Meet Stephisha Ycoy-Walton, running for Alameda County Board of Education, Area 2
The 2nd Area covers Alameda, a small northeast portion of San Leandro north of Dutton Avenue. Northwestern portion of Oakland, including West Oakland, Uptown and a portion of Jack London Square, with the area going down to the southern boundary, following International Boulevard, then going east to encompass the rest of Oakland below Area 3.
Stephisha believes that the Alameda County Board of Education is important because it works in partnership with several other major school districts— including Oakland Unified School District. She says that this district is one that is truly in need of support, oversight and accountability. If elected to this position, Stephisha would be responsible for budget oversight and ensuring that all students have safe classrooms and proper learning environments. She would also make sure that there is proper policy implementation and would have a say in selecting the next superintendent. This position is important to Stephisha because she believes that every public school student in Alameda County deserves a high-quality education in which they feel supported and taken care of.
For Stephisha, the road to becoming a candidate began when she had her son 9 years ago. She spent years becoming heavily involved in his academics from the very beginning and has gained insight into the academic world that students in her son’s district face today. This past year, she learned that there was around $28M in funding being held up just at her son’s school alone. This is what sparked Stephisha’s involvement in the fight for these funds to be properly used to benefit the students. She even leads a team of parents who all have the same mission to make sure that their children are receiving the best education possible. They are the Education for Change (EFC) Parent Leadership Team.
Stephisha believes that some of the people in positions of power within this district forget that the children are the ones they are supposed to be representing. She calls this a “student-centered approach”. Her goal is to become a Trustee for Alameda County and a representative specifically for the black and brown students of East Oakland. Becoming an advocate and bringing new resources, tools, and an equitable education to these children is her main ambition. We learned that this district is composed of 70+% black and brown students who Stephisha says are the ones who typically miss out the most on resources and help. Less than 15% of Black and Brown students are meeting the literacy goals outlined and established for their grade level. Using her knowledge as a financial advisor, she plans to take a critical look at the budget for Alameda County schools and to structure the budgets so that the present and future students can reach their full potential.
Imagine a phenomenally bright future for the students of color who are traditionally marginalized and forgotten about. That’s the future that Stephisha painted for us when we asked what success would look like to her. As an African American woman, Stephisha feels a close connection to these students and wants to give them the same education that students get at private schools in surrounding areas. Her aim is for the school’s funds to be used to fix infrastructure, improve school security measures, and to increase attendance rates. She says that there should be no reason that special budget funds should be pulled out for safety measures like gates and cameras when there is an available budget from the state in most cases (like in the case of Cox Academy and their approved Prop 51 funds). Stephisha wants to see the literacy rates for these students skyrocket and for them to be able to create the type of future that they want for themselves.
Stephisha wants people to know that Alameda County is made up of people from all different walks of life. She says that typically the people in this county are often forgotten about— but she knows that this can be changed with a combination of the right resources, community members, professionals, and most importantly— the right leaders. She knows what her community members are capable of and is ready to stand alongside them as they achieve this.
Stephisha has a Belgian Malinois named Harlee who is only seven months old! Her and her wife both ride Harley Davidsons which inspired the name for their new family member. In her free time, Stephisha performs spoken word poetry! She and her wife even used to run an open mic for creative minds in Los Angeles. She also loves to wrap crystals which help her connect to the calming, centering energy of the earth. Lastly, Stephisha is a licensed Investment, Insurance & Mortgage Broker of 10 years who recruits, trains and licenses any individual over the age of 18, with a clean criminal background and the determination to become a licensed financial professional!
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