"I went into teaching to make a difference. I love kids. I love teaching. And it's the same reason that I left the classroom to go into administration." Coscarelli said.
With 30 years of educational experience, 22 of which have been spent in Sonoma County, Brad Coscarelli has helped to shape a generation of Sonoma County’s students.
Coscarelli was an administrator for 15 years at Santa Rosa High School, serving as principal for the last eight of them.
He is now the principal of Hidden Valley Elementary in Santa Rosa. Coscarelli took over the role following the 2017 Tubbs Fire, assuming leadership of the school where each of his four children had attended.
One of the major issues he hopes to deal with as superintendent is funding. Coscarelli acknowledged the issue of declining enrollment across the county, but he sees improving school’s funding as one way to, as he said, “pull families into Sonoma County.”
Another is the issue of recruitment and retention. Coscarelli said Sonoma County’s schools must do better in providing competitive wages, acknowledging that $15 per hour simply isn’t enough. But he sees great opportunity for retention for Sonoma County schools by growing from within.
Coscarelli also said as superintendent of schools he would push districts to use available funds to improve schools, instead of simply saving for savings sake.
"You have students that need support right now that maybe can't read or teachers that aren't getting competitive wages. You're losing teachers, you're paying school employees, minimum wage. Why do you have such a high reserve?"
He said that while some administrators fail to engage with students and staff, he would bring student centered leadership to Sonoma County’s Office of Education. Coscarelli pointed to his time as principal at Santa Rosa High as an example of the type of leadership he hopes to bring.
"Anytime that we had major decisions to make, I included all stakeholder groups, our EL families and students, students from student government. I would go to the teachers, I'd go to the classified employees." Coscarelli said. "I'd go to all these different groups."
"My students were very vocal at Santa Rosa high. They always felt comfortable. They would come right up to me." Coscarelli said.
When asked about Covid policy, Coscarelli praised the response from outgoing superintendent Steve Harrington and the Office of Education, and said he would continue with the example set forth, and follow state guidelines. But he said his biggest takeaway from Covid has been seeing the disparity in equitable access to education Covid restrictions exposed.
"We really saw the have, and the have nots. We saw parents that had the means to get any thing that they needed for their child for Covid. Then we had other families that did not have the means." Coscarelli said. "If anything were to happen like this again, we need to have the ability to set up different stations at schools so that it's very easy to access for our families."
Coscarelli has the endorsement of a number of prominent groups including the California Teachers Association; the Healdsburg, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, and West Sonoma County Teachers Associations; the Democratic and Green Parties of Sonoma County, the North Bay Labor Council; and the local Teamsters union.
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