Slouching towards Election Day — The WCCUSD School Board Part


There are 7 peo­ple run­ning for school board and 2 will be elected. My first choice, Tom Panas, is easy. My prob­lem is de­cid­ing on the sec­ond can­di­date.

  1. Miriam Stephanie Sequeira
  2. Mister Phillips
  3. Tom Panas
  4. Don Gosney
  5. Ayana K. Young
  6. Carlos Taboada
  7. Antonio Álavarez Medrano

The Easy Choice (for Me)

  1. Tom Panas

I’ve known Tom for a few years. I’ve served on the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee chaired by him for al­most a year. I’ve been im­pressed with his abil­ity to get things done while ac­com­mo­dat­ing the views of dif­fer­ent groups and in­di­vid­u­als on the com­mit­tee. I’ve also been im­pressed with his lead­er­ship in dif­fer­ent civic non-school projects. All of this ex­em­pli­fies a style of col­lab­o­ra­tive lead­er­ship that I think makes the most sense for a school board.

Tom’s pro­fes­sional back­ground is as a num­bers guy. He can fill a gap in the skillset of the cur­rent school board team by pro­vid­ing ex­per­tise as the board grap­ples with com­plex, large bond con­struc­tion and op­er­a­tional bud­gets. Tom has ac­tu­ally par­tic­i­pated in WCCUSD over­sight com­mit­tees for both bond con­struc­tion and op­er­a­tions.

As the par­ent of two spe­cial-needs chil­dren who went through WCCUSD he has had an in­ten­sive per­sonal ed­u­ca­tion in how the school sys­tem works. He can bring his ex­pe­ri­ence with one type of ed­u­ca­tional chal­lenge to the many other dif­fer­ing chal­lenges in the dis­trict with both em­pa­thy and un­der­stand­ing.

The Second Choice

I don’t have as strong a pref­er­ence for the sec­ond seat, so I will use the process of elim­i­na­tion.

Mister Phillips

He’s likely to win a seat, but it won’t be with my sin­gle puny vote. I sim­ply don’t sup­port politi­cians us­ing the school board as a step­ping stone to higher of­fice. Often they turn out to be rel­a­tively in­nocu­ous like Tony Thurmond, but we need five board mem­bers to­tally fo­cused on our dis­trict. Let some­one who will be fo­cused on our dis­trict have the seat.

Carlos Taboada

He’s a pro­gres­sive fire­brand who par­tic­u­larly rails against char­ters as part of some big­ger con­spir­acy. I feel that he would pri­mar­ily use the board as a soap box. I want a board fo­cused on solv­ing prob­lems within its scope.

Don Gosney

He’s ac­tu­ally a good pub­lic cit­i­zen in many ways and all-round good guy. The prob­lem with him as a board mem­ber is he’s too in­vested in the whole pre­vi­ous Ramsey ap­pa­ra­tus of a run­away bond pro­gram. An es­sen­tial part of the dis­trict mov­ing for­ward in this area is to build on the find­ings of the foren­sic au­dit to re­form the con­struc­tion pro­gram. Don re­pu­di­ates the foren­sic au­dit and would spend most of his time on the board un­der­min­ing re­form ef­forts based on the au­dit.

That Leaves Three

Now we’re down to three can­di­dates I’m warmer to­ward.

  1. Miriam Stephanie Sequeira
  2. Ayana K. Young
  3. Antonio Álavarez Medrano

While I think Stephanie and Ayana both show a lot of promise, there are still some rough edges, like Ayana’s sug­ges­tion about hir­ing more Christian teach­ers to reach out to African-American stu­dents. Antonio has been on the board be­fore, but that means he car­ries the bag­gage of as­so­ci­a­tion with the Ramsey regime. However, I felt he showed some signs of in­tegrity then, like re­sist­ing Ramsey and Harter from block­ing the county tax­pay­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion can­di­date for the bond over­sight com­mit­tee. I’m will­ing to give him an­other chance in a post-Ramsey era.

  1. Antonio Álavarez Medrano

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