication with our school board. And we need full and open distribution ofthe Local Control Funds designated for low-income, English language students, and foster kids.
I want to thank all those who voted for me in the election of 2008, and I ask for your vote now in this election. When I am elected, I promise to listen to you, the community, to our parents, and to our students. Vote for change and a new voice. All students deserve an equal opportunity for success.
CANDIDATE STATEMENT of AYANA YOUNG
I’m Ayana Kirkland Young, a wife, a mother of 7 and an attorney. I grew up in Pinole and live in Hercules.
I’m not a politician but a concerned parent. I’m running for office because I have a vested interest in the success of this district and want to help ensure that all students obtain the best education possible to prepare them for the future.
Raise academic achievement for all
Raise our standards and expect the highest achievement from each student
Create art and other extra-curricular programs that will inspire a love for learning
-The way to raise academic achievement is by making it a priority for all. Turn the focus to educating students to be proficient or better in Math and Science. Encourage Reading and Comprehension through the Socratic Method and Collaborative Learning.
– We can no longer be satisfied with mediocrity. Every student must be encouraged to reach their highest potential and be given the tools to do so, such as motivated teachers; during and after school academic support; and high achievement math and science programs and courses.
– Arts and other extra- curricular activities support Math and Science. Students won’t learn if they hate school. By making the Arts a priority we can create a holistic environment for learning.
CANDIDATE STATEMENT of CARLOS TABOADA
I have been a teacher and counselor for 21 years in West Contra Costa Unified School District. I believe, unequivocally, in the value of real public education and want to continue serving our community as an elected School Board member.
I am an educator and parent of a child who attended WCCUSD schools as well as a grandfather of another child who will soon attend schools in WCCUSD. I know firsthand that the key to ensuring great public schools for all students is to provide educators with the tools and resources they need. Therefore, I believe maintaining fiscal responsibility to taxpayers and the community is essential in order to have well-functioning schools.
So that our students achieve and succeed, our schools need caring, qualified, experienced teachers as well as smaller class sizes, up-to-date textbooks with appropriate technology, and safe learning environments.
Public education is a shared responsibility. We are all responsible—teachers, parents, students, elected officials and community leaders–for ensuring all children receive quality education. By working together, we are able to overcome any challenges facing our school district.
We have a wealth of highly qualified, committed and talented teachers, as well as students who are eager to learn. We also have a strong school district that is responsible for educating all children, regardless of their abilities and backgrounds.
As a School Board candidate I am driven by a desire to work toward a stronger relationship between the district and the communities it serves. Public education is an investment and a commitment to our children, our communities and our future. Therefore, in order to protect our investment in all children we must limit the expansion of charter schools.
CANDIDATE STATEMENT of DON GOSNEY
Remember that time when our School Board used to focus their attention on the education of our children? In recent years they’ve lost their way and seem to be fixated on investigations, charter schools and construction projects.
Before we can begin to address the educational needs of our kids, though we need to clear these distractions from the table. My goals include:
#1 ~ Bridging the divides that are keeping us from focusing on what we should be focused on: the education of the children. We have pro/anti charter people, Hercules vs. Kensington, flatland vs everyone else, one ethnicity against all other ethnicities. Until we can bridge these divides we’re going to stagnate.
#2 ~ Find a way to attract and retain quality teachers and administrators. The mass exodus from the District is having a destructive effect on our students.
#3 ~ Refocus the attention of the Board on educating our students. Right now they’re fixated on finding someone to blame for issues that live mostly in their minds. Borrowing $2.4 million for the witch hunt investigation to root out corruption that no one–not the District Attorney, the Grand Jury, the State Attorney General, the FBI, the IRS, and the SEC have been able to find–is a ludicrous waste of our precious tax dollars. Unless someone can tell us what their end game is–what they expect to get from this–then the Board needs to rethink their actions and they sure as heck need to put that money back into the classrooms.
Communication is the key to many of our problems. We need to open lines of communication between the Board, the community, the students and our educators to learn what needs to be done and then we need to devote our attention to making it happen.
CANDIDATE STATEMENT of MISTER PHILLIPS
I have faithfully represented the residents of West County on the Democratic Central Committee since 2012. Now I am running for the board of the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) to help our students achieve their full potential. As the parent of a WCCUSD student, co-chair of the Richmond Promise Ad-Hoc Committee, member of the First 5 Contra Costa Children and Families Commission, attorney at law, non-profit trustee, and former substitute teacher in the WCCUSD, I believe I have the right combination of energy and experience to help our students move forward. My vision is that every student in the WCCUSD will attend a safe school where they are engaged and able to achieve academically. Unfortunately, that is not the case now. Nineteen schools in the WCCUSD have been in Program Improvement status for five or more years, which means these schools have failed to meet Annual Yearly Progress (state standards) for seven or more years. That is unacceptable. Fortunately, we can still turn things around. But we have to prioritize school safety, student engagement, academic achievement, employee morale, and parent involvement. If elected, I will work with other parents, district employees, community groups, my fellow board members, and others in the spirit of collaboration to make sure that every student in the WCCUSD can receive a quality public education. Election Day is Tuesday, November 8. I humbly ask for your vote. For more information, please visit www.misterphillips.com. Thank you.
CANDIDATE STATEMENT of TOM PANAS
I believe an excellent public education is the key to unlocking our children’s future and a thriving school system is essential for a successful community. That is why I’m running for the West County school board.
I am a former Chief Financial Officer and Certified Public Accountant. I’m the Chair of the WCCUSD Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee. I served on the WCCUSD Community Budget Advisory Committee. I have the know-how to ensure the District’s $340 million budget and $1.6 billion school construction program are well managed. I will make sure that students and taxpayers are getting the most for our money.
I believe students of every background deserve an excellent education. I fully support our Party’s education plank, for example adequate school funding and strong democratic governance. The School Board must ensure every dollar benefits students, teachers and schools. I’ll focus on academic and school climate programs that best serve the needs of our students, families, and teachers.
I’ve lived here for more than 40 years. My two grown sons attended District schools K-12. I believe in the potential of West County and have fought hard to improve our community. Because of my years of service, my City Council put me on the Wall of Fame in 2014. Now I’d like to apply that same passion to our District. I know that all our students can succeed.
I stand for great schools and effective financial management. I respectfully ask for your vote. My website is tom4kids.com. Thank you.