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Nearly 100 candidates seek school board seats in Contra Costa County

By Theresa Harrington
Friday, August 8th, 2014 at 6:30 pm in Contra Costa Community College District, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa County Board of Education, Education, Election, John Swett district, Lafayette school district, Liberty district, Martinez school district, Moraga, Mt. Diablo school district, Oakley district, Orinda, Pittsburg school district, San Ramon Valley school district, Walnut Creek School District, West Contra Costa school district.

As the election filing deadline neared in Contra Costa County on Friday, nearly 100 candidates had taken out papers for more than 20 school board races.

The filing deadline will be extended to 5 p.m. Wednesday in 11 districts where some incumbents are not seeking re-election. These include: The Acalanes, Brentwood, Byron, John Swett, Lafayette, Moraga, Mt. Diablo, Orinda, Pittsburg, Walnut Creek and West Contra Costa districts.

Just before the filing deadline, it appeared that nearly all of the races would be contested, with most incumbents facing challengers. Here is a list of the races and candidates who had qualified for the ballot by 5 p.m. Friday, followed by potential candidates who had taken out papers, but had not yet completed all the ballot requirements.

County Board of Education, Area 2: Incumbent Christine Deane and Ray Andersen.

County Board of Education, Area 4: Incumbent Richard Asadoorian and Mike Maxwell.

County Board of Education, Area 5: Incumbent Cynthia Ruehling and Jeff Belle.

Community College, Ward 1: Incumbent John Marquez and Cheryl Sudduth.

Community College, Ward 3: Tim Farley and incumbent Matthew Rinn.

Community College, Ward 4: Incumbent John Nejedly (unopposed).

Acalanes: Incumbent Susan (Susie) Epstein, incumbent Nancy Kendzierski, Kristen Correll and Robert Hockett.

Acalanes (short term): Incumbent J. Richard Whitmore (unopposed).

Antioch Unified School District: Incumbent Joy Motts, Incumbent Gary Hack and Debra Vinson and Walter Ruehlig.

Brentwood: Incumbent Emil Geddes, incumbent Heather Partida, John A. Fjeldstad, Scott S. Dudek, Susan Wallace, Johnny Rodriguez, Christina Bell and Marci Lapriore.

Byron Union: Incumbent Jill Marlene Sprenkel, Felicia Schweller and Tania Salinas. Not yet qualified: Karri Jo Murayama.

Byron (short term): Incumbent Betty Sanchez. Not yet qualified: Gina Larmar Parish.

Canyon Elementary: Incumbent David James Smith, incumbent Ian Llewellyn and incumbent Geronimo Bernard.

John Swett: Incumbent Brian Colombo, Michael Kirker and Deborah A. Brandon.

Knightsen: Incumbent Liesel Williams, Patrick Hulleman and Kristen L. Fuller, incumbent Ralph Adam McMeans and Robin Denise Pastor.

Lafayette: Incumbent Teresa Gerringer and incumbent David Gerson and Suzy Pak.

Liberty: Incumbent Roy Ghiggeri, incumbent Daron Spears, incumbent Joanne Louise Byer and Pauline Allred.

Martinez: Incumbent Deidre Siguenza, incumbent Roberta “Bobbi” Horack and Ronald Skrehot.

Moraga: Incumbent Parker Colvin, Heather O’Donnell and Jonathan Nickens.

Moraga (short term): Not yet qualified: Heather o’Donnell.

Mt. Diablo: Incumbent Linda Mayo, incumbent Cheryl Hansen, Michael Langley, Herbert Lee, Debra Mason and James Ryan Egnor-Keil.

Oakley: Incumbent Gloria Jean Lott, incumbent Mark Jordan and incumbent Arthur Fernande.

Orinda: Incumbent Juliane Rossiter, Hillary Shayne Weiner, Carol Brown and Jason Kaune. Not yet qualified: incumbent Christopher Clark Severson.

Pittsburg: Incumbent Joe Arenivar, incumbent Duane Smith and De’Shawn Woolridge. Not yet qualified: Daniel Borsuk.

San Ramon Valley: Incumbent Ken Mintz, incumbent Rachel Hurd, incumbent Denise Jennison and Jerome Pandell.

