Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Community college Chancellor Fred Wood sets retirement date for next March

Friday, July 19th, 2019

Dr. Fred Wood

By Tim Leong, Director, Communications and Community Relations, CCCCD

Contra Costa Community College District (District) chancellor Fred Wood announced he plans to retire on March 31, 2020.  Since joining the District in 2017, Wood is credited with bringing stability to the District during a time of enrollment challenges and significant changes in the funding formula for California community colleges.

“After considerable and thoughtful deliberations, I have decided to retire after a

four-decade career in higher education due to increased personal obligations and because I firmly believe the District is ready for new leadership”, said Wood.  “Although there is never a perfect time for a leadership transition, the District is in a great place with a very strong financial position, stabilized enrollment, and doing a tremendous job of serving our students and community.”

The chancellor also cited other reasons the District is ready for new leadership by acknowledging the colleges are fully engaged and preparing for upcoming accreditation visits, the migration to a new format for district policies is underway, the capital construction bond program is moving along well, stronger relationships are being developed with educational and community partners, and the Governing Board has just approved a new District five-year strategic plan.

“We have been extremely fortunate to have Fred’s leadership over the past few years”, said Governing Board President Vicki Gordon.  “His honesty, integrity, thoughtful leadership, and passion for students were exactly what the District needed during this time.  We will miss his leadership and he will be a hard act to follow.”

The Governing Board will begin discussing how they will recruit the next chancellor at their upcoming meetings.  The plan is to complete the selection before Wood’s retirement to ensure a smooth transition.

Wood grew up in Martinez, attended Diablo Valley College as a first-generation college graduate, and credits the community college experience for transforming his life.  He is grateful for the opportunity to come “back home” and contribute to the District’s legacy of making a difference in the lives of its students.

“What I am most proud of during my tenure is the opportunity to join our Governing Board, faculty, staff, and community leaders in their work to support our students,” said Wood.  “They deserve the recognition for the success of our District and our three excellent colleges.”

The Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD) is one of the largest multi-college community college districts in California. The CCCCD serves a population of 1,019,640 people, and its boundaries encompass all but 48 of the 734-square-mile land area of Contra Costa County. The District is home to Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, as well as educational centers in Brentwood and San Ramon. The District headquarters is located in downtown Martinez.

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Get a free backpack full of school supplies during annual Stuff the Bus Aug. 3

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

First 200 students receive a Warriors Backpack from the Golden State Warriors!


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Antioch, Pittsburg residents earn degrees from WGU

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY (Grassroots Newswire) – The following East County residents have earned a degree from Western Governors University (WGU). The online, nonprofit university held its 70th (Orlando, Florida); 71st (Cincinnati, Ohio); and 72nd (Anaheim, California) commencement ceremonies this year to celebrate the graduation of more than 22,000 students from across the country.

*Jennifer Vega of Antioch has earned her Bachelor of Science, Nursing

*Angela Robertson of Pittsburg has earned her Bachelor of Science, Business Management

WGU has recognized 13,244 undergraduate and 8,930 graduate degree recipients, who have completed their degrees in the last six months. Their areas of study include business, K-12 education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing. The average time to graduation for those earning a bachelor’s degree was two years, four months, while the average time to degree for graduate programs was one year, seven months.

WGU pioneered competency-based education, which measures learning rather than time spent in class. Designed to meet the needs of working adults, students study and learn on their own schedules with individualized, one-to-one faculty support. They complete courses as soon as they demonstrate that they have mastered the subject matter; allowing them to move quickly through material they already know so they can allocate time for what they still need to learn. As a result, many WGU students are able to accelerate their studies, saving both time and money.

About WGU

Established in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors with a mission to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education, online, nonprofit WGU now serves more than 115,000 students nationwide and has more than 147,000 graduates in all 50 states. Driving innovation as the nation’s leading competency-based university, WGU has been recognized by the White House, state leaders, employers, and students as a model that works in postsecondary education. In just 22 years, the university has become a leading influence in changing the lives of individuals and families, and preparing the workforce needed in today’s rapidly evolving economy. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, and was featured on NPR, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in The New York Times. Learn more at

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Antioch School Board approves map for district elections in 2020, will have to be redrawn for 2022

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

Antioch Unified School District Board of Trustees District Elections Map. By Cooperative Strategies.

Three seats will be up for election in 2020, two in 2022; Rocha, Householder currently live in same district

By Allen Payton

At a special meeting on Monday, July 1, the Antioch School Board approved a map for their first ever district elections on a 4-0 vote. Trustee Crystal Sawyer-White was absent at the time of the vote. The new districts will take effect during the November 2020 election. AUSD Trustee Map 4B & Statistics

The entire meeting lasted a little more than four minutes, with no members of the public speaking. The board’s vote took place during the first two-and-a-half minutes of the meeting, and Sawyer-White arrived about three minutes late. (View the meeting, on the District’s YouTube Channel, here).

