Elected in November 2014, Valerie Cuevas is the first Latina publicly elected to the West Contra Costa Unified School District Board of Education. In 2017, she was unanimously selected as President of the Board marking the first time a Latina/o has held the position. West Contra Costa Unified has 54 schools serving approximately 30,000 children seventy-five percent of whom are English learners, low-income or foster youth students.
Upon becoming WCCUSD Board President, she stated:
“We face a broad range of issues that we all need to work on together, from providing our students the highest quality instruction to retaining our hardworking teachers and site staff to developing positive school cultures for all students and families in the district,” Cuevas said. “I am a firm believer in active listening and I am excited to work over the next year as Board President with equally committed Board colleagues, our superintendent, our school leaders, educators, students and families on those issues,” Cuevas concluded. “While I am honored to be WCCUSD’s first Latina or LGBTQ Board President, I am most proud of being an inclusive, solutions-driven leader for all.”
Valerie asks for your vote to ensure we keep investing in what matters most-- OUR PEOPLE, from our students to our district employees to our local communities. Over the past 4 years, Valerie has championed increased ACADEMIC SUPPORTS for students, delivered MORE FUNDS to our local schools, created COMPETITIVE SALARIES for hardworking teachers and staff, passed a comprehensive POSITIVE SCHOOL CLIMATE policy, and improved ACCOUNTABILITY of the school bond/construction program.
Valerie is a genuine leader and in February 2018, Michael Peritz, a retired WCCUSD educator with Standard Secondary, Vocational, and Special Ed Credentials; father, grandfather, and uncle of successful WCCUSD students; and Richmond and West County Unified School District advocate since 1966 wrote this about her:
”...We have had four years to watch her in action and see her evolve. For 2018, I and many of my community colleagues encourage her to run for re-election; I will support her candidacy and ask others to join me in voting for her. In the style of David Letterman I offer:
Ten reasons to vote for Val Cuevas
She is a genuine good listener.
She is proactive.
She supports her opinions with facts and logic.
She is a strong leader.
She understands how to use the Brown Act to promote communication.
She runs efficient meetings.
She is open-minded.
She is empathetic and compassionate.
She is the model of civility.
She has earned her position helping the students and families of West County who continue to need her.”
A third-generation Californian, Valerie Cuevas is the oldest of six kids raised in a hardworking union family. She grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood just like the Richmond community she calls home. From early learning in Head Start — the federally funded program for low-income preschoolers — to testing into the state’s Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program, Valerie is a proud product of California’s public education system. Currently leading education grantmaking strategy for a local Community Foundation, Valerie formerly served as interim executive director of The Education Trust—West where she focused on public policy advocacy and program work that improved educational outcomes for all students pre-K through college.
Great expectations and a strong determination to succeed paved a solid pathway for Valerie. She became the first in her immediate family to graduate from college. With an expertise in educational equity, state legislative policy and K-12 governance, Valerie is a well-known leader and advocate. She brought additional education dollars to West Contra Costa Unified by leading state advocacy for the successful passage of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) in 2013, the most significant change in education funding for K-12 schools in four decades.
The California Department of Education states:
“The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) is hallmark legislation that fundamentally changed how all local educational agencies (LEAs) in the state are funded, how they are measured for results, and the services and supports they receive to allow all students to succeed to their greatest potential.”
A staunch advocate for kids, she is frequently featured in the media for her respected expertise and advocacy. As an education practitioner, Valerie held student affairs positions at various 2- and 4-year colleges and universities across the state where she was a member of the California State University Employees Union (CSUEU). She holds dual bachelor’s degrees from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in Educational Psychology, Administration and Counseling from California State University, Long Beach.