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June 7, 2016 — California Primary Election
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Alameda County Board of EducationCandidate for Member, Trustee Area 3

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Ken Berrick

30,157 votes (66.69%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Bringing mental health, special education, and support services to students at the earliest possible intervention point.
  • Supporting the superintendent in her efforts to create extraordinary court and community schools.
  • Supporting the creation of creative alternative education opportunities for all students.



Profession: Founder, CEO Seneca family of agencies, a children's nonprofit organization in education and mental health services.
Founder and CEO, Seneca family of agencies (1985–current)
Trustee District 3, Alameda County Board of Education — Elected position (2008–current)


California State University Sacramento Bachelor of Arts, Psychology (1982)
California State University Sacramento Bachelor of arts, psychology (1979)

Community Activities

governors appointee, California Child Welfare Council (2008–current)
Chair, children's committee, California Council of community mental health agencies (2012–current)
Past President, California Association of County Boards of Education (2012–2013)
Co-author, Unconditional Care, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press (2010–2010)

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Alameda County Teacher's Association
  • California Assemblymember Tony Thurmond
  • California State Superintendent Tom Torlakson

Organizations (5)

  • CSEA Chapter 615
  • John George Democratic Club
  • East Bay Young Democrats
  • Alameda County Teachers' Association
  • Stonewall Democratic Club

Elected Officials (9)

  • Former California State Assemblymember, Dion Aroner
  • Alameda County Board of Trustee, Eileen McDonald
  • Alameda County Board of Trustee, Aisha Knowles
  • Oakland City Councilmember, District 4, Annie Campbell Washington
  • Alameda County Supervisor, Nate Miley
  • Alameda County Board of Trustee, Marlon L. McWilson
  • Alameda County Board of Education Trustee, Joaquin Rivera
  • Alameda County Karen Monroe
  • California Assemblymember Rob Bonta

Political Beliefs

Position Papers

Inequities in public education


Efforts to address inequities in public education are among my highest priorities. 

Efforts to address inequities in public education are among my highest priorities.  I believe that there are two main contributing factors to these inequities. First, and most important, it is poverty, and the long-term effects of institutionalized racism. The second is that the schools serving low-income communities are typically under-resourced, relative to the demands placed on the very dedicated teachers and administrators in those settings.

The link between students living in poverty and our abysmal failure to provide the educational resources to help them to succeed is incontrovertible. Using Oakland schools as an example, the achievement gap between hills schools and schools located in neighborhoods of poverty is overwhelming. The County Office can use its position to draw the districts together to collaborate with social services, probation, mental health, and other service systems to help bring community supports to children living in poverty within the district. Unfortunately, it is very difficult for the County Office alone -- to have a direct impact on these inequities at the state level. What the County Office can and must do is to act as the bridge between all the systems that touch the lives of children living in poor communities and attending under-resourced schools. The Board can help the County Office to use its position as a collaborative hub, and to help bring resources to bear in support of low-income or disadvantaged students, and the students in greatest need.

My experience in this area is substantial. As Founder and President of Seneca Center for Children and Families, I have worked diligently to understand the education, health, mental health, social services, and probation systems, and the various funding streams that support their mission. In partnership with social services, mental health, and the probation department, this understanding has allowed us to secure millions of dollars in support of some of the Bay Area's most vulnerable children and youth, and to work creatively to braid disparate funding streams in support of a common goal. Some of the programs created with these funding streams have included: MST (a program which provides intensive family-based interventions for probation youth resulting in significant reductions in recidivism), counseling-enriched community day schools (which provide the support necessary for students to succeed), and intensive day treatment programs for youth with significant emotional disturbance and/or mental illness. I believe that my experience with cross-system funding may be crucial to inspire and promote collaboration between the Alameda County Office of Education, the school districts, and the other public systems.



Candidate Contact Info

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