Photo: Stockton Unified School District Trustee Scot McBrian is running for reelection in District 6. (FILE PHOTO)

Nearly two dozen candidates are vying for spots up for grabs this fall on the Stockton Unified and Lincoln Unified school districts’ boards of trustees. Here’s a rundown of who is running and why Stocktonians didn’t see these names on their Primary Election ballots.

The General Election is just under two months away and though many local, state and national races were ultimately decided or whittled down to just two candidates during California’s June primaries, many more local races will be added to the ballot this November.

School district governing boards are typically among the local races that do not go through a primary process, Zack Johnson, San Joaquin County Office of Education spokesperson, told Stocktonia News Service Friday.

“The overwhelming majority of school districts in California have one election,” Johnson said. “And largely that is for practical reasons.”

Elections are costly and holding more than one – which generally don’t often see a high-candidate turnout in the first place – can make it more difficult for candidates to run, Johnson said. The purpose of a primary is to whittle down a large number of candidates and that is not typically an issue most of the state’s school districts experience during election season.

“It’s not that uncommon for school districts to have more open seats than they have candidates to fill them,” Johnson said. 

Though there are some exceptions, he clarified, such as the Los Angeles and San Diego school districts.

However, only one race among those that will be on the ballot this year for either of Stockton’s public school districts has only a single candidate – Tivoli Walker is running unopposed in her bid for Lincoln Unified Trustee Area 3 – and all but two races have at least three candidates,  according to the San Joaquin Registrar of Voters candidate roster. 

Both Lincoln Unified and Stockton Unified will have a majority of their trustee seats on the ballot.

Two out of five of Lincoln Unified trustees term out this year and Trustee Therese Tutupalli is not running for a second term, thus the district has no incumbents up for reelection. In turn, Stockton Unified has four trustee areas on the ballot, three of which will see current trustees – Scot McBrian, Angelann Flores and Zachary Ignacio Avelar – defend their seats from challengers. Maria Mendez is the only Stockton Unified trustee that is set term out at the end of the year.

The deadline to file for candidacy was Aug. 12, though an extension of five days after the deadline could be granted if an incumbent failed to file a candidacy declaration, according to the county’s candidate guide.

Here’s a look at who’s running for the Stockton Unified and Lincoln school districts:

Candidates running for Stockton Unified:

Trustee Area 2

Candidate: Patrick Martin

  • Occupation: Youth coordinator
  • Website: None

Candidate: AngelAnn Flores, incumbent

  • Occupation: School Board Trustee
  • Website: here

Candidate: Xavier Lopez Mountain

  • Occupation: Parent/educator
  • Website: none

Candidate: Jose G. Carranza

  • Occupation: Parent
  • Website: none

Candidate: Melissa Garibay Ortiz

  • Occupation: Mother/homemaker
  • Website: none

Trustee Area 5

Candidate: Dawn R. Ali

  • Occupation: Author
  • Website: None

Candidate: Juan M. Estrada

  • Occupation: Parent/grandparent
  • Website: None

Candidate: Donald Donaire

  • Occupation: Nonprofit program coordinator
  • Website: None

Trustee Area 6

Candidate: Rafael Cardoza

  • Occupation: Father
  • Website: None

Candidate: Sofia Colón

  • Occupation: Parent/health care professional
  • Website: here

Candidate: Scot McBrian, incumbent

  • Occupation: Teacher/school trustee
  • Website: None
Incumbent SUSD District 7 trustee Zachary Ignacio Avelar. (FILE PHOTO)

Trustee Area 7

Candidate: Zachary Ignacio Avelar, incumbent

  • Occupation: School Board Trustee
  • Website: None

Candidate: Kennetha Stevens

  • Occupation: Parent education consultant
  • Website: here

Candidate: Renee Icasiano

  • Occupation: Entrepreneur/business owner
  • Website: None

Candidate: Enrique Serrano

  • Occupation: Logistics specialist
  • Website: None

Candidates running for Lincoln Unified:

Trustee Area 1

Candidate: Kathryn Oberholtzer

  • Occupation: Bakery/deli clerk
  • Website: None

Candidate: Tony Mannor

  • Occupation: Business owner/educator
  • Website: here

Candidate: Shoua Lo

  • Occupation: Engineer/business owner
  • Website: here

Candidate: Allyson Aranda

  • Occupation: Parent/software developer
  • Website: here

Trustee Area 3

Candidate: Tivoli Walker

  • Occupation: Nonprofit policy director
  • Website: None

Trustee Area 5

Candidate: Bonnie Centers

  • Occupation: Small business owner
  • Website: None

Candidate: Motecuzoma Patrick Sanchez

  • Occupation: Educational director/entrepreneur 
  • Website: None

Join the Conversation


  1. If the corruption that permeates SUSD is to be addressed, or at the very least held in check, it is crucial that Trustee Angel Ann Flores of Area 2 is re-elected to the board, along with Donald Donaire for area 5 and Sofia Colón for area 6.

  2. Listing names and occupations of candidates doesn’t do much to inform the electorate of any candidates qualifications for office. Much more information is needed to make an informed choice.

  3. I agree with Richard Navone that Stocktonia (my new favorite news source) would do us a service by reporting on the qualifications and intentions of the candidates. Also his or her sordid history, (in some cases). Perhaps some endorsements? Also, it took me forever to find out which area of Lincoln Unified I vote in, and that would be another service to us, to make that easy to discover.

  4. The one helpful bit in the article is the listing of SUSD incumbents. Those are the people who led SUSD into the situation it faces today with the FBI, District Attorney, and others investigating the District. Those incumbents are Scot McBrian and Zachary Avelar. As James Boyle said, AngelAnn Flores should be re-elected as she stood up to those who led the District corruption.

  5. Isn’t anyone concerned that Patrick Powell aka M. Sanchez is NOW running for a seat in Lincoln Unified!!!???!!! Hmmmmm, not good.

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