Randy Enos, the son of a teacher, the father of a teacher, a 37-year-veteran of the classroom himself, is not much of what you’d call a politician. But the candidate for the West Contra Costa Unified School District board has retired from teaching, so maybe this is the next best thing.
“What else would I do?” he said.
Although politician is new, Enos has worn a variety of hats around the district: history teacher, department chair, academic coordinator, assistant principal, principal, even athletics coach.
On a recent Thursday, Enos met at a Richmond coffee shop Café Pascal, with his political brain trust, which consisted of the best man at his wedding, other buddies from the Kennedy High class of ’68, and his sister.
From the age of six months, Enos has been a Richmond resident, and never really left. He went to UC Berkeley and graduated with honors in 1973. He returned to Cal and got masters in educational leadership in 2002. As a lifelong resident, his kids went to WCCUSD schools.
Enos barely touched his coffee as he tried to decide the best place to meet new potential voters. “We could hit the BART in the morning,” he suggested to his sister.
Enos campaigns for more than just a title and something to do in retirement. After years of working one-on-one with students, “you are compelled to participate to try and improve possibilities of education,” he said.
Enos said his intimate knowledge of the WCCUSD places him a cut above the other candidates.
Many teachers who log hours in schools like Enos end up burning out. Not him. “The reason its always been easy for me to get up and go to work is that there a whole lot of really good young people that you want to share all this with,” he said.
Enos’ energy and enthusiasm carry over. At the coffee shop he spoke with his hands, gesticulating across the table to his friends as he talked about big ballot issues like school safety. Enos said he remembers when the schools went through hard times in the past, and that he sees issues surfacing now as an opportunity to better the district from the inside.
“No school is going to be safe unless the students are participating in their own safety, setting up communication,” he said. That extends, he said, to student-teacher communication.
As election day creeps closer, Enos said he’s eagerly awaiting his ballot arriving in the mail — but that he hopes his 10-year-old horse-sized great Dane-mastiff mix Sophie, isn’t scaring away the mailman.
“You know a dog is too big when they can look down on your dinner plate,” he joked.