According to the staff report, Board members are currently elected in “at-large” elections, where each member is elected by voters throughout the District. At its May 23, 2018, meeting, the Board adopted a resolution No. 2017-18-28 indicating its intent to transition to “by-trustee-area” elections, in compliance with the state’s Voting Rights Act, and in response to a threatened lawsuit. The same attorney who threatened to sue the District, is the same one who threatened the City of Antioch, which also changed to district elections beginning in 2020.

In May, the district published four proposed trustee area maps on the District’s website for consideration by the Board and the community. Community meetings were held on May 28, 2019, and June 1, 2019. As a result, revised scenario maps 1A and 4A were created and posted. An additional map, scenario map 5, was submitted for consideration on June 6, 2019, and posted on June 7, 2019.

At the June 12, 2019, Board of Education meeting, Trustee Ellie Householder requested revisions to scenario map 4A. Scenario map 4B was then created and posted.

A hearing was held at the June 26, 2019, Board meeting and the Board members requested an additional hearing, which occurred Monday night.

The vote also means not all trustees will be up for election at the same time, but all five seats will be up for four-year terms. Three seats will be up in 2020, those of Board President Gary Hack, Vice President Diane Gibson-Gray and Sawyer-White. None of them live in the same district as another trustee. Hack lives in District 4, Gibson-Gray in District 1 and Sawyer-White in District 3.

For the two seats up for election in 2022, the other two trustees, Mary Rocha and Householder live in District 5. So, if both choose to run for reelection, they will either have to run against each other or one would have to move to the other district. None of the incumbents currently live in District 2, which is also up for election in 2022.

The districts are based on the 2010 Census and will have to be redrawn in 2021, prior to the 2022 election and be based on the District population determined by the 2020 Census. Rocha and Householder may end up not living in the same district. But, if they end up living in the district of another trustee who was elected in 2020, they would either have to move to the other district or not be able to run.

The five districts as currently drawn have population sizes ranging from 20,810 to 22,507, and each includes at least two elementary schools.

Filing for candidates in the November 2020 election opens next July.

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Cornerstone Christian High School celebrates Class of 2019 full of champions

Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

Cornerstone Christian School’s Class of 2019 graduates celebrate on Thurs., June 6, 2019. Photos by Denise Baquing.

Valedictorian Nia Russell speaks during the ceremony.

By Denise Baquing

Antioch’s Cornerstone Christian High School celebrated the graduation of their 10-member Class of 2019 at the Cornerstone Christian Center on Thursday evening, June 6, 2019. This was a special class, making history with an undefeated varsity football team, two-time Small School Bridge League champions in consecutive years for both boys and girls varsity basketball teams, and the boys varsity basketball team winning the North Coast Section State Division 6 championship. All in just the school’s 19th year.

Student speakers included Valedictorian Nia Russell and Salutatorian James Ebert. She plans to attend Grand Canyon University and major in communications, then join the Army Reserve, and he plans to attend Los Medanos College then transfer to a four-year university.

In a unique aspect of the commencement ceremony, each graduate offered a tribute to their parents.

Cornerstone’s Senior Pastor and School Superintendent Larry Navilhon then shared an acronym with the graduates.

Principal Logan Heyer offered his thoughts with the graduates.

“CHARGE: Calling – pursue God’s calling; Hope – receive the hope of God and give it away; Authentic – be real with yourself and God; Rejoice – a lot of negativity in the world. But, rejoice in the Lord, be grateful, be thankful; Giver – be a giver; and Eternal – let everything you do, decisions, goals, etc. have an eternal view.”

Principal Logan Heyer, and the church and school staff offered their encouragement to the graduates, in a message on the ceremony program.

“We are so proud of you. It has been a pleasure to teach you, to interact with you, and to watch you grow in God’s grace and wisdom. Each of you has big dreams for your future, and we know that you all have the ability and the skills to achieve those dreams. We also pray that you will be open to the working of the Holy Spirit in your lives. He will take some of you on much different courses than what you initially planned, but this will only serve to strengthen you and mature your faith. Throughout your journey, hold tight to Jesus’ hand and never let go.

You are an incredible group of young men and women. While we will greatly miss you, we also rejoice with you in the completion of one phase of your lives and start of new beginnings.”

With Christ’s abundant blessings, Cornerstone Christian Center and School Staff.

Salutatorian James Ebert speaks to his classmates.

Teachers and family members offered their reactions, following the ceremony.

