About Us - Organizing for Action

We are college students who grew up in Richmond and attended schools in the West Contra Costa Unified School District.

Experiencing schools in the district first-hand made us realize how poorly supported our education was. Through SFER Action Network, we were given the opportunity and resources to organize our community by informing them on how we can make a change in the education system. We need a change that is going to ensure that all of our students are reading at grade level, and that every single student is able to get the best education possible, one that will prepare them for the world and set them on a path to success. We are working diligently to ensure the future generation classrooms have teachers who care deeply for them and expect the best out of a student. Given that our district is ranked as the lowest performing district in the state, it is imperative things change, and we hope to be the catalysts of this needed overhaul. We ask that you take action and join our movement because it is going to take more than ten of us to change the system.

Signed, the dedicated Richmond fellows: Anahi Hernandez, Ana Castrellon, Enedina Mendoza, Enrique Cornejo, Erika Lara, Raquel Antonlin, Mayra Corral, Rodrigo Corona Flores, Janet Rodriguez and Lochlein Sekona

Fellow Gallery

Lochlein Sekona

University of San Francisco, Class of 2017

St. Mary’s College High School

“This school board election, we’re spending the summer building community power to hold school board members accountable for serving us better.”

Rodrigo Corona Flores

UC Berkeley, Class of 2017

Richmond High School

Don't be fooled by his soft spoken words, this guy will push you to perform onto another level. Although he is a boxer on the streets, he will also kick butt by mentally challenging you.

Mayra Corral

UC Santa Cruz, Class of 2017

Richmond High School

During tensions and times of stress, Mayra knows how to keep the group composed and always tries to promote a fun working environment. Her compassion and friendly personality is what keeps our fellows focused.

Enrique Cornejo

UC Irvine, Class of 2016

Richmond High School

“With three seats up, we hope to change the dynamics of the school board and encourage positive discourse in meetings. We need school board members with passion and enough knowledge to change the state of the schools we went to.”

Ana Castrellon

Sacramento State, Class of 2017

Richmond High School

“Our team of students is making history this summer in our district. A group of college students has never stood up for positive change in our schools before us.”

Anahi Hernandez

University of Nevada Reno, Class of 2016

St. Mary's College High School

Our go-to-gal for our posters! Her neat personality is portrayed beautifully within her poster projects. Thanks to her our office looks lovely, like her.

Enedina Mendoza

Whittier College, Class of 2014

Leadership Public Schools

It seems like she’s friends with everyone in Richmond, and more, but who is ignorant enough to deny her friendship. Her personality positively, attracts people a mile away!

Erika Lara

UC Santa Cruz, Class of 2017

Leadership Public Schools

“We need better school board representatives who are going to advocate to put our children first. Liz Block and Valerie Cuevas value students like me and have the determination to make change in our system.”

Raquel Antolin

Sacramento State, Class of 2014

Holy Name High School

Spunk has never been expressed so vividly before we met this girl. One of our newest members, but when she engages in group conversations it seems like she’s been on the team from the very start.

China Rodriguez

Paul Mitchell, Class of 2015

Leadership Public Schools

The newest member of our team. She is also the baby of the team. We are sure whatever road you choose to take you will excel wonderfully. Watch out Anahi, you have artistic competition!

Candidates We Endorsed

In 2014, we organized to elect 2 new board members to the West Contra Costa School Board. In 2015, we are organizing to register new voters and engage them in creating systemic change throughout West Contra Costa.

Valerie Cuevas

Valerie Cuevas

Interim Executive Director, Education Trust — West

Valerie has deep background in government affairs, non-profit management, and education administration at the national, state and local levels. With an expertise in education equity, state legislative policy and K-12 governance, she is a former director with the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO)—where she worked with hundreds of elected officials across the country. She previously served as an aide to the chair of the California Assembly Committee on Higher Education, and as chief of staff to a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education.

Liz Block

Liz Block

Educational Psychologist and former Principal

Liz is a Licensed Educational Psychologist with over thirty years experience working in Bay Area school districts. She has worked extensively with children who have learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, developmental delays, school phobia, social difficulties, and autism spectrum disorders. In addition to her work as a psychologist, she has worked as an Elementary School Principal and Special Education administrator. This experience has broadened her understanding of services available to students and taught her the best ways to access services in the classroom and across the school setting.

Our Endorsement Process

Candidate Interviews

We invited all of the West Contra Costa Unified School Board candidates to participate in an interview event with members of the community. Six candidates confirmed and completed questionnaires that engaged them on questions about their experience working in education and their opinions on school leadership, governance, school policies, the achievement gap, and how they would be an asset to the Board.

We invited a diverse group of 40 members from all five cities served by WCCUSD to be present at the candidate interviews. The audience was comprised of parents, teachers, formal and informal community leaders, CBO representatives, foundation representatives, Richmond teacher's union leadership and representatives, representatives of the charter school community, faith leaders, and elected officials. Following the event, we surveyed community members, asking them to evaluate the candidates based on their interviews. We took this feedback into consideration and deliberated for a week before selecting our two candidates for endorsement. The candidates were selected based on feedback we received from attendees and based on our own democratically-developed criteria of values-alignment and "deal breakers" that we created based on our own experiences in Richmond public schools and the systemic change we need to see.