The Council of Business & Industries welcomes our newest Associate Member BAY CROSSINGS. Since 2000, Bay Crossings Magazine has embodied the newly developing trend “Waterfront Hip” by delivering timely, relevant news to the waterfront community. Packed with regional news, reference material and local lore, Bay Crossings Magazine is sought after by locals and tourists alike for advice on worthy spots to spend their time and money. A privately owned company, their editorial goal is to advocate a comprehensive regional ferry service specifically and celebrate waterfront life, work and play generally. In addition, Proprietor Bobby Winston has been developing warehouse space with the Port of Richmond in Pt. Molate area and Terminal 4. Welcome!
We are proud to welcome NAACP, Richmond Branch as one of our partner organizations. The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination. The Richmond, California Branch was chartered in 1944. Since that time, it has been led by those committed and dedicated volunteer souls, who many times sacrificed much, for us to be brought thus far along the way. The way, many times, has been clogged with injustices in politics, education, social services, and economic inequalities. However, as the above objectives states, we will continue to lead the charge against such injustices against people of color wherever it may occur in our City of Pride and Purpose.
WCCUSD selects Dr. Kenneth Chris Hurst, Sr. as new superintendent
The West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) has a new superintendent. At its Wed., April 14 meeting, the Board of Trustees voted 5-0 to name Dr. Kenneth “Chris” Hurst, Sr. as the district’s next superintendent. Dr. Hurst, who will leave his role as superintendent of the Othello School District in Othello, Wash. to lead the WCCUSD, will commence his three-year contract May 17.
In his new role, Dr. Hurst will bear the distinction of the being the WCCUSD’s first permanent African American superintendent. (Per the district, Sylvester Greenwood and Dr. Cynthia LeBlanc both served as interim superintendents for one-year terms). He will be the district’s 10th permanent superintendent.
“I am excited to get to work in West Contra Costa Unified and about working together to provide a world-class educational experience for students that prepares them to be globally competent and allows them to compete and participate in our diverse and global society,” said Dr. Hurst. “I have an unwavering commitment and dedication to supporting a culture of inclusion and equity throughout the district and community, and what excites me is that we have a board and learning community interested in educational equity for all students.”
Dr. Hurst’s selection as WCCUSD superintendent followed a six-month search spurred by current Superintendent Matthew Duffy’s announcement in November that he would not seek a contract extension. During the search, the district hosted more than 50 listening sessions with students, families, staff and local stakeholders, as well as gathered input from 6,000 community members regarding what qualities and qualification they would like to see in the next superintendent. Nearly 30 people throughout the country applied for the role.
During Dr. Hurst’s five-year tenure with the 4,500-student Othello School District, located three hours southeast of Seattle, graduation rates increased by from 71 to 87 percent and absences were reduced by 33 percent. As superintendent of that district, he also implemented the K-12 pathway, Othello’s Social-Emotional Learning Standards, tripled the number of preschool children and increased the percentage of preschool students prepared for kindergarten from 30 percent to more than 98 percent.
The Othello School District that Dr. Hurst oversaw is 91 percent Latinx and 32 percent English Language Learners, with 75 percent participating in free and reduced-price lunch. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, he led them through the transition to Distance Learning, and eventually to a hybrid model this year.
Prior to heading up the Othello School District, Dr. Hurst served as the associate superintendent of educational services at Oceanside Unified School District, a 19,000-student district a half hour northwest of San Diego. There, he supervised the Oceanside Promise’s implementation to ensure all Oceanside students graduated college-and-career-ready and established the Oceanside Promise Foundation, a 501(c)(3). Collaborating with ConnectEd California, he implemented Linked Learning to create K-12 pathways to prepare students to succeed in college and their careers. He also collaborated to implement the Future Ready technology initiative, aimed at preparing students for success in college, career and citizenship.