“Our graduates got to be celebrated and were given a chance to express their appreciation for parents, staff and whole person education they received,” one person in attendance said. “My favorite part was when each student called up their parents and got to say what they meant to them.”

“The senior video was so emotional,” said one teacher. “It makes you realize what an impact we actually have on our students’ lives.”

“It was a wonderful celebration filled with laughter, tears and a lot of hugs,” another parent shared. “This made all the sacrifice worth it.”

“It’s the most intimate and unique graduation service I’ve ever been too,” shared another.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Antioch High celebrates large graduating class Friday night

Monday, June 10th, 2019

The Antioch High Class of 2019 graduates celebrate at Eells Stadium, Friday night, June 7, 2019. Photos by Jesus Cano.

By Jesus Cano

The Antioch High School Class of 2019 saw a strength in numbers at its commencement ceremony inside Eells Stadium. On Friday night, June 7, 400 students received diplomas recognizing the completion of their high school education. It is a huge increase from last year, with 100 more than the class of 2018 according to principal Louie Rocha. It is also the largest graduating class since 2008.

Student Body President Clarissa Wilson speaks to her fellow classmates.

From the beginning, this class had the feeling of something special Rocha shared. It began an era in which Antioch would see a vast growth in student enrollment.

“We’re seeing a spike in numbers enrolled and we’re going to see a spike in students graduating,” said Rocha. “This particular class has been highly academic and motivated. I’m very proud of them. They’re overachievers.”

While the class size is impressive, Rocha admires the way these students performed academically. With 33 percent of the Class of 2019 ending its tenure at Antioch with a 3.5 grade point average.

The event kicked off with associated student body president Clarissa Christian Wilson offering her welcome, recounting memories with her class.

Andrew Daniel Roldán was the valedictorian while Michael David Lewis was the salutatorian. In Lewis’ speech, he captivated the audience with his words of praise for everyone who overcame obstacles, especially those who dealt with them silently.

After the Class of 2019 received their diplomas, class president Andreyne Godinez gave her farewell to the class. During it, she displayed her bilingual skills by speaking in Spanish about all the children of undocumented immigrants, and giving her parents a huge shout-out.

“Many of these kids are the first ones to not only graduate from high school but to go on to college,” said Rocha. “It’s a testament to their dedication.”

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Deer Valley High Class of 2019 grads, families celebrate Friday morning

Saturday, June 8th, 2019

The Deer Valley High School Class of 2019 during the graduation ceremonies, Friday morning, June 6, 2019. Photos by Allen Payton

ASB President Natasha Cao speaks to her classmates.

By Allen Payton

The Class of 2019 graduates of Deer Valley High School, and their family and friends filled the school’s Wolverine Stadium on Friday morning, June 6 to celebrate the accomplishment of completing 13 years of their education. Teacher and cross country and track coach Mike Green served as Master of Ceremonies.

The Deer Valley High band, under the direction of Conductor Larry Widener, played Pomp and Circumstance, as the graduates, many arm-in-arm, filed into the stadium. Salutatorian Mayra Arellano led the Pledge of Allegiance and the seating of her fellow classmates.

Antioch School Board President Gary Hack was first to speak.

“You’ve made it this far. The key words are ‘this far’. Your journey is not done. It’s not finished,” he said. “Cherish your accomplishments. Enjoy this day.”

Student speakers included student body president Natasha Cao and Valedictorian Edwin Reyes-Barreras.

Valedictorian Edwin Reyes-Barreras offers his thoughts.

“Everyone said the next four years will fly by. I can say I didn’t believe them,” Cao said. “Yet we find ourselves here today and I’m proud of every single person who made it in spite of their setbacks.”

For the happiness and hardships we will face, I encourage you to embrace the change,” Whether good or bad we have been touched by Deer Valley one way or another. Be proud of your background and the person you will fight to become.”

“To love is to give. We are the only ones able to define success,” she concluded. “Whatever you do, do it with all your heart.”

Reyes-Barrares spoke next, saying, “My goal since I was in kindergarten was to be here on this stage as valedictorian. In my junior year I felt like giving up. But I’m glad I did not give up.”

“Keep going for it…and never give up,” he implored his classmates. “I want to congratulate the Class of 2019 for their hard work. Never lose sight of your goals.”

The Divine Voices, who sang the National Anthem, sang “A Blessing” and “For Good” from the musical Wicked under the direction of Choral Director Michelle Stark

The Divine Voices perform for the graduates.

Deer Valley principal, Dr. Bukky Oyebade speaks to her students for the final time.

Dr. Bukky Oyebade, principal of Deer Valley, proudly stated the school had made the 2018-19 California Honor Roll School. She then shared some encouraging thoughts with the graduates.

