Election day is a week away, and some Stockton voters will have the chance to vote for board members to represent them in their local school districts.
Stocktonia News Service reached out to candidates running in Lincoln Unified School District and San Joaquin Delta College to give them an opportunity to speak to voters.
There are two races in LUSD (Area 1 and 5) and one for Delta College, Area 3. Here’s what these candidates would like voters to know:
LUSD Area 1
Mannor said he can’t sit still.
He is a mentor for Stockton Scholars, educator at Code Stack Academy, and “wears a lot of different hats” in the Office of Education. A board member for Stockton CrimeStoppers, Mannor also sits on the Mayor’s Technology Advisory Council to work on Project Homebound and the city’s Measure 8 Committee.
His late father worked in LUSD’s Public Safety Department for over 30 years, and Mannor’s children go to high school in the district. Mannor said he attended Delta College, worked in marketing and media, and went on to build multiple companies and even sold some of them.
Today, Mannor teaches young adults, straight out of high school, how to code, become software engineers, and find remote jobs where he claims his students can make six figures. He believes a seat on the board will help him expand the job market for students who aren’t looking to go into the traditional college pathways.
Mannor says there are innumerable benefits to attending college and it should be promoted. “But, there’re also students that struggle coming through schools or being in sort of a rigid educational format,” he said.
With those kinds of students in mind, Mannor said he would want to add more career oriented classes and summer work programs for the students in Lincoln Unified.
“These kids are sort of being robbed of (summer employment) opportunities. So we have to supplement that somehow, and give these kids an opportunity to figure out what they like,” Mannor said.
Mannor told Stocktionia he believes the most pressing issue within the district is employee retention because it affects students’ sense of comfort when they go to school year after year. He has worked on the Office of Education’s online educational job board project to address the issue.
He said he wants to help find equitable solutions to ensure teachers and all classified staff have access to fair compensation. Mannor said students should be able rely on the relationships they build with their janitors, groundskeepers, bus drivers, and teachers.
“Kids, like continuity, and consistency,” Mannor said. “What I bring is that continuity, that consistency. I’m not really there to disrupt, and 25 years in business that’s what I do. I solve problems.”
Mannor is endorsed by current LUSD board members Tony Yadon, Jenny Van De Pol, and Ashley Jones, Mayor Kevin Lincoln, and more.
For the past 20 years, Lo has been an Environmental Health and Safety Engineer. He currently works for a private industry in San Diego.
Lo’s family immigrated from Laos and moved to Stockton in 1981. He said his coworkers from San Jose ask him if he’s afraid to live here. Lo told Stocktonia he wants to change the narrative that Stockton is a dangerous place to live, that it’s his home.
If he wins this board seat, Lo said he wants to add more vocational and STEM programs into Lincoln Unified to compete with other countries. He believes the district needs to put more emphasis on teaching science, technology, engineering and math programs.
Lo noticed many companies in his field outsource to other countries, because “our educational system is not actually designed where we’re focusing on engineering in those kinds of trade skills,” he said.
The current board, Lo said, needs to work on communication within the community. He told Stocktonia, many board meetings are held behind closed doors and are therefore inaccessible to parents.
Lo said he thinks transparency and accountability are the most pressing issues within the district.
He believes parents of Lincoln Unified students “could say what (they) want to say, but it doesn’t matter because (the board) made a decision already.” Because of this, if Lo wins he would want to help the board create a more fair relationship with the community.
The board is “not really transparent as far as where they’re spending the money,” Lo said. He said he’s asked where specific funds are going, but current board members told him they couldn’t disclose where the money went.
Shoua Lo is being endorsed by the Central Valley Impact Republican, San Joaquin Republican Party, California Republican assembly, and former mayoral candidate Bill Smith. Lo ran for Stokcton Mayor in the primaries in 2020 and was also a participant in this year’s Stockton City Council District 3 primary.
He said he is currently a member of the Lo-Pha Society Incorporated of California.
Aranda became involved with Lincoln’s school board because she felt, as a parent, the COVID policies were not being communicated well enough and caused confusion.
She said LUSD struggles with communication and transparency. As students returned to classrooms during the pandemic, she noticed other districts had more information for parents regarding vaccination requirements or masking and quarantine policies.
“A lot of other school districts were putting out infographics showing all the different scenarios and COVID dashboards. We didn’t have any of that,” Aranda said.
More recently, Aranda said in April, the board decided to close 7th and 8th grade programs in Don Riggio Elementary and it blindsided the community. She believes the parents and teachers would feel more like partners in these kinds of processes if they were given more information and communication about the data that went into the board’s vote.
