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By Julian Peeples

Some people are just born to lead. This has to be why educators across the state are rising to serve their communities in the midst of multiple crises that threaten our collective health, safety and future prosperity. They’re campaigning for election like never before, finding new and creative ways to reach voters while maintaining safe social distancing and healthy practices.

We’re shining a light on some of these dedicated educators running for election during this chaotic time – leaders who are rising to defend our students and fight for the schools and community colleges they deserve. Here’s the next in this series: Demetrio Gonzalez-Hoy.

Demetrio Gonzalez-Hoy

Candidate for: West Contra Costa Unified School District Board of Education

Experience: Third grade bilingual educator for eight years; United Teachers of Richmond CTA/NEA president for four years.

Why: I am running because I care deeply about the students, staff and families of WCCUSD. I owe my success to public schools and the support of educators to get me through very difficult times as an immigrant student at 14 years old. I became an advocate because I know the challenges of being unsupported and navigating an educational system that sometimes pushes us to fail. I want to continue to close our achievement gap; provide the tools and resources our students need/deserve in order to succeed, especially our students of color; support our schools and educators and retain our teachers; and advocate for inclusive processes of feedback from all of our stakeholders in every decision we make.

Top issues: My top three priority issues are the recruitment and retention of quality educators; the prioritization of African American students and English learners; and ensuring we provide safe and inclusive opportunities for all students in our schools.

Distance campaigning: Campaigning during COVID-19 has definitely changed. Even though we’ve decided not to knock on doors, we’ve doubled our phone banking efforts, increased our social media posting, and included text banking to make sure we can get word out for our campaign. The use of social media has also strengthened and made easier the accessibility to host meetings and coffee chats, and provide space for educators, families and students to connect with me as a candidate and their union.

Choosing to lead now: I believe more than ever that we need board members who have experience in education, know what’s going on in our schools, understand the strengths and weaknesses of our system, and can advocate through their own knowledge of policy, budgeting and social justice issues. This is why I’m running — because even though I’m still learning and might need support in issues I don’t know much about, I will lead with integrity, honesty, positivity and the input of all stakeholders.

Website/social: demetriogonzalezhoy.com; Instagram: @Deme346; Facebook Page.