In Their Own Words: School Board Candidates

If you're still pondering who should get your vote for West Contra Costa Unified School District school board, here are statements from the candidates plus a link to videos of their answers to questions at a candidates forum in El Cerrito.

Below are statements from each of the four candidates running for the two open school board seats for the West Contra Costa Unified School District.

They were prepared for the Sept. 24 candidates forum at Harding Elementary School in El Cerrito and were posted on the Kensington Hilltop Elementary School website.

You can also find videos of the candidates' answers to questions at the Sept. 24 forum on YouTube. They were uploaded by the Bayside Council PTAs.

Randall Enos

I have spent more than 35 years working for the children of our community. I have seen first-hand that our students can perform at a high level when the schools they attend are safe, well led, and supported by the best staff and teachers.

This is why I am a candidate for a position on the School Board of the West Contra Costa Unified School District.

I attended our local schools, as have my son and daughter. I graduated from Kennedy High School in 1968, Contra Costa College in 1971, U.C. Berkeley in 1973, and earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from U.C. Berkeley in 2002. During my career I served as a Government Teacher, Coach, Department Chair Person, Curriculum Instructor, Academic Coordinator, Assistant Principal, and Principal in the W.C.C.U.S.D.

Every student can reach success, but theirs is not an individual endeavor. It is a partnership that must be supported by every parent, staff, and community member that has the opportunity to assist our local children.
Our students deserve a community that is working for them. I would like the opportunity to continue that effort. I appreciate your vote this November.

Todd Groves

For the past 16 years, I’ve worked as a volunteer and advocate to improve learning for all WCCUSD students. By leading collaborative problem-solving efforts, I achieved some successes:

ϑ When parents, teachers and administrators expressed concern about student writing skills, I brought the Writer Coach Connection to WCCUSD. Today, around 200 well-trained volunteers are supporting student learning at ECHS, RHS and Portola Middle School.

  • When students needed more access to math enrichment, I started the Portola Math Club, currently providing dozens of middle school students with highly engaging math activities.
  • When district math policy hampered student achievement, I organized teachers and parents to push a reconsideration of policy to better fit student need.
  • When the district policy imposed big fees on volunteers, I advocated changes reduced barriers to service while keeping students safe.

If elected, I will bring this solution-oriented approach to district issues. For WCCUSD to fulfill its obligation to every student, we must address the following:

  • Establish clear, consistent, high expectations for learning and behavior.
  • Move away from a one-size-fits-all curriculum to more personalized learning for all students
  • Prioritize improved results at middle school
  • Provide schools more autonomy to innovate curriculum and instruction
  • Assure WCCUSD is responsive to our many communities’ needs and expectations.

Antonio Medrano

I am Antonio Medrano, incumbent for the school board election this coming Nov. I am a retired community college and high school teacher. I retired from San Francisco Unified in 1997. I have lived in San Pablo for over 30 years. I wish to continue the progressive road that the board has taken for the last 4 years. We have paid off the state loan after paying for 20 years and no longer have a state appointed trustee overseeing our budget decisions. We are engaged in a vigorous building program for our district, with the passage of the bond measure this Nov. we will be able to rebuild all the schools in our district. Our attendance has improved in all of our schools, our Middle College High School has received national attention and has received national awards, our Ivy League Connection continues to grow, (over 40 students attended Ivy League schools last summer), our academies in our high schools are keeping our students in school, our suspensions have dropped because attention has been given to these students on campus, our campuses are safe, our parents are involved.  Every year our “Parents as Partners” conference has grown and we may need to seek out a different site.  We now average over 600 parents who attend our Parents as Partners conference, the next one is on Oct. 20th at de Jean Middle.

We are one of 9 school districts who have received funding for our academies from the Irvine Foundation and Richmond High School and others now have wall to wall academies.

I serve as the chair of the Facilities sub committee, treasurer of the Contra Costa School Board Association, Clerk of the Board, chair of the special committee on high schools, co-chair of the Concilio Latino, Social Justice committee of GRIP and I am endorsed by Tony Thurmond, George Miller, Nancy Skinner, Loni Hancock, Democratic Party of Contra Costa County, Local 1, Richmond Progressive Alliance, Leonard McNeil, Genoveva Calloway, Cecilia Valdez, Mayor of Hercules, Ivette Ricco, John Gioia, and many others. I ask for your support to continue to be fiscally responsible and serve the many needs of our students. Thank you.

Robert Studdiford

Hello Everyone, I am a parent leader. I have been the president of the Castro Elementary PTA, El Cerrito PTSA and the Bayside Council PTA which represents all of the PTA’s in the WCCUSD and the John Swett school districts.

I was honored with the Distinguished Citizen of the Year award in 2011 by the Ed Fund for my volunteer service to the district.

I am a citizen leader. I have served seven years on the district’s Citizen’s Budget Advisory Committee and am currently serving as the Vice Chairman of the committee. I am the ranking member of the district’s Citizen Bond Oversight Committee having served eight years and as Chairman for the last two years.

I am a business leader. I am president of a company I started 19 years ago that manufactures and sells bicycle related products world-wide from five patents that we have received. Recently we were able to bring the manufacturing of one of our top selling items from overseas production in China back to Chicago Illinois. Everything we now make can be made in the USA.

If elected I will work tirelessly to increase academic rigor and make sure every class room has a great teacher.


The next school board candidates forum is scheduled for Tuesday, October 16, 2012, 6:30-8 p.m., at the Murphy Elementary School Multi-purpose Room, 4350 Valley View Road in Richmond.

The election will be held Nov. 6.

Mike C October 15, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Thanks Patch, the candidate statements--and especially the videos--are very helpful for getting to know the school board candidates. Can Patch also offer El Cerrito City Council candidates an opportunity to present their priorities and commitments? I know that all three are running unopposed, but the City Council decided to hold this otherwise unnecessary election explicitly so that the community could get to know the candidates and discuss issues.
Charles Burress October 16, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Mike, that's a good suggestion. The candidate statements from the school board forum were invited by the forum organizers, I believe. I'm not aware that any similar request has been made to the city council candidates, but it's something Patch can consider.


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