Aranda said she tends to be very analytical and that this way of thinking will lend itself to help her in decision making processes if she wins the race for Area 1.
“I like to think about problems, get a lot of data, get a lot of opinions from different people and then sort of synthesize all of that information to make a good decision,” she said.
She currently works for the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, a physics research lab that was started in the 1950’s.
Aranda said she is an active member of Stockton Democrats Together and the Stockton Buddhist Church Youth Athletic Organization.
Her candidacy is endorsed by the Lincoln Unified Teachers Association, Congressman Jerry McNerney, Congressman Josh Harder, State Senator Susan Eggman, San Joaquin County Supervisor Kathy Miller, two current Lincoln Unified trustees and more.
Oberholtzer could not be reached for comment.
She did not immediately respond to requests for comment and does not have any online campaigning literature.
Oberholtzer’s ballot designation status is listed as a bakery and deli clerk.
LUSD Area 5
Centers does not want what’s happening in Stockton Unified to happen at Lincoln.
“I’m under no illusion that serving on the board will be easy,” she said.
Centers graduated from Lincoln High School in 1985, earned an Associates Degree in Business from San Joaquin Delta College, and completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Sacramento State in 1990.
Centers said she is endorsed by the entire current board of Lincoln Unified, former city councilman Elbert Holman, Lincoln Unified Teachers Association, California School Employees Association, North Valley Labor Federation, San Joaquin Calaveras Central Labor Council, and more.
When asked if she could describe Stockton in three words, Centers said: “Caring. We have a lot of caring people in this town and I think it gets overlooked. Challenging. We have a lot of challenges in this market. And Faithful. There’s a ton of faithful people in this town.”
If she wins the election, Centers feels that she can lean on any of the prior trustees for advice. She believes safety is the main issue facing the district. A week after entering the race, “the gun incident” happened at Lincoln High.
Centers said the current leaders and city police officers handled the incident well, but she hopes to have more in-depth conversations with other trustees and the district’s safety department on how they can make sure it doesn’t happen again.
She and her husband have owned a local business for the past 24 years. She works as the accountant for their store. A full understanding of fiscal management is something Centers said she will carry over from her current job into a position on the board.
“I’d like to keep the business name out of the media because of my competitor. I don’t want it to be attacked, primarily because our manager will eventually own the business and he hasn’t decided to go into this race. I have,” Centers said.
Sanchez told Stocktonia he would not participate in an interview with Stocktonia.
Sanchez is the creator of “209Times” website and social media pages. He currently holds the position as Director of Family Resource Center for Stockton Unified School District.
Sanchez’s ballot designation is listed as an educational director and entrepreneur. This is his third attempt to win elected office.
In the 2014 primary election, Sanchez ran for Stockton City Council in Area 3. Later in 2020, he ran for Stockton Mayor, also in the primaries.
SJDC Area 3
Rivera is from Stockton, and has served as a Delta College Trustee for the past 20 years. In 2019, she served as Board President.
Before she was elected as a trustee, she was an educator for 41 years. Rivera said she worked with students from preschool to 12th grade as a teacher, administrator and grant writer.
She is 71 years old, and has attended Delta College, University of the Pacific, Stanislaus and Sacramento State.
Rivera is running for re-election, and is endorsed by multiple Stockton City Council Members, the North Valley Labor Federation, and many more organizations and individuals.
Area 3 covers Stockton, Lincoln and Lodi Unified School Districts. Rivera said she remembers when the areas were divided into what they are now and considers herself fortunate to serve Area 3 because it is the most ethnically diverse.
Delta College serves local and international students, and Rivera said she has the opportunity to visit with them on a regular basis.
While on campus recently, Rivera said she had the chance to meet a nursing student from India who asked the trustee for advice on how to navigate tutoring and other resources on campus. Rivera pointed the student to the school’s new Dream Center and offered to introduce the student to the staff if she was feeling nervous.
Rivera says she has over 200 family members who have graduated from Delta. She currently has a granddaughter attending Middle College, where students are able to take college courses while attending high school.
Delta has been dealing with low enrollment, Rivera said. In her next term, she hopes to continue to push the marketing strategies that have been put in place in recent years.
“We’re putting a little bit more money in marketing,” Rivera said. “(We want) to get into the communities, to get into the high schools, and not just talk to the A-plus students. We’re talking about every student. They should be offered the opportunity to go to college.”
Gilson could not be reached after he expressed an interest in speaking with Stocktonia. He does not have any campaigning literature available online.
Gilson’s ballot designation is listed as an entrepreneur and community director.
In the 2018 general election, Gilson ran for Stockton Unified Board of Education Trustee in Area 5.