When voters cast their ballots Nov. 6, they will get the chance to weigh in on a range of local education races, as the coronavirus pandemic upends the way schools operate.
Below is a roundup of the potential contenders, as of the Town Crier’s Monday press deadline. The candidate nomination period opened July 13 and is slated to run through Aug. 7. The list is based on information from the County of Santa Clara Registrar of Voters, unless otherwise noted.
Los Altos School District
Two seats are up for election on the five-seat Los Altos School District Board of Trustees, and incumbents Jessica Speiser and Steve Taglio have both taken out nomination papers. Neither has yet formally filed to run.
Taglio was first appointed to the board in 2011 to fill the position vacated by Margot Harrigan and was then subsequently elected in 2012. Speiser won her seat in 2016, when she and Taglio ran unopposed for two open seats.
Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District
Two seats are up for a vote on the five-member Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Board of Trustees. Incumbents Sanjay Dave and Phil Failalce have both taken out nomination papers, but not yet filed.
Dave was first elected to the board in 2016 and currently serves as its president. Faillace has served on the board since 1996.
Mountain View Whisman School District
On the Mountain View Whisman School District’s Board of Trustees, José Gutiérrez, Laura Blakely and Tamara Wilson’s seats are up for a vote. Thus far, Christopher Kent Chiang has filed to run. Laura Ramirez Berman and Patrick Neschleba have taken out nomination papers, but not yet filed. Chiang previously served on the five-member board before resigning in 2015 amid a dispute with fellow trustee Steve Nelson.
Blakely said she plans to run for re-election. She was elected in 2016. Gutiérrez has taken out nomination papers to run for a seat on the Mountain View City Council. Wilson did not respond before the Town Crier’s print deadline to an email asking if she planned to run for re-election.
Cupertino Union School District
The Cupertino Union School District Board of Education has two of its five seats up for election. Incumbents Phyllis Vogel and Sylvia Leong have both requested nomination papers, as have Sudha Kasamsetty and Wil Fluewelling.
Vogel originally joined the board in 2007. Leong was appointed in 2019 to fill Liang Chao’s seat, who resigned to join the Cupertino City Council.
Kasamsetty is a parent of two children in the district and a member of the district’s Citizens Advisory Committee, which has been tasked with developing a facilities plan to present to the board. Fluewelling is a member of the Measure H citizens’ bond oversight committee and ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the board in 2018.
Foothill-De Anza Community College District
Laura Casas, Peter Landsberger and Gilbert Wong’s terms on the five-seat Foothill-De Anza Community College District Board of Trustees all expire this year. Wong has already filed to run, and Casas and Landsberger have gotten nomination papers.
Casas was first appointed to the board in 2005 and was elected without opposition in 2007. Landsberger was elected in 2016. Wong, who previously served nine years on the Cupertino City Council, was elected to the Foothill-De Anza board in 2016.
Fremont Union High School District
Two of five seats are open on the Fremont Union High School District Board of Trustees. Incumbent Roy Rocklin has filed to run and fellow incumbent Jeff Moe has pulled nomination papers, but not yet filed.
Moe is currently in his second term on the board and is serving as president. Rocklin is currently in his first term.
Santa Clara County Board of Education – Area 1
Grace Mah’s term expires on the Santa Clara County Board of Education this year and she has taken out nomination papers to run again. Mah is being challenged by Melissa Baten Caswell, who has also pulled nomination papers.
Baten Caswell currently serves on the Palo Alto Unified School District’s Board of Education. Mah has served on the county board since 2007. Her seat covers the Los Altos School District, Mountain View Whisman and MVLA, among other districts.