Dear West Contra Costa Community,
It is with great excitement that I introduce myself to you, and share that this week I return to the East Bay to continue my life’s work as a champion for education equity and excellence in our public schools.
I am pleased and proud to be joining the Chamberlin Family Foundation as Chief Executive Officer. I strongly believe in the foundation’s mission to support the people, policies, and practices that create and sustain high-quality West Contra Costa public schools.
I bring to West Contra Costa three decades of education leadership and a deep, personal connection to this work. As the former Superintendent of Santa Ana Unified School District as well as the Chief Business Official in three other large urban school districts, I’ve dedicated my professional life to educational equity and advancement for underserved students and communities. It is important to me that all students, especially those that have been historically underserved in our schools, can access high-impact learning opportunities and structured support that provides them a clear path to college and career success.
As an Oakland native, I know first-hand the importance of access to a high-quality school in every neighborhood. I attended public schools throughout my childhood, and my family sought enrollment at those schools that offered me the best chance to learn and succeed. I learned then, and I know now, that too often African American students, Latinx students, English learners, students with disabilities, and kids from low-income families face persistent challenges in accessing our best teachers and classrooms. I believe that together we can dismantle the inequities facing West Contra Costa students, and we must align as a community around this central commitment to our kids.
I will work to ensure that our foundation’s education investments hold true to these ambitious goals. Our strategies seek long-term, structural impact. As it has since 2006, our foundation will continue to support strong education leaders, research-based classroom practices, sound fiscal policy, and rich partnerships to strengthen all West Contra Costa public schools in the years ahead.
To the kids across this district striving to achieve: I see you, because I was you. I was an ambitious student in public school classrooms that didn’t always deliver the learning opportunities that matched my full potential. I see you, and I’m in this work because I believe in your potential, and in our public schools’ collective promise to you.
I look forward to getting to know you, as well as the leaders, teachers, parents and advocates across West Contra Costa. Collectively, I believe we can find common ground in our shared goal to make a difference for our students. It’s exciting to return home, and to continue my work to increase equity and excellence in our public school system.
Dr. Stefanie Phillips