On November 8th we will have a chance to use the full weight of the electoral process to determine who will be the next Mayor of Richmond As important as this is, here in Richmond there are also three critical races being contested for three seats on the Richmond City Council.
As an added bonus, there are two seats open on the West Contra Costa Unified School District’s Board of Education.
Radio Free Richmond has extended an offer to all fourteen candidates to post their own words to let you, the voters, know their positions on what they believe to be the important issues.
Radio Free Richmond’s policy is to post these candidate provided articles unedited. What is posted is what is provided by the candidates.
RFR will post a new candidate statement as frequently as they are provided.
West Contra Costa Unified School District • Trustee Area 5
School Board Trustee Candidate
I am a former teacher and an education leader running for the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) Board of Education in Trustee Area 5 (El Cerrito, Kensington, the Richmond Annex, the Richmond Marina, Point Richmond and East Richmond Heights). As a father with two children in WCCUSD public schools and a Latino immigrant, I understand how critical a strong public school system is for all students and families.
I am an immigrant who came to the United States in the first grade speaking only Spanish. My family left Argentina due to the military dictatorship in the 1970s. My parents gave up their careers as a teacher and school principal to start anew so that their children could have a brighter future. Our family settled in the Los Angeles area where my two siblings and I attended public schools. Thanks to the support at home, by amazing California public school teachers and speech therapists, we achieved our family’s American dream – attending UC Berkeley, earning graduate degrees, and having successful careers.
After attending UC Berkeley, I follow my parents’ paths and worked as a teacher in urban high poverty schools that face similar challenges to many of our WCCUSD schools. I learned first-hand how fulfilling and challenging being a teacher is. It is an intensely demanding career, and we need to do more to support and honor our teachers.
After teaching, I lived in various parts of California and the East Coast for graduate school and a career in education. In 2011 my wife Gabrielle and I chose to settle in El Cerrito to raise our two daughters. We always knew that we wanted to come back to the area. We are both involved in the community through youth soccer, the school Parent Teacher Associations and volunteering at school events.
Challenges and Priorities to Improve Student Outcomes
I have devoted my career to education by first teaching in urban high poverty schools and then by working with educators to improve student learning. I work with school Superintendents and education leaders across the country to implement best practices and improve district outcomes. I have focused on developing teachers and helping students overcome tremendous challenges at school and at home – much like the challenges that we face at WCCUSD.
Although the district data shows disturbing numbers, 70% of third graders read below grade level, I knowthat we can improve our schools for students and families. I strongly believe that our community deserves better results. I have the experience and expertise in working with districts with similar challenges to achieve their academic goals. As a board member I would focus on:
- Promoting strong fundamental skills in reading, math and science, while meeting the needs of all students, especially African-American and LatinX students.
- Investing to attract, retain and develop high quality teachers and staff.
- Providing fiscal accountability on administration while keeping cuts away from the classroom.
- Expanding access to career and technical education to prepare students for their future.
- Encouraging more parent and student involvement.
With two daughters attending WCCUSD public schools, I know how important a world-class education is to families and the community. I also support:
- The moratorium on new charter schools in WCCUSD.
- The intent of AB 1505 to hold charter schools accountable for student performance and fiscal health.
We need to get all our schools performing well to decrease any charter appeal for parents. I will work to replicate the success that exists in many of our schools and invest in our programs that are working. This includes raising student achievement, student voices, and telling our positive stories so our local schools are an attractive option to families considering other options. I will fight every day to develop excellence in our schools and make WCCUSD a district that is the pride of our community.
Endorsements and Support
I am so proud to be endorsed by:
- The California Democratic Party (CADEM)
- The Democratic Party of Contra Costa County (DPCCC)
- The California Teacher Association (CTA). CTA is the unified voice for educators in California’s public schools and community colleges. With the combined strength and commitment of 310,000 members
- United Teachers of Richmond (UTR) comprised of WCCUSD preK-12 Teachers, Counselors, Psychologists, Speech Pathologists, Early Childhood Educators, and Nurses.
- Teamsters 856 includes the classified staff including janitors and cafeteria workers.
- IFPTE Local 21, which includes of district professionals.
- The Council of Elders (COE). COE is an organization of Black professionals with a unique perspective on matters of education. The COE is committed to advocacy in the WCCUSD on meeting the academic needs of all students, and particularly our neediest students.
- Tony Thurmond, California Superintendent of Public Instruction
- Demetrio Gonzalez-Hoy, Current WCCUSD Board Clerk and Trustee
- Jamela Smith-Folds, Current WCCUSD Board Trustee
- Tom Panas, Former WCCUSD School Board President and Trustee
- Stephanie Hernandez-Jarvis, Former WCCUSD School Board President and Trustee
- Claudia Jimenez, Richmond City Council Member
- Jane Bartke, Former El Cerrito Mayor, retired WCCUSD teacher
- Chris Kelley, Hercules City Council Member
- Scottie Smith, Educational Advocate
- Miriam Wong, Community Member
And the list is growing daily…
I humbly ask for your support, your voice and your vote on or by November 8th.
To learn more, you can visit www.Patricio4Kids.com