Election 2022: Candidates vie for Santa Clara, Oak Grove school board seats
Glider Elementary is one of the schools in the Oak Grove School District where school board seats are up for reelection this year. File photo.

    Voters have their work cut out for them this November as dozens of candidates are running for school board seats throughout Santa Clara County.

    In some districts, school board candidates are prioritizing the digital divide, staff retention, COVID-19 recovery and school safety. Potential board members are also highlighting fiscal responsibility as millions in funding flow into districts.

    Here are the candidates vying for board seats from the Santa Clara Unified School District and Oak Grove School District on the November ballot.

    Voters in other school districts can find information about candidates running for board seats in San Jose Unified School District, East Side Union High School District and Alum Rock Union School District here. Candidates running in Evergreen School District, Franklin-McKinley School District and Campbell Union High School District can find information here.

    Santa Clara Unified School District 

    Santa Clara Unified School District enrolls over 15,000 students across more than 30 elementary, middle and high schools. The board includes seven members who serve four-year terms, with three seats terming out in 2024. Four seats are in play during this 2022 election cycle. Potential school board members have until mid-August to file their candidacy; any candidates who have no opponents automatically win and are not placed on the November ballot.

    Incumbent Jim Canova, elected in 1992, won the Area 1 seat as he ran unopposed. Incumbent Jodi Muirhead won a third term for the Area 6 seat outright as well. Area 3 and Area 4 will be determined this November.

    Incumbent Vickie Fairchild is running for a second term to represent Area 3 against challenger Nestor Toribio. Toribio did not respond to requests for comment.

    Incumbent Vickie Fairchild is running for a second term on the Santa Clara Unified School District board. Photo courtesy of Vickie Fairchild.

    Fairchild touts her experience as an educator, counselor and school psychologist in the district. Her priorities are expanding support for the district’s English Language Learners, increasing resources for student mental health and collaborating with other school districts throughout the county to develop best practices.

    “I’m running for reelection because I want to create the best possible educational opportunities for all students… As we embrace and look at other issues, I need to make sure that I’m listening to all the voices and making sure that all the voices are at the table,” Fairchild told San José Spotlight.

    Incumbent Andrew Ratermann has served on the Santa Clara Unified School Board since 2004. Photo courtesy of Andrew Ratermann.

    Incumbent Andrew Ratermann, who first held the seat via appointed in 2004, is running against challenger Kimberley Williams to represent Area 4.

    Ratermann’s priorities include fiscal responsibility, staff retention, pandemic learning loss and student socioemotional learning. He emphasized his experience as a board member, business owner and community volunteer.

    “It’s about the kids… You need people to have confidence that you have their best interests in mind, and that goes whether it’s the student or the parent, or the teacher or the administrator,” Ratermann told San José Spotlight.

    Kimberley Williams is running for the Area 4 seat on the Santa Clara Unified School District board. Photo courtesy of Kimberley Williams.

    Williams highlights her experience as a Stanford University program manager, district volunteer and parent. Her priorities include ensuring equitable allocation of funding and resources, piloting innovative teaching practices and addressing pandemic learning loss.

    “I believe that I have the right balance of educational background, an eye for unleashing the potential within our district’s talented teachers, and the real-world parenting experience of helping my pre-teen daughter navigate her own learning journey to serve as the newest member of the Santa Clara Unified school board,” Williams told San José Spotlight.

    Oak Grove School District 

    Oak Grove School District includes 17 elementary and middle schools with an enrollment of more than 9,800 students. The board has five seats, each serving four-year terms, with two board members terming out in 2024. Potential school board members have until mid-August to file their candidacy; any candidates who have no opponents automatically win and are not placed on the November ballot. 

    Incumbent Tami Moore opted out of running for a second term, leaving challenger Diego Martinez to claim the Area 2 seat outright. Area 2 includes Christopher Elementary, Edenvale Elementary, Stipe Elementary and Davis Intermediate School.

    Incumbent Jorge Pacheco Jr., elected in 2018, secured the Area 3 seat after winning the election outright as well. Area 3 includes Del Roble Elementary, Frost Elementary, Parkview Elementary and Herman Intermediate School.

    Challengers Taunya Jaco and Robyn Lynette Schlice are vying for the Area 5 seat as incumbent Nancy Yue, appointed in 2021, is not seeking reelection. Area 5 includes Baldwin Elementary and Bernal Intermediate School.

    Taunya Jaco is a challenger running for a seat on the Oak Grove School District board. Photo courtesy of Taunya Jaco.

    Jaco emphasizes her experience as a California Teachers Association board member, as well as a former student and educator in the district. Her priorities include community engagement, staff retention and student mental health and safety.

    “We are at a critical time in public education, where the decisions that are made will have generational impact… We must work collaboratively with our students, parents and community to empower, grow and transform public education to ensure every student can achieve their potential,” Jaco told San José Spotlight.

    Robyn Lynette Schlice is running for a seat on the Oak Grove School District board in Area 5. Photo courtesy of Robyn Lynette Schlice.

    Schlice’s priorities are bridging the digital divide, increasing school safety, including physical and cybersafety, as well as addressing the COVID-19 pandemic’s mental health impacts. Schlice highlights her experience as a retired Santa Clara County Probation Department supervisor, volunteer with local groups and former student in the district.

    “Our community’s greatest asset is our children. The education that they receive today is the building blocks for their future success, so I want to have a hand in that,” Schlice told San José Spotlight.

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

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