Walnut Creek: Incumbent Barbara Pennington, Stacey Schweppe, Aimee Moss, Heidi Hernandez Gatty and Sherri McGoff.

West Contra Costa: Incumbent Madeline Kronenberg, incumbent Elaine Merriweather, Elizabeth (Liz) Block, Chester Stevens, Raquel Donoso, Otheree Christian, Mister Phillips and Peter Nicholas Chau. Not yet qualified: Charlene W. Harlan-Ogbeide, Valerie Cuevas and Giorgio Cosentino.

Which candidates do you support?

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14 Responses to “Nearly 100 candidates seek school board seats in Contra Costa County”

  1. Mister Phillips Says:

    Please visit my campaign website at I
    humbly ask for your vote for the West Contra Costa Unified School District Governing Board.

  2. tmharrington Says:

    As of 4:46 p.m. yesterday, nine of 11 potential WCCUSD candidates had qualified for the ballot, including Valerie Cuevas, who was not listed by the end of the day Friday:

  3. Giorgio C Says:

    As I think you know, Theresa, I had to cancel my plans to run for WCCUSD school board. My family and job will not allow me to take on such a daunting task. A couple of questions. If a district is so big that it costs $1,350.00 to print a 200 word statement, then perhaps the district is too big. I wasn’t going to collect a single cent, so this fee was going to hurt. Smaller districts charge around $300. Another reason to pursue district elections. Also, the WCCUSD board is required to serve on a gazillion committees, so these board members have to set up camp for 4 years. So who can run? Retired folks and attorneys? Not sure why, but attorneys seem to have time to sit on boards. There are still many opportunities for non-board members to help with the education quality improvement process. I’ll take advantage of such, starting with helping the right candidates to get elected.

  4. Giorgio C Says:

    Hi Mister,
    Can you please clarify your teaching credential status? I thought you had been a substitute teacher, but now I see you are listed simply as a former “teacher.” Which is it? Having been a full-time, credentialed teacher, I will say that a substitute teacher has idea what it is like to have walked in the shoes of a full-time, credentialed teacher. Our job is one of a blistering, non-stop pace, even when we return home. It doesn’t stop, including the development of lesson plans, purchasing materials, and calling and meeting with parents and reviewing cumulative files of struggling students, etc. I’m sure the same cannot be said for substitute teachers. We have another candidate who previously described themselves as a “substitute teacher”, but who now uses the phrase “guest lecturer.” A guest lecturer is someone who is in the classroom with a teacher, so I’m not sure what a guest lecturer knows about teaching and classroom management, etc. We have many candidates to choose from, so I want to know exactly what qualifications each one brings to the table. Thanks for your understanding, Mister.

    Giorgio Cosentino

  5. tmharrington Says:

    Giorgio, Thanks for clarifying this.

  6. tmharrington Says:

    Here is the Facebook campaign page for WCCUSD candidate Otheree Christian:

  7. tmharrington Says:

    The Pleasant Hill Education Commission will host an MDUSD Candidate Forum on Oct. 2 at City Hall:

  8. Doctor J Says:

    OMG Linda Mayo listed first, and non-incumbents listed as “challengers”. To ask a question you have to “register”. Where is the League of Women Voters to ensure fairness ?

  9. k. saint Says:

    You don’t have to register to ask a question. Click the ask a question link and you’re taken to the email address of the city public information officers direct email.

  10. k. saint Says:

    I am sure that the Ed Com would love to have representative from the League of Women Voters to assist in hosting, coordinating and ‘ensuring fairness.’ If there is a perceived error in the order of the candidates on the flyer, it is unintentional.

  11. Doctor J Says:

    Why not list them in the order they will appear on the ballot ? There are no “challengers” — there are three at-large open seats up for election. The top three vote recipients win the election. The incumbents in an at-large election don’t have a seat to defend.

  12. k. saint Says:

    On the flyer, the candidates are listed in alphabetical order. Likely the Ed Com did not research the order of the ballot as it is just a flyer announcing a forum. Please feel free to attend an Ed Com public meeting in Pleasant Hill to offer insight in preparing marketing flyers for this and other events. Any help and input is appreciated.

  13. Doctor J Says:

    Mayo before Hansen is alphabetical ? I don’t think so.

  14. tmharrington Says:

    More information on the candidates is on the Smart Voter website:

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