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Tom Panas, one of the winning candidate for the West Contra Costa Unified School District Board of Education addresses his supporters at Noya Restaurant in San Pablo Tuesday night. Photo by Jeff Weisinger.

Phillips and Panas elected to school board

on November 9, 2016

Mister Phillips and Tom Panas will be the newest members of the West Contra Costa Unified School District Board of Education, according to unofficial results reported by the Contra Costa Elections Division. As of 12:30 a.m. on Nov. 9, with all 656 precincts reporting, Phillips had captured 22.3 percent of the vote and Panas 19.09 percent.

Panas and Phillips were selected from a pool of seven candidates for two seats on the board.

Don Gosney, Antonio Medrano, Miriam Stephanie Sequeira, Carlos Taboada and Ayana Young also ran for election.

Panas thanked his supporters at a campaign party held with fellow candidate Sequeira at Noya Lounge in San Pablo.

“I have an amazing band of supporters,” Panas said, from “all over this district.”

Panas said he was inspired to run for the school board when he realized the scope of the educational inequalities and performance gaps across the district.

As a 40-year district resident and a father of two WCCUSD graduates, he said, he relates to district parents.

“I understand the frustration a lot of people have,” said Panas.

Panas said that as a member of the board, he wants to work with WCCUSD Superintendent Matthew Duffy to fix the achievement gap and improve academic outcomes.

“Every kid who fails, it’s our failure, not the kid’s failure,” he said.

Phillips, a Richmond High School alum and current WCCUSD parent, also has a personal connection to the district.

Neither Phillips nor his campaign manager were available for comment on Tuesday night.

Although charter-linked organizations had spent roughly $249,000 as of Oct. 28 to support the Panas and Sequeira campaigns in this year’s race, that money did not translate into votes at the polls.

The Phillips campaign received around $40,000 in support—more than $100,000 less than both the Panas and Sequeira campaigns—yet he garnered the most votes in Tuesday’s election.

The Panas campaign received more than $215,000 in support, the most of any campaign in the school board race.


  1. Don Gosney on November 9, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    My congratulations to the victors. They are both good and decent people and our District will benefit from their service on the Board.

    • Melissa McMillion on November 14, 2016 at 8:00 pm

      Thank you for running for school board, Don, and thank you for your continuing support for WCCUSD students and families. My family is very grateful for all that the Ivy League Connection had done for our son and other ILC students.

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