Valerie in the News
A staunch advocate for kids, Valerie is frequently featured in the media for her respected expertise and education equity advocacy.
All three incumbents—board president Valerie Cuevas…—introduced themselves by reflecting, briefly or otherwise, on the accomplishments they helped achieve while on the board. Topics included a school staff pay raise, an ongoing policy to improve the school climate, and improvements to teacher retention.
“We’re going to continue to make sure the community has a say in this map,” Cuevas said.
“Cuevas… best choices in November for working families in West County,” said Peter Finn, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 856. “Their combined experience as educators and leaders, their understanding that a successful Board must work with and be supportive of the work of District employees – including classified staff – and their commitment to fearlessly advocating for what’s best for students make them an asset to the community.”
In a statement, Board President Val Cuevas called the partial settlement “a significant and important step in helping our board reflect the communities we serve, especially historically underserved communities disenfranchised by unequal access to the political process.”
Board President Valerie Cuevas said district leaders are allocating more discretionary money to schools, giving them greater spending autonomy. This means the board may cut some programs it has paid for districtwide – such as the Playworks recess program and Graduate Tutors – but individual sites could still fund them.
The board made these budget tradeoffs to prioritize “investment in people,” Cuevas said.
Cuevas said the programs are aimed at helping teachers feel welcome and connected to the district. In addition, she said the district is focusing more attention on “school culture and climate” to help build inviting environments for teachers that will encourage them to stay.
Board of Education President Valerie Cuevas called Duffy “a steadying influence” in his first two years.
“Under his leadership our district is focusing on the most effective strategies to support our students and school communities,” Cuevas said. “A key aspect of this work has been his collaborative partnership with this board.”
Driving this point home, board President Valerie Cuevas, a Richmond resident who is the first Latina president in the district’s history, spoke passionately about past statewide elections on Propositions 8 and 187, in which the majority voted to deny gays the right to marry and to deny undocumented immigrants the right to attend public schools. The courts eventually overturned voters’ decisions.
“It went to the voters,” Cuevas said, “but that vote infringed on the right of minorities.”
Board President Valerie Cuevas, elected in 2014, said Duffy inherited the district’s problems.
“We knew we had to have a clear leadership change,” she said, adding that Duffy’s actions so far have reflected the will of the board. “He wants to be here and he knew what the challenges were before he got here.”
Valerie Cuevas, es la primer persona de ascendencia latina en ser seleccionada por unanimidad, para la Presidenta de la Junta Escolar de West Contra Costa. Originalmente, elegida por los votantes en 2014, como la primera latina que logró ingresar exitosamente en la junta escolar, anteriormente también se desempeñó como Secretaria de la Junta Escolar de West Contra Costa. Ser la primera latina en mantener el liderazgo de la junta es importante, dado que uno de cada dos estudiantes en el distrito de tamaño medio del área de la Bahía, es latino.
“Como muchos otros, puedo recordar el cuidado incondicional de los maestros y los líderes escolares, que fueron tan transformadores en mi educación cuando crecía”, dijo Cuevas. “Tener estos modelos a seguir me ayudó a encaminarme hacia el colegio y el éxito eventual profesional”.
Valerie Cuevas is the first person of Latino ancestry to unanimously be selected West Contra Costa School Board President. Originally elected by the voters in 2014 as the first Latina to successfully make it onto the school board, she previously served as the West Contra Costa School Board Clerk as well. Being the first Latina to hold board leadership is important given that one out of every two students in the mid-sized Bay area district is Latino.
“Like many others, I am able to look back on the unconditional care of teachers and school leaders, who were so transformative in my education growing up,” said Cuevas. “Having these role models helped place me on a path towards college and eventual career success.”
Joining the march were a number of community leaders such as City of Richmond Crime Prevention Manager Michelle Milam, Richmond Police Activities League Executive Director Larry Lewis, Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, former Richmond City Councilmember Vinay Pimple, WCCUSD board member Val Cuevas and Contra Costa Board of Education member Fatima Alleyne.
“Separate is not equal. Schools should be safe, secure and peaceful places for all of our students to learn. These tenets are settled law. In Brown v. The Board of Education and Plyler v. Doe, the Supreme Court affirmed that discrimination of any kind in our schools is unconstitutional and that every student in every classroom in every corner of this nation is entitled to equal access to education.”