Consuelo Lara, School Board Candidate
on January 31, 2018
Consuelo Lara found structure and safety in attending school as a child. Then she became a teacher and taught for 38 years, much of the time in the West Contra Costa Unified School District. She is now running for a seat on the school board.
Lara, of San Pablo, seeks to encourage dual language literacy, job training programs for students and improve district reading levels. She also promotes applying a philosophy of “support, expand and duplicate” to successful school programs, so their success can spread through the district.
Lara, 69, was once quiet, shy and timid, she said. She was one of 11 children. Her father had an alcohol problem, and her mother raised their kids as a single parent.
Lara gained solace by attending school. A few times, she said, she felt like she’d become the teacher’s pet.
“Children of poverty have a lot of chaos in their life,” Lara said. “I just felt like teachers could sense it.”
The way those mentors responded made her feel special, important and smart, she said.
After studying under a radical teacher in the heat of the Civil Rights Movement, Lara felt inspired to teach. She taught at Richmond’s Helms Middle School during a period where she said its English Language Development department went from the worst in the district to the best. Lara also helped students start and run a future teachers’ club at Richmond High school.
“Personally, I love working with those individuals, those children, or those schools that have the most challenges to overcome,” Lara said. “Because I’ve seen it happen when they overcome those challenges. I’ve done it myself.”
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