By Post Staff
Marlon McWilson, an educator and consultant, is challenging incumbent Marcie Hodge for the Area 2 seat on the board of the Peralta Community College District.
McWilson, a UC Berkeley graduate, chairs community feeding for the Oakland Black Caucus, which provides meals to thousands of people every holiday. He also organizes his own annual turkey drives in which he has given away more than 10,000 turkeys over the past decade.
Hodge, a psychotherapist and educator, says she has worked to keep college affordable for Oakland students and wants to ensure that students receive financial aid checks in a timely manner. She has sometimes been involved in hostile public conflicts with her colleagues on the Peralta board.
McWilson 33, played football at UC Berkeley. He has taught in Oakland at Castlemont High and Sherman Elementary schools. Currently, he develops educational curriculum and works with UC to support student athletes who are having academic problems.
McWilson believes his life experiences have prepared him to help people in East Oakland achieve educational success. “I grew up in Southeast San Diego gangbanging,” he said. “I had strong people who helped me and pushed me.”
“I was a smart kid who made some bad decisions,” he said. Young adults “need someone who understands where they are at,” he said. “For me this position is so important because a lot of these boys could have been me.”
A board member must understand what the community needs and make decisions that represent the best interests of the community as a whole, he said. Peralta Colleges must also aggressively reach out to adults and younger students, letting them know the many options that exist for education and vocational training.
Hodge, a 1991 graduate of Skyline High School, attended Merritt College and Cal State Hayward and earned a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Holy Names University.
One of her top issues is to ensure that all financial aid checks are issued to students in a timely and that all delayed checks for issued in the next three weeks.
“I am pushing for a full investigation into the financial aid department and the software implementation and integration that are identified as the source of the financial aid problem,” she said in a written statement of the Post.
Hodge was sharply criticized by a majority of the members of Peralta’s Board of Trustees in November 2005, when they voted 5 to 1, with 1 abstention, to censure Hodge. They charged in a resolution that she was “often substantially late for board meetings and workshops, has never attended the board committee meetings to which she has been assigned as a specific part of her board obligation, and is frequently absent from the workshops and general sessions at state and national conferences that she attends at taxpayer expense.”
In a reply written at the time, Hodge said that she was “shocked and disappointed that some members of this board would consider censuring me for fighting to curb abuse in Peralta’s Office of International & Global Education.”