Four vying for Santa Clara County education seat

The Santa Clara County School Board has a vacancy and four people would like the position.

Rosemary Kamei’s victory as councilor-elect in San Jose District 1 opens the seat in Zone 3. The council plans to fill the seat at a special session on Nov. 28, where public comments will also be heard. .

Community leaders have previously raised concerns about the seat’s nomination process, which gave potential candidates just over a week to apply. The board has extended the deadline for submitting nominations and pushed back the schedule for nominations.

The Zone 3 Board Member serves the Cambrian, Campbell Union, Luther Burbank, Moreland, Union, and Campbell Union school districts, as well as portions of the San Jose Unified and Santa Clara Unified school districts.

The board will also add two new faces this month, as Franklin-McKinley School District Administrator Maimona Afzal Berta and Santa Clara County Health Advisory Commissioner Raeena Lari are likely the winners of their respective races, with 97% of ballots counted.

The Santa Clara County Office of Education previously announced five eligible applicants. However, former contestant Basil Saleh told San Jose Spotlight he was dropping out of the race, citing personal obligations and scheduling issues. Board of Education members are responsible for representing more than 30 school districts across the county and developing policies and guidelines for critical issues such as educational equity.

Here are the candidates vying for the Zone 3 seat.

Deborah Jyl Lutes, a former Salinas city councilman and educator, is a candidate for Santa Clara County School Board Zone 3. Photo courtesy of Deborah Jyl Lutes.

Deborah Jyl Lutes

Deborah Jyl Lutes touts her background as a former Salinas city councilwoman, teacher, school board member, and grandparent of a student in the Campbell Union School District. Its priorities include addressing pandemic learning loss, increasing student behavior issues and teacher shortages.

“Truly this is a defining moment in education, and how we meet the challenge of meeting the enormous needs and demands will require the collaboration of community stakeholders, sound policies and transparent leadership,” said Lutes told San Jose Spotlight.

Donald Rocha, a former San Jose board member and current Cambrian School District board member, is running for a seat on the Santa Clara County School Board. Photo courtesy of Donald Rocha.

Donald Roche

Donald Rocha highlighted his experience as a former San Jose City Council member, current Cambrian School District board member, and parent. Its priorities are analysis of food insecurity in the county, support for vocational training programs and special education programs.

“I would like to continue the incredible work that the County (Office) of Education has already done,” Rocha told San Jose Spotlight. “I would like to use my experience in legislative advocacy to help the school board. »

Jesus Salazar is a member of the Luther Burbank School District Board of Trustees and hopes to fill the Zone 3 School Board seat. Photo courtesy of Jesus Salazar.

Jesus Salazar

Jesus Salazar’s priorities include addressing education inequities among low-income families, the mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, early education and career readiness. He touts his experience as a senior program analyst in the State Office of Planning and Research, a member of the Luther Burbank School District Board of Trustees, and an alumnus of Santa Clara County Schools.

“I know firsthand the experiences that students and their families face,” Salazar told San José Spotlight. “I want to make sure our school board accurately reflects the makeup of our county and make sure our communities of color have a voice at the table.”

Michele Ryan is a member of the Santa Clara Unified School District Board of Trustees and hopes to fill the Zone 3 School Board seat. Photo courtesy of Michele Ryan.

Michele Ryan

Michele Ryan highlighted her experience as a former educator, principal and board member of the Santa Clara Unified School District. Its priorities are to improve academic achievement and support students in county-run education programs.

“I worked on the front lines of public education,” Ryan told San Jose Spotlight. “I also look forward to working on the governance team to think strategically about how the (Office of Education) can best serve districts and students.”

Contact Loan-Anh Pham at [email protected] or follow @theLoanAnhLede on Twitter.