Board President Ray Valverde is seeking re-election. He also has a long history with the board, serving four terms. A Liberty graduate, Valverde believes the board will benefit from his experience when it comes to balancing the budget, depending of the passage or failure of Prop. 30 and 38, both of which involve public education funding.
“I enjoy being on the board,” said Valverde. “And I believe in these uncertain times that I have the experience needed to keep the budget solid. Depending on how the propositions go, we could have some difficult choices ahead of us. I think I’ve served the community well and I’d like to continue doing so.”
Valverde, whose career in education spans 34 years, said his favorite part of being a board member is visiting campuses, meeting with teachers and students and observing each site’s day-to-day activities. Valverde also serves as a substitute teacher in the Antioch Unified School District, giving him an up-close perspective on the state of education in East County.
Yolanda Mendrek served on the school board from 2006 to 2010 after a five-year stint as assistant principal at Liberty High School. She is seeking to reclaim a seat on the board after a two-year hiatus.
“I’m running for school board because I’m an advocate for students and for public education,” Mendrek said. “I believe that everyone deserves to have a great education. At the school board level, we as a group can have a united voice to talk with politicians to make them aware of the needs in our schools. I have traveled to Sacramento with members of the Association of California School Administrators, and I have spoken with politicians on behalf of our schools and our students. As an educator, parent and community volunteer, I have the obligation to see that we continue to work on behalf of our students.”
If elected, Mendrek’s goals would be to pay close attention to the district’s priorities for academic achievement while implementing a rigorous curriculum and allocating appropriate funding to provide professional development for teachers as they prepare to take on new Common Core Standards.
Ron Enos is also a former board member looking to make a return to the board of trustees. Enos graduated from Liberty High School and returned to his old stomping grounds as a math teacher and football coach. He served on the board for eight years following his retirement, but opted to take a break to focus on his budding real estate career. But after being gone for a decade, Enos wants to return and serve the district that means so much to him.
“I’m a Liberty graduate. My kids went to Liberty and now my grandchildren are attending schools in the district,” Enos said. “I’ve always had a special place for these schools in my heart and I want to help the district continue to find success.”
Enos was involved with the development of the district’s second comprehensive high school, Freedom, and considers his knowledge of budgeting and planning useful should the district move forward on developing its fourth comprehensive school.
Enos is also concerned about the budget and wants to make sure the district finds the finances to remain solvent without cutting programs.
Steven White, a construction project manager, is also running for a seat on the board. White could not be reached for comment by press time.