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List Of Potential School Board Candidates Set 17 people have signed up with the Los Angeles City

Those who complete the task will appear on the June 7 ballot.

- Larry J. Sabato

Prior to the 2020 election cycle, the pro-public education block of LAUSD School Board members held a four to three majority on the board. With all four of these seats the only ones that were before the voters, the pro-public school forces had to perform perfectly in the election. While the three incumbents all won, Tanya Ortiz-Franklin’s win in the open Board District 7 election gave board members loyal to the California Charter School Association (CCSA) a majority.

In this year’s elections, the scenario is completely opposite. All three seats before the voters are held by pro-charter school board representatives. A loss of just one seat will change the balance of power on the board.

Up until this week, we knew which potential candidates had registered with the Ethics Commission so that they could raise money for a campaign. When the filing window opened last Tuesday, anyone seeking to have their name on the ballot had to declare their intention with the Office of the City Clerk’s Election Division. That window has now closed and we now know who will be gathering the required signatures so that they can officially enter the race:

Board District 2:

The boundaries of LAUSD Board District 2 are newly redrawn to accompany the heavily gerrymandered Board District 5. In fact, it is surrounded in three directions by its neighbor. It is also an open seat as Monica Garcia, who is the LAUSD’s longest-serving current board member, is prevented by term limits from seeking reelection. The field of eight looking to replace her includes Jackie Goldberg’s Education Policy Advisor, a former member of convicted felon Ref Rodriguez’s staff, one of Garcia’s opponents when she ran for city council, and a special education attorney making her second attempt at getting on the ballot. One of the candidates also had a direct role in drawing Board District 2’s new boundaries.

  • J. Benjamin Johnson

Did not submit signatures

  • Maria Brenes

Occupational Designation: Education Advocate/Parent



  • Erica Vilardi-Espinosa

Occupational Designation: Accountant / Community Activist Email: Web Site: LinkedIn:

  • Miguel Angel Segura

Occupational Designation: Public School Teacher Email: Web Site: LinkedIn:

  • Rocio Rivas

Occupational Designation: Education Policy Advisor Email: Web Site: LinkedIn:

  • Miho Murai

Occupational Designation: Educator/Activist/Attorney Email: LinkedIn:

  • Raquel Zamora

Occupational Designation: Teacher/Counselor/Mom Email: Web Site:? LinkedIn:

  • Erika Viviana Ochoa

Did not submit signatures

Board District 4:

Instead of using the Santa Monica Mountains as a natural barrier or the 101 as an obvious reference point, this district extends from West Los Angeles into carefully drawn portions of the valley. After winning his seat in a dirty campaign against Steve Zimmer, Melvoin has ruled using methods that are sometimes ethically questionable. He has attracted three opponents including a teacher who spoke out against vaccine mandates for teachers.

  • Nick Melvoin

Occupational Designation: Educator/School Boardmember Email: Web Site: LinkedIn:

  • Gentille Barkhordarian

Occupational Designation: Electrical Engineer/Mother Email: Web Site:? LinkedIn:?

  • Negar Nikgohar

  • Tracey Schroeder

Occupational Designation: LAUSD Teacher/Parent Email: Web Site:? LinkedIn:?

Board District 6:

With the exception of a boundary that crosses the 405 to include one high school, this board district almost makes sense. The constituents are represented by Kelly Gonez, who is currently the LAUSD Board President. Her first act as president was to ensure that the Parent Engagement and Special Education committees remained shut down. She also approved a contract for an organization for which she had a past affiliation. Her four opponents include a teacher and a Sergeant for the Los Angeles School Police Department.

  • Kelly Gonez

Occupational Designation: School Boardmember/Educator Email: Web Site: LinkedIn:?

  • Marvin Rodriguez

Occupational Designation: LAUSD Teacher/Parent Email: Web Site:

  • Benito B Bernal

Did not submit signatures

  • Jess Arana

Occupational Designation: Educator/Police Sergeant Email: Web Site: LinkedIn:

  • Jesie Balbuena

Did not submit signatures The candidates listed above will have 25 days to collect 1,000 signatures (or 500 if they pay a $300 filing fee). If you live in one of the districts where an election will be held, please be nice to the signature gatherers. As a two-time former candidate, I found this to be the toughest part of the process. There is nothing wrong with refusing to sign for a candidate with whom you do not agree, but this can be done politely.

  1. Occupational Designations are written by the candidates and approved by the office of the City Attorney. Judging by some of the ones listed, they are not checked for accuracy.

  2. Email addresses are on file with the Ethics Commission and disclosed by the candidates.

  3. If a campaign website, LinkedIn address, or headshot was not available, an email was sent to the email address on file requesting this information.

_____________________________ Carl Petersen is a parent advocate for students with special education needs and public education. He is an elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council and serves as the Education Chair. As a Green Party candidate in LAUSD’s District 2 School Board race, he was endorsed by Network for Public Education (NPE) Action. Dr. Diane Ravitch has called him “a valiant fighter for public schools in Los Angeles.” For links to his blogs, please visit Opinions are his own. Original Article

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