Candidate Profiles

Running to ensure equitable access to education

Y’Anad Burrell has a mission: Improve education and opportunities for people of color in Richmond. That’s why she is hoping to serve as an area four board member for the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD). “All I’ve been hearing over 10, 15 years is that the West Contra Costa Unified School District continues to be low in achievement,” said Burrell, the CEO and founder of Glass House Communications. “[The district] continues to have challenges in getting Black and brown students…

Watch our Coffee With A Candidate video profiles: Wicks and Beckles fight for Assembly District 15

Democrats Buffy Wicks and Jovanka Beckles are running a tight race to represent California’s Assembly District 15, which includes Richmond, Berkeley and North Oakland. While Wicks won the majority of votes in the June primary, and Beckles barely squeaked by, the two are now neck and neck a week ahead of election day. Buffy Wicks, a former Obama staffer, touts her connections to high-level politicians like Gavin Newsom and Kamala Harris and her multi-decade organizing experience. Jovanka Beckles, a Richmond…

Stephanie Hernández-Jarvis, School Board Candidate

Stephanie Hernández-Jarvis, a teacher in the West Contra Costa Unified School District, is running for the school board on a platform of improving teacher retention, the school climate and student academic and learning outcomes. Hernández-Jarvis, 27, once an undocumented immigrant, also considers herself a strong advocate for immigrant rights. “It’s not about security for me; it’s about using the privilege I’ve gained,” Hernández-Jarvis said. “That’s why I’m doing this.” Hernández-Jarvis, a resident of Pinole, launched her teaching career in West…

Valerie Cuevas, School Board Candidate

Valerie Cuevas comes from humble beginnings. As a child of a working-class family, beset by problems that put her at risk of academic failure, Cuevas attached to her family’s belief in the transformative power of education. “My family believed in the innate ability and potential of all the kids to succeed, and to succeed at high levels,” Cuevas said, and education, “was a transformational experience that would allow me to transcend those conditions.” Now, as president of the West Contra…

Elizabeth Block, School Board Candidate

Elizabeth Block has served as public education principal, school psychologist and special education administrator over the course of a 35-year career. She’s currently an incumbent member of the West Contra Costa Unified School Board, running for a second term. “I consider myself to be the candidate with experience that matters because I’ve had experience at all levels in the education system,” Block said. Block, 65, a resident of El Cerrito, led a forensic audit of the district’s criticized construction program…

Consuelo Lara, School Board Candidate

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,…