“Today is only one step toward a brighter future. Today we celebrate your hard work and tenacity,” Dr. Bukky said. “Think about why you were born. Who else can I bless? Don’t be afraid. Be somebody. Don’t waste your time. Be about your business. “

“Congratulations Class of 2019. You rock,” she concluded.

Antioch Superintendent Stephanie Anello accepted the school’s Class of 2019, having met all the requirements to graduate. Board President Hack, and Trustees Diane Gibson-Gray, Crystal Sawyer-White, Mary Rocha and Ellie Householder handed the graduates their diplomas.

The tassel ceremony was led by ASB President Cao, and the graduates cheered, with some throwing their caps into the air to end the morning’s ceremonies.

Students from the school’s DVTV livestreamed the ceremony on YouTube, including aerial footage using a drone flying overhead. It can be viewed, here beginning at about the 29-minute mark.

The Deer Valley High Class of 2019 graduates turn their tassels and celebrate.

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Dozier-Libbey Medical High graduates 135 Thursday night

Thursday, June 6th, 2019

The Dozier-Libbey Medical High School Class of 2019 turn their tassels to conclude the graduation ceremonies on Thurs., June 6, 2019. Photos by Allen Payton.

Valedictorian Seenam Shah speaks to her fellow classmates.

By Allen Payton

The Dozier-Libbey Medical High School Class of 2019, made up of 135 members, graduated during ceremonies Thursday night, June 6. The event was held in the outdoor amphitheater of Deer Valley High School and was presided over by Kasey Graham, Leadership Advisor & Activities Director who served as Master of Ceremonies.

Student body president Jenna Walker sang the National Anthem and salutatorian Aliha Mughal led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Antioch School Board President Gary Hack encouraged the graduates in his speech.

“Wherever you go, whatever you do, go and do it with all your heart,” he said.

Student speakers included the two valedictorians, Seenam Shah and Jewelina Culcasi, as well as Stephen Caufield, who won a writing competition to be a graduation speaker.

“Dozier-Libbey is literally a barn surrounded by cows,” Shah said to begin. “Every graduate here played a part in the story of the Dozier-Libbey Class of 2019. Everyone had a niche and filled it well.”

She then read a rhyming poem about their shared experience, mentioning various teachers and activities.

Dozier Libbey 2019 graduate Stephen Caufield speaks during the ceremonies.

“You were an amazing class to learn with,” Shah concluded.

“Graduates, we did it,” Caufield said. “Four years ago, we started with a team of 200 students and here we are with a class of 135.”

He mentioned “wearing scrubs every day and being asked what hospital we worked at when we were not at school.”

“Never forget yesterday but, live for today because you never know what tomorrow will bring,” Caufield encouraged his fellow graduates.

Principal Scott Bergerhouse, ending his final year at the school, as he’ll be working in the district office, proudly shared some statistics of the graduating class.

“Seventy students of these 135 have a GPA of 3.0 and above,” he said. “Forty carry a 3.5 and above and 21 carry a 3.8 and above.”

“You have worked so hard…you have toed the line every step of the way. You will be leaders of our future,” Bergerhouse told the graduates. “All of you have touched the lives of our teachers and myself.”

Principal Scott Bergerhouse addresses the graduates.

“You must always stay focused on your good character,” he continued. “Don’t lose touch with these memories. Remember the past but focus on your future. The faculty and staff are proud of you.”

“Pinpoint your passion and remember, no job is beneath you,” concluded Bergerhouse.

Antioch Superintendent Stephanie Anello accepted the school’s Class of 2019, having met all the requirements to graduate. Board President Hack, and Trustees Diane Gibson Gray and Mary Rocha handed the graduates their diplomas. Trustees Crystal Sawyer-White and Ellie Householder were not in attendance.

Following that, valedictorian Culcasi shared her thoughts with her classmates.

Valedictorian Jewelina Culcasi was the final speaker of the evening’s ceremonies.

“We have had a great ride together. We are done. We are so done. We survived and worked hard to get here,” she stated. “We can go out into the world prepared.”

“If you don’t strive for excellence you will never achieve it,” Culcasi said. “Work hard. You will find more satisfaction if you work for your accomplishments than if they are handed to you.

“Moving forwarded our mission should be serving others with the talents God has given you,” she shared.

“The greatest among you will be servants,” Culcasi said quoting Matthew 23:11 from the Bible. “We all have our place in our society.”

She then thanked her teachers and “our families for putting up with us, not just the last four years, but all of our lives.”

“I hope all ya’ll enjoy your summer,” Culcasi concluded. “I wish you well…And God bless the Class of 2019”

Mughal and Marty Jerin Guzman, Co-Class Presidents then led the Tassel Ceremony to end the evening’s events.

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