Former student trustee replaces Nejedly

By Lorenzo Morotti, Associate Editor

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Former district student trustee Gary Walker-Roberts was appointed to represent Ward IV until 2018 in lieu of former trustee John Nejedly’s unexpected death on Oct. 12, district Communications and Relations Director Tim Leong said.

The Governing Board unanimously voted for Walker-Roberts, 40, to replace Nejedly at a special meeting held at the District Office in Martinez on Nov. 29.

“I am honored and in awe of the board’s decision to select me for the position representing Ward IV,” Walker-Roberts said. “I have big shoes to fill. John Nejedly was on the board for 22 years, so this job comes with a lot of responsibility.

“But I never shy away from challenges, especially when it means representing my community.”

Leong said Walker-Roberts will be sworn in at the Dec. 14 Governing Board meeting at the Contra Costa Community College District Office in Martinez.

Governing Board President Vicki Gordon said Walker-Roberts was chosen over four other applicants because of his experience with public service and fluency in Spanish.

“Gary is a great choice because he knows so much about the district. He has a lot of people who support him in the community because of his public service,” Gordon said. “The board realized they were looking for someone who understood the position so he was a clear choice. He has experience and he works well with everyone.”

She said he already overcame the steep learning curve that comes with a position at the district. He also will bring a fresh perspective as the district’s first openly gay trustee.

“Having Gary on board is a celebration of diversity and inclusion,” Gordon said. “The diversity of opinions on the board is well represented.”

Before Walker-Roberts was appointed, he was the Los Medanos College Associated Students president, ALLIES Club president and United Faculty student representative in 2014-15.

He was the district student trustee for the 2015-16 academic year as he worked toward completing his second associate degree in arts and humanities at LMC while also working toward a bachelor’s degree in ethnic studies: gender and sexuality at Cal State-East Bay.

Walker-Roberts received his master’s degree in English at Arizona State University earlier this year before representing Ward IV.

Governing Board Trustee John Marquez said Walker-Roberts was the obvious choice because of public service experience within the district and his ability to interact with the communities he serves.

“He was a student at LMC until recently,” Marquez said. “During the time he was the student trustee one thing everyone noticed was his enthusiasm and energy he brought to the board.

“Gary was all over the district talking to different student body presidents and senators and relay that back to the Governing Board meetings so the district is in tune with what needs to be done at each campus.”

Walker-Roberts said with his position at the district he plans to support the Sanctuary College District resolution to protect undocumented immigrant students from deportation and work to maintain current financial aid policies for DACA, AB 540 and DREAM Act students.

He said he also plans to work with college leadership groups to create safe spaces for LGBTQ+, Muslim and other underrepresented communities at each campus and their extension campuses in Brentwood and San Ramon.

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