ELECTION: Candidates in Fontana School Board races give responses to questionnaire | News



Three seats are being contested in the Fontana School Board election on Nov. 8.

• In Governing Board Area 1 (which includes the northern area of the district), incumbent Mars Serna is being opposed by three challengers — Lauren M. Gomez, Terry McCaffrey, and Maria Isabel Arias.

• In Governing Board Area 2 (which includes the northeastern area of the district), incumbent Adam Perez is being opposed by challenger Shelley C-Bradford.

• In Governing Board Area 5 (which includes the southern area of the district), incumbent Mary B. Sandoval is being opposed by challenger Rayman Martinez.

The Fontana News Roomsent questionnaires to all of the candidates, asking them to provide information about their qualifications as well as their top priority if they were to be elected. Their responses are printed below (some candidates did not return the questionnaires):

—– GOVERNING BOARD AREA 1:

—– MARS SERNA

• Occupation: Educator (family and community engagement, program specialist with San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools); former adjunct professor at San Bernardino Community College and current Board Member for Fontana Unified School District.

• Political and school leadership experience:

I was elected in 2017 in a special election and re-elected in 2018 to serve a four year term. I have served on the Fontana Unified School District, Governing Board for the past five years. I also have more than 36 years of experience working in the fields of education, recreation and human services. Currently employed at San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools (SBCSS) as the family and community engagement project manager, where I support the 33 school districts throughout the county in training, coaching, and mentoring on best practices to engage families and stakeholders in education. Prior to joining SBCSS, I spent a little over a year at Fontana Unified School District as the family and community engagement coordinator and nine years at San Bernardino City Unified School District as the family involvement officer working with parents to be engaged and active in the education of their children. I also served as an adjunct professor in the Human Services Department from August 2016 to December 2019, where I taught Cultural Proficiency and Cross Cultural Communication to students who are looking into careers in education, health care, law enforcement, human services and other related fields.

• Educational background: Masters of Arts in Management from University of Redlands; Bachelors in Public Administration from California State University, San Bernardino; Associates Degree from Riverside Community College

• Endorsed by these groups:

Elected officials:

Tony Thurmond, State Superintendent of Public Instruction; Ted Alejandre, Superintendent, San Bernardino County Schools; Dr. Edwin Gomez, Superintendent, Riverside County Office of Education; Janice Rutherford, San Bernardino County Supervisor, 2nd District; Laura Abernathy Mancha, San Bernardino County Board of Education-Area C; Chris Barajas, Mayor, City of Jurupa Valley; Lynne B Kennedy, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Rancho Cucamonga; Joseph Williams, San Bernardino Community College District Board of Trustees; Sherman Garnett, Board Member, Upland Unified School District; Donald English, Trustee, Chaffey Joint Union High School District; Joanne Thoring-Ojeda, Board Member, Colton Joint Unified School District; Pat Haro, Board Member, Colton Joint Unified School District; Dr. Scott Wyatt, Board President, San Bernardino City Unified School District; Dr. Gwendolyn Dowdy-Rogers, Board Member, San Bernardino City Unified School District; Mary Sandoval, Board Member, Fontana Unified School District; Jesus M Holguin, Board Member, Moreno Valley USD and Past President of California School Boards Association.

Labor organizations:

Fontana Teachers Association (FTA)

United Steelworkers 8599, 7600, 5632

• Community involvement:

Summit Baseball Booster Club Board Member, Geli’s Sunshine Project Board Member, Former Ruble Band Booster Treasurer, Former PTA Treasurer (Sierra Lakes Elementary); Youth Coach and Sports Official (City of Fontana-Basketball and Soccer and Fontana Community Little League); served as Chair and co-founder of the Inland Empire Family Resource Coalition, and currently serve on the boards of the Inland Empire Fatherhood Involvement Coalition, San Bernardino County Mentoring Task Force and the San Bernardino County Gang and Drugs Task Force.

• Please provide one sentence explaining your top priority for the next year, if you are elected.

Breaking ground on a new middle school and elementary school in Trustee Area 1 is a top priority. Maintaining and providing safe and affirming school environments by ensuring that classroom spaces and campuses are welcoming, inspiring, and physically and emotionally safe for our scholars and their families.

GOVERNING BOARD AREA 1:

—– LAUREN GOMEZ:

• Occupation: Registered Nurse at Kaiser Hospital in Fontana and Nursing Academic Specialist educating aspiring nurses at a local Nursing School

• Political and school leadership experience: Co-Leader of Catholic Families for Freedom San Bernardino Chapter. Heavily involved in tracking bills that impact our children and organizing parental involvement to provide feedback to legislators. Member of various research committees focused on innovative ways to improve safety, quality, and positive outcomes for the admitted patient population.

• Educational background: I have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from California State University, San Bernardino. I am working toward obtaining my master’s degree as a nursing educator, projected completion 2023.

• Endorsed by these groups:

Mayor Acquanetta Warren, Mayor Pro Tem Peter Garcia, Councilmember John Roberts, Councilmember Phillip Cothran Jr., Fontana Unified School District Board Member Joe Armendarez, Fontana Unified School District Board Member Adam Perez, Lance Christensen for Superintendent of Public Instruction, Greg Abdouch with Noow_ie (Not on our watch), Catholic Families for Freedom California.

• Community involvement: Active in Fontana AYSO Soccer as a parent volunteer.

• Please provide one sentence explaining your top priority for the next year, if you are elected:

When I am elected, my first priority is bringing back an emphasis on reading, writing, and mathematics, so that students have a strong academic foundation, as well as increasing the opportunity for parental engagement so our parents have a voice in their child’s education.

