candidate statements
WEST CONTRA COSTA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

MISTER PHILLIPS
Attorney/Educator/Parent

I have had the honor of representing you in the County Central Committee since 2012. Now I am running for the governing board of the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) to help our children reach their full potential. I am committed to school safety, student engagement, academic achievement, employee morale, and parent involvement. My vision is that every child 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 failed to meet state standards for seven or more years. If elected, I will work with parents, district employees, fellow school board members, and the community at large to ensure that every child in the WCCUSD has the opportunity to receive a quality public education. Professionally, I am an attorney, nonprofit trustee, and former substitute teacher in the WCCUSD and the San Francisco Unified School District. I served on the Richmond Promise Scholarship Committee and the First 5 Contra Costa Children and Families Commission. I obtained my Doctor of Law degree from UC Hastings College of the Law and my Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Political Science from San Francisco State. I attended Richmond High School as did my father and grandmother. I live in Richmond with my wife Angela and our three young children. Our oldest attends school in the WCCUSD. I humbly ask for your vote. For more information, please visit www.misterphillips.com. Thank you.

TOM PANAS
Retired Accountant/Parent

I believe an excellent public education is the key to unlocking our children’s future and that a thriving school system is essential for a thriving 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 currently serve as Chair of the School District’s Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee and I served on the Citizens’ Budget Advisory Committee. I have the financial 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. It is essential that the School Board makes sure every dollar
benefits students, teachers and schools. That means having academic programs that meet the individual needs of our students and families.

I have lived in this District for more than 40 years. I have two grown sons who attended District schools K through 12. I believe in the potential of West County and I’ve fought hard to improve our community. Because of my long record of service, my City Council put me on the Wall of Fame in 2014. Now I’d like to apply my passion for the community 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 www.tom4kids.com. Thank you.

DON GOSNEY
Scholarship Program Administrator

There was a time when the primary focus of our School Board was on the education of our children. Instead we now focus on ways to divide us. As long as we’re divided we cannot move forward.

I plan to refocus our attention on educating our youth.

My main focus will be to talk to the parents, talk to the students and talk to the teachers to learn what THEIR issues are so we can learn how to fix whatever they believe is wrong with our District.

We need to bridge the divide between the charter/anti-charter factions and the divides between our different communities. We need to make our schools safe for our students, teachers and administrators. We need to talk to our teachers to learn how we can support their efforts to educate our youth. They cannot do it on their own but with your support we can give them what they need.

Communication is the key. As a Board Member I will be at the schools, I will be in the communities and I will be listening to what EVERYONE has to say.

For the past 11 years I’ve administered the Ivy League Connection scholarship program—the most successful program in our District’s history where we’ve been part of expanding the college going culture in our District.

With support and guidance from my community, our students and our teachers, I believe that we can accomplish things that others have given up on.
dongosney.com

AYANA K. YOUNG
Attorney/Parent

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.
My platform:

  1. Raise academic achievement for all
  2. Raise our standards and expect the highest achievement from each student
  3. 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.
There is definitely work to be done, and I will serve at the pleasure of the students and community.
Vote Ayana K. Young for WCCUSD School Board Member on 11/8/2016!

CARLOS TABOADA
Retired Teacher

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.
As an educator, parent of a child who attended WCCUSD schools, 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; all the while maintaining fiscal responsibility to taxpayers and the community.
In order for our students to achieve and succeed, our schools need caring, qualified and experienced teachers, smaller class sizes, up-to-date textbooks and technology, and a school that provides a safe learning environment.
Public education is a shared responsibility. We are all responsible—teachers, parents, students, elected officials and community leaders–for ensuring all children receive a quality education. By working together, we are able to overcome any challenge facing our school district.
We have a wealth of highly qualified, committed and talented teachers, as well as students eager to learn. We also have a strong school district that is responsible to educate all children, regardless of their abilities and backgrounds.
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. I know that to protect our investment we must limit the expansion of charter schools.
Submitted by Carlos Taboada

ANTONIO ÁLVAREZ MEDRANO
Retired Teacher

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 3-19.
I have lived in West County since the early 1980’s and have been very active in the community and the school district – two terms on the Contra Costa Grand Jury, School Board member 2008-2012. School District Citizen Bond Oversight Committee, chair Berkeley/North East Bay Chapter of the ACLU of Northern California.
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 of the 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 support 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.