Candidate Profiles

Vanessa Calloway, School Board Candidate

Vanessa Calloway wants the state of California to change its laws and give power to school boards to decide if their districts need charter schools. There are currently 14 charter schools in the West Contra Costa County Unified School District, 11 of which are in Richmond. The decision to allow the charter schools to open in the district is currently made at state level by the California Department of Education. Calloway and critics of charter schools note that districts like…

Anthony Caro, School Board Candidate

Community organizer Anthony Caro wants the district to adopt a tough new requirement for students to graduate high school. They must have a letter of acceptance from a college or trade school, or have a job lined up. Otherwise, they must join the military. The West Contra Costa County Unified School District needs to model this graduation requirement, implemented in Chicago early this year, to help students transition into college or the workforce, Caro said. Caro, 21, a homeowner in…

Tiffany Grimsley, School Board Candidate

Tiffany Grimsley has been thinking about running for a West Contra Costa school board seat for about two years. She lives in Hercules now, but grew up in El Cerrito, graduating high school there. Two of her three children have attended West Contra Costa Unified School District schools—her middle child is a recent graduate of Hercules High School and her youngest is a sixth-grader at Hercules Middle School. For Grimsley, 49, education is important. She works for the Bay Area-based…

Patricio Dujan, School Board Candidate

When Patricio Dujan’s daughter arrived to her first day of fifth grade at Washington Elementary School in Richmond last August, the father of two was stunned to realize his eldest child would be starting the school year with a substitute teacher. “Not even a long-term substitute, just a substitute,” Dujan said. Dujan, 45, has worked in the education arena for more than 13 years, developing tools and materials to improve classroom success — first with the Scholastic Corporation and now…

Eleanor Thompson, City Council Candidate

Eleanor Thompson brings over 50 years of experience working for the city of Richmond to her campaign election to the Richmond City Council. Originally from Arizona, Thompson, 70, has lived in Richmond since 1967. She is the founder and executive director of Social Progress, Inc., a nonprofit organization where youth of the Iron Triangle neighborhood gather after school for tutoring and mentoring. Thompson began her career as a substitute teacher with the Contra Costa Unified School District. She also served…

Jim Rogers, City Council Candidate

Jim Rogers is one of several candidates running for Richmond City Council who has served previously. Before serving on the council from 2002 to 2014, he served as a Contra Costa County supervisor in the mid to late 90s. In 2014, Rogers helped negotiate a deal with Chevron that includes a program known as “the Richmond Promise,” through which Chevron will give a total of $35 million dollars in scholarships to every Richmond and North Richmond high school senior who…

Dave Schoenthal, City Council Candidate

On a night where every speaker had just 7 minutes to present themselves to the audience, Dave Schoenthal did something different. While other city council candidates rushed through their time, he turned the attention to the audience and began asking them what they think Richmond needs. “This is about them,” he said in an interview. “This is about the people in the audience out there. What do they want to have done?” Schoenthal carries himself with a contagious, easy-going attitude….

Diego Garcia, City Council Candidate

Diego Garcia’s slicked back hair and tattoos help give away the fact that his background is different than a typical political candidate’s. The 40-year Richmond resident first joined a neighborhood gang when he was just 9 years old. At 17, he was shot and nearly died. Garcia explains that according to the statistics, he shouldn’t have survived long enough to be in the position he is today.    “A Latino who came from the streets and was a gang banger,…

Vinay Pimple, City Council Candidate

Vinay Pimple was born in Mumbai, India, but moved to New Jersey in 1993 to pursue a PhD in English Literature with a focus on women’s studies at Rutgers. He moved to Richmond in 2010. Pimple, 50, was appointed to Richmond City Council in 2015, soon after receiving his U.S. citizenship, to fill a vacancy made when Tom Butt was elected mayor. He wasn’t re-elected for the spot during the 2016 election, but says on his campaign website that his…