Breaking down Kern Co.’s school board races

The Sun’s look at the contenders vying for Kern County school board seats.

Kern High School District

Three seats are up for election on the Kern High School Board in November, some of the most powerful elected positions in Kern County as the district serves over 42,000 students – the largest high school district in the state. 

The November election comes at a pivotal time for the district, which has faced a fentanyl crisis and several campus incidents that have spread throughout the media. 

The latest crisis occurred at Arvin High School, where a special needs student was bullied by classmates. 

Trustee Cynthia Brakeman of Area 1 is running for her second term against Derek Tisinger, a firefighter and educator. 

Brakeman positioned herself as a moderate right candidate in an interview with the Bakersfield Californian while pointing to Tisinger as a far right candidate. 

Tisinger’s campaign slogan is “educate, not indoctrinate.” 

Area 4 sees Trustee Janice Graves up against three challengers for her seat: Lillian Lopez, Martin Higuera and Kathy Scrivner. 

Graves was first elected in 2018 and told The Californian that she is committed to the safety of the students. 

Lopez is a parent of a student in the district and is endorsed by the Greater Bakersfield Republican Assembly. 

Scrivner has been a teacher for 25 years and is also the mother of Kern County Supervisor Zack Scrivner. 

In Area 5, Trustee Bryan Batey is running against Michelle Shaw, an educator. 

Batey has a bevy of experience on the board, having served from 1994-2004 and since 2006. 

Shaw is the executive director of Pathways to Destiny, a prevention and intervention program for at-risk young men. 

Antelope Valley Joint Union High School District

Area 1

  • Susan Strom, retired teacher
  • Charles Hughes, retired correctional lieutenant

Delano Joint Union High School District

  • Eloise Carrillo, retired payroll supervisor
  • Art Armendariz, incumbent
  • Lionel Reyna, educator
  • Valerie Gorospe, community engagement director
  • Ann McBride, farmer/computer engineer

Wasco Union High School District

  • Carl Hively, incumbent
  • Mario Juarez, bus driver/custodian
  • Juan Bernal, incumbent
  • Tony Perez
  • James Adams

McFarland Unified School District

  • Tim Gonzales, athletic equipment attendant
  • Jim Beltran, incumbent/educator
  • Joana Martinez, administrative assistant/parent
  • David Arguello

Sierra Sands Unified School District

  • Chad Houck, incumbent
  • Robert Campbell, retired educator/grandparent
  • Nicole Harper, CTE liaison/parent
  • Karen Taggart, registered veterinary technician
  • Mary Campbell, retired teacher
  • Kurt Rockwell, incumbent
  • Tim Johnson, incumbent
  • Darrell Eddins, retired safety engineer

Southern Kern Unified School District

  • Mario Gutierrez, business owner
  • Jim Bender
  • Sunni Hepburn, appointed incumbent
  • Adrienne Rendon, parent

Tehachapi Unified School District

Area 2

  • Cassandra Sweeney, parent
  • Ben Dewell, SSCSD director/meteorologist
  • Cora Gutierrez, parent

Area 4

  • Deborah Du-Sorenson, special education teacher
  • Erika Gunn, hearing care practitioner
  • Dana Lee Christensen, retired aerospace fabricator

Area 5

  • Peter Franco, incumbent
  • Lisa Lopez, retired school employee
  • Nathanael Harbison, realtor
  • Wayne Cooper, professor/engineer

Area 6

  • Paul Kaminski, retired educator
  • Angie Cortes
  • Jeff Schulstad, public servant

Arvin Union School District

  • Geri Rivera, incumbent
  • Toni Pichardo, incumbent
  • Elvira Moreno, paraeducator
  • Maria Ramos, parent/advocate/businesswoman

Bakersfield City School District

Area 2

  • Pamela Baugher, incumbent
  • Judy Olsson, citizen/teacher/grandmother
  • Anthony Fuentes, high school teacher

Area 4

  • Laura Guerrero-Salgado, incumbent
  • Mary Poehner, retired teacher
  • Isai Jimenez, teacher/parent/taxpayer

Delano Union School District

  • Efrain Rodriguez, retired administrator
  • Irene Martinez, retired educator
  • Ramon Cardenas, retired school administrator
  • Ignacio Ayon, parent/coach/entrepreneur

Fairfax School Board District

  • Alma Rios, parent/community member
  • Jeffrey Crisler, paramedic/parent/businessowner
  • Cora Padilla, special education aide
  • Victoria Garza, payroll technician
  • Victoria Coronel, incumbent
  • Mario Barron, social worker
  • Javier Moreno, director government relations
  • Palmer Moland, incumbent

Kernville Union School District

  • Gene Parks, incumbent
  • Diane Moss, incumbent
  • Wendy Russ, incumbent 
  • Scott Wells, retired Air Force
  • Charity Quinn, licensed psychiatric technician

Lamont School District

  • Jesse Atondo, incumbent
  • Pablo Trevino, business owner
  • Elizabeth Santana-Garibaldo, incumbent
  • Gilberto Lopez, incumbent
  • Alexsis Garay, parent/business owner

Maple School District

  • Phillip Esnoz, incumbent
  • Ty Rogers, mechanic
  • Joel Ackerknecht, farmer

Panama-Buena Vista Union School District

  • Elynor Olgin, educator
  • Linda Garcia, retired school employee

South Fork Union School District

  • Jacob Rudnick, parent/teacher
  • Michael Morgan, appointed incumbent
  • Tony Cain, appointed incumbent
  • Tate Nagle, business owner

Taft City School District

  • Renee Hill, appointed incumbent
  • James Carter, parent
  • Les Clark, incumbent

Vineland School District

  • Francisco Segura, campus supervisor
  • Alejandra Segura, educator
  • Mario Pena, incumbent
  • Tiffany Castillo-Gonzales, mother/college student

Wasco Union School District

  • Cherylee Wegman, incumbent
  • Richard Reding, incumbent
  • Anna Poggi, incumbent
  • Ernie Sanchez, vocational instructor
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