Contenders Set for Tracy Unified School District Board of Education

August 16, 2020 at 12:08 pm

Updated August 19, 2020 at 8:03 pm

Seven candidates are running for three open seats on the Tracy Unified School District Board of Education, all elected at-large. Only one of the three incumbents, board president Brian Pekari, is not running. Mr. Pekari was appointed to the position in October 2018.

Offices of Tracy Unified School District, which has three open seats for November's general election.

Offices of Tracy Unified School District, which has three open seats for November's general election.

Image courtesy of Tracy Unified School District

The other two incumbents are Jill Costa, the current clerk, and Jeremy Silcox. Ms. Costa was appointed to the board in 2010 and has been reelected twice since. Mr. Silcox was appointed in January 2019 to replace board member Dan Arriola, who had been elected to Tracy City Council.

Among the challengers are instructor and Kimball High School graduate Zachary Hoffert and cybersecurity engineer Ajmer Mann.

Nathalia Hughes Erskine, a behavioral health consultant, is one of the other candidates. She has worked for several of Contra Costa County Public Health’s Wellness and Prevention initiatives, one of which educated high school students on political systems and policy development. She has also coordinated support activities for the Graduate Recruitment and Diversity Services at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health and worked as a medical forensic social worker to support a school-based health center and prevent family violence. Ms. Erskine emphasized preparing students for life after high school, be it university, community college, or vocational school, in an interview with 209 Politics.

“I am looking for solutions across the board in support of ensuring that all students, especially high school students, have an equitable knowledge of the tools… that we as a school board can help keep the focus on our students and their families and what they desire.”, she said.

Ana Blanco, a government program analyst, is also seeking a position on the board. She is currently on the board of the California Coalition Agaist Sexual Assault, and has worked for several years as an educator for children with disabilities.

“I believe it would be best if we made bold moves. At present, in response to the pandemic, create a long term plan and advocate for funding to allow for digital attendance… In this way, parents may be able to plan accordingly such that their student(s) receive the support they deserve.”, she said in an interview with 209 Politics.

The final candidate is Gerald Jeffs, a project management director who specializes in supply chain strategies. His major issues are student safety, especially outside of school, and expanding career opportunities for students. Mr. Jeffs also discussed bringing a wide array of outside opinions to contribute to the decisions of the board.

This article will be updated as candidates respond to requests for comment.