This Election, Our Kids Are Counting On Us
By Alex Beltran
Richmond has been my home for 13 years and I’ve raised my family here. Both of my kids attend Ford Elementary, and I’m motivated to serve as a parent leader because I see the work that needs to be done in West Contra Costa Unified School District. Like any other parent, I want what’s best for my kids, and I strongly believe that the progress we need to see in our children’s education begins with our school board.
This past September, I was invited by Education Matters to join a group of parents, former students, educators, and community leaders to meet candidates running for two open seats on the WCCUSD School Board, and I simply could not refuse the opportunity. I was honored to join this endorsement panel and represent the voice of parents in our community.
Serving on the Education Matters endorsement panel gave me the opportunity to learn in depth about the candidates’ qualifications and their plans to improve our district and make sure that every student receives a quality education. Participating on the panel alongside passionate and dedicated education advocates allowed me to be a part of a broader movement to improve our district and it assured me that we have two really great candidates to endorse in Miriam Stephanie Sequeira and Tom Panas.
We need responsible and passionate people leading our district to advocate for our kids and our schools. I’ve seen the many issues personally that cause harm in our district, including inequality, lack of resources, and not enough communication between families and administrators. We need to close the achievement gap, especially for the 71% of students in WCCUSD who are low-income, and I have faith that with Stephanie and Tom leading us in the right direction for our students, we can bridge these issues and strengthen our schools.
We need Miriam Stephanie Sequeira on the school board. In my role as a parent leader, I’ve seen firsthand the challenges that many families in our community face, from being socioeconomically disadvantaged, to facing a language barrier, to not knowing how to communicate with administrators, and I know that Stephanie has the insights to guide our school board in the right direction. She has a fresh perspective and she is knowledgeable about what low-income families face every day. Stephanie can speak to the experiences of many of our families because she’s out there working hard in our community to make a difference.
Tom Panas raised his twin boys in WCCUSD schools, strengthening his commitment to making sure our schools are working for all kids. Now that his sons are grown, Tom continues to fight for excellent education for all students. I’ve seen Tom deeply engaged on the issues that impact our students and our schools at school board meetings, and he has a history of helping local community organizations as a volunteer and leader. As a resident of more than 40 years in West County, there’s just no doubt that Tom understands our community and is prepared to take on a new role on the WCCUSD Board of Education.
Now is the time to make a difference for our district. This election, our kids are depending on us to vote for strong leaders that will continue strengthening our schools, and building opportunity for our kids. Our priority as parents invested in our kids’ education should be to ensure the district makes positive changes, and the school board is where this change starts. That’s why I’m supporting Stephanie and Tom, and I hope you will, too.
Alex is a parent leader at Ford Elementary, where his two children attend school, and he has led efforts to create parent networks across multiple school sites. He has lived in Richmond for 13 years. Learn more about the panel here, and find the community panel’s endorsement announcement here.