GOVERNING BOARD AREA 1:

MARIA ARIAS

• Occupation: I have worked at the Department of Transportation as a Landscape Associate, project Engineer for 22 years to the present time. Assisted on the designing, budgeting and delivery of million dollar Transportation projects.

• Political and school leadership experience:

I served as the Fontana Unified School District Chair of the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) for several years. The CAC is mandated by the California Education code to advise school districts on matters of public policy related to students with disabilities. As the founder of the Youtoomovement — a community organization dedicated to educating parents about the educational rights of their children — I have volunteered for the special education community as an advocate for parent and student rights and have hosted legislative events to discuss laws impacting special education.

• Educational background:

I hold a Bachelors of Science Degree in Landscape Architecture from Cal Poly Pomona. I hold a Associate of Arts Degree from Chaffey College. Trained at COPPA and obtained a certificate of completion.

• Endorsed by these groups:

Youtoomovement community

Rita Fernandez-Loof, Member of the San Bernardino County Board of Education, Area B

• Community involvement:

Provide training at AGAPE, ministry that provides support to the special education communities in the Inland Empire.

Volunteer at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church for the past eight years.

Volunteer at the San Bernardino Diocese for the past seven years.

• Please provide one sentence explaining your top priority for the next year, if you are elected:

As a parent, my goal is to assist the FUSD Board in the protection of parents’ and students’ educational rights. I wish to promote transparency, accountability and education to all students. During challenging times, we need challenging solutions, I am not afraid to ask hard questions and search for answers that will improve education.

—– GOVERNING BOARD AREA 2:

—– ADAM PEREZ

• Occupation: Police Officer/Task Force Officer

• Political and school leadership experience: Current Fontana School Board Member and Former Fontana School Board Vice President, and Member of the Fontana Mayor’s Education Coalition.

• Educational background: United States Army combat veteran, served multiple tours overseas. Associate’s Degree in Behavioral Science, Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, and Master’s Degree in Business Administration

• Endorsed by these groups:

Former San Bernardino County Supervisor Josie Gonzales

Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren

Fontana Mayor Pro Tem Peter Garcia

Fontana City Council Member John Roberts

Fontana City Council Member Phillip Cothran

Fontana City Treasurer Janet Koehler-Brooks

Fontana Unified School Board President Dr. Jennifer Quezada

Fontana Unified School Board Vice President Joe Armendarez

Former City Council Member and Former School Board Member Jesse Armendarez

West Valley Water District Director Angela Garcia

Fontana Planning Commissioner Matt Gordon

Fontana Police Officers’ Association

Fontana School Police Association

Desert Hot Springs Police Officers’ Association

Peace Officers Research Association of California

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Employees’ Benefits Association

San Bernardino Carpenters Local Union 909

San Bernardino County Firefighters Local 935

• Community involvement:

Former Desert Hot Springs Police Explorer Advisor

• Please provide one sentence explaining your top priority for the next year, if you are elected:

The key to student success regardless of the college or career path they choose is to have exceptional reading, writing, and mathematical abilities, and I intend to keep this as a priority along with protecting the rights of parents to voice their opinions on school curriculum.

—– GOVERNING BOARD AREA 3:

—– MARY SANDOVAL

• Occupation: Retired

• Political and school leadership experience: Eight years elected, Past School Board President, Past School Board Vice President, past Delegate Assembly Member, Current Member San Bernardino County Advocate for better schools, Current San Bernardino California School Association President

• Educational background:

Graduated 1980, attended Chaffey College, San Bernardino Valley College

• Endorsed by these groups:

Fontana Teachers Association, United Steelworkers 7600, United Steelworkers 8599, AFL-CIO Labor Council, Carpenters Union 909, San Bernardino County Central Democrats, Planned Parenthood, Chicano Latino Caucus and San Bernardino Luncheon Club

• Community involvement:

Coached and managed Fontana Girls Softball team, Boys Baseball team, mom, PTA member at various school, Fontana Youth Accountability Board Member, Fontana Police Volunteer, Sociedad Progresista Mexicana Lodge member, Fontana Community Senior Center and Moose Lodge 863 Member

• Please provide one sentence explaining your top priority for the next year, if you are elected:

When elected, I will place school safety and mental health services at the top of my list. These priorities go together.

—– GOVERNING BOARD AREA 3:

—– RAYMAN MARTINEZ

• Occupation: College and Youth Coach/Entrepreneur

• Political and school leadership: I am currently the Commissioner to the Supreme Youth Football Conference, and I have been an advocate for youth sports for more than 15 years. As for school leadership, I am the owner of a sports academy that focuses on academics and sports. We help athletes get to college through academics and college scholarships through athletics.

• Educational background: While going to school for business I developed entrepreneurial skills that I have successfully applied to develop several lines of business.

• Endorsed by these groups:

Supreme Youth Football Conference

Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren

Fontana Mayor Pro Tem Peter Garcia

Fontana Unified School District Board Member Joseph Armendarez

Fontana Unified School District Board Member Adam Perez

• Community involvement:

Volunteer coach in Fontana for more than 20 years. Current commissioner of the Supreme Youth Football Conference, helping to develop youth here in the city of Fontana and communities throughout California. Mentor to student athletes competing for scholarships to four-year universities.

• Please provide one sentence explaining your top priority for the next year, if you are elected:

When elected, my priority will be our children’s safety, especially educating them about the dangers of deadly drugs such as Fentanyl, focusing on foundational subjects such as reading, writing and math, and making sure that every parent has an opportunity to participate in their child’s education.



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