“As the incoming superintendent, I am eager to work within our learning community to confront and address issues of systemic racism, implicit bias and ensuring growth mindset at every level of the organization,” Dr. Hurst said. “I’m equally excited about deepening our understanding of equity and systemic inequities and also moving toward what it should look like, feel like and sound like to have an equitable and culturally responsive education for all students.”
Overall, Dr. Hurst has more than two decades of experience teaching and leading equity in urban, suburban and rural K-12 districts. This includes six years as a principal and assistant principal in Oceanside, as well as the turnaround principal for Jefferson Middle and Oceanside High schools. Notably, Dr. Hurst led double-digit growth in Oceanside High School’s academic performance.
Earlier in his career, Dr. Hurst served as an administrator in the San Diego Unified and Poway Unified School Districts, in addition to serving as a U.S. Marine prior to entering academics. He earned his Doctorate in Education, K-12 Leadership (Magna Cum Laude), at the University of Southern California in 2011, and his Master of Arts Degree in Educational Administration (Magna Cum Laude) in 2008, and his Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics in 1997 at California State University, San Marcos. He also holds an Associate of Arts Degree from National University, San Diego.
Dr. Hurst and his wife, Crystal, are the parents of two adult children, a daughter who works as a sixth-grade teacher and a son who is a computer scientist.
“We are thrilled with Dr. Hurst’s background, experience and readiness to hit the ground running here in our district and help us to the next level,” said WCCUSD Board President Mister Phillips. “His acumen in social justice, equity and focus on accelerating student achievement here is impressive. His approach to collaborative leadership and knowledge of teaching strategies, as well as community involvement, are just what we need here in West Contra Costa.”
Council of Business & Industries Members and Community Leaders –
I was pleased to see over 50 of you join us for yesterday’s General Plan Update webinar that the COI co-hosted with the Industrial Association of Contra Costa County (IACCC) and WSPA. Attached is the PowerPoint presentation that Will Nelson walked us through during the meeting.
We will continue to participate in the General Plan Update process, and work with the IACCC, WSPA and East Bay Leadership Council to ensure ensure that the business/industrial sector’s voice is heard. We will keep you updated as the Plan moves towards completion and approval by the Board of Supervisors, which is expected to be at the end of 2022.
Council of Business & Industries
2020 proved to be an overall challenging year filled with loss of many of our friends and peers. Our Office Manager and my good friend Anne Graff passed away in May. Just before his retirement began, we lost the City of Richmond Port Director, Jim Matzorkis who’s support of our port businesses was great and instrumental in bringing in new port businesses. Before the year end, we were notified of the loss of PGE Government Relations guru Tom Guarino. It goes without saying that these individuals’ contributions and friendships will be missed. May their families find solace in knowing the impact that they had on so many individuals.
The COVID19 impact goes without saying – we saw the economic impact on our local and regional businesses and with our own organization. The COI had to cancel all in person meetings including our annual Shoreline and Bay Yacht Tour. We hope that 2021 we can again look forward to this event. With the additional PPP loans coming out we hope that this will allow local businesses to remain open.
This year also brought a change to the City of Richmond’s election process as we moved to district elections, the outcome of which was the election of incumbent councilmember Melvin Willis, former councilmember and Mayor Gayle Mclaughlin and new comer Claudia Jimenez. We are looking forward to building a relationship with the old and new members of the council.
A great deal of time last year was focused on bringing city staff and businesses together to discuss a change to the business license tax which moved from one based on number of employees to gross receipts. The input from the businesses enlightened the council to the financial burden this tax will have on the medium sized businesses already impacted by the COVID19 pandemic. We will continue to meet with city staff and work on a more equitable tax for the business community which will provide needed funding for city services. More to come on this.
AB617 Air Monitoring Committee under the auspices of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District completed establishing the air monitoring sites in Richmond and San Pablo. COI member businesses and community leaders participated on the committee for over one year. The next step is to establish a committee to focus on air emissions reductions. We will keep you all posted on that.
Finally, of note was the revamp of the Council of Business and Industries’ website – PLEASE NOTE, OUR WEBSITE HAS CHANGED TO: