Orange Unified Board Appoints 2 New Members After Recall

Orange Unified Board Appoints 2 New Members After Recall

Community members gather outside of an Orange Unified School Board meeting, during which the board passes a policy to notify parents when their child wishes to identify as transgender, in Orange, Calif., on Sept. 7, 2023. (Mei Lee/The Epoch Times)

Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

5/10/2024

Updated: 5/12/2024

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The Orange Unified School Board has unanimously elected two new board members to fill empty seats after their colleagues were recalled in March.
Trustees unanimously voted—with Trustee John Ortega absent—to appoint Sara Pelly and Stephen Glass May 2.
Trustees chose Ms. Pelly out of the seven candidates for Area 4, which covers central Orange, and Mr. Glass out of 12 candidates for Area 7, covering south central Orange.
Candidates submitted an application prior to the meeting and each had five minutes to introduce themselves to the board before it voted.
Ms. Pelly is a retired educator who spent the last seven years as the principal of Fletcher Academy in Orange.
During the meeting she shared that her “extensive experience and knowledge” of the district would allow her to make “informed decisions” as a trustee.
“This is especially critical for an appointed position because I will be ready to go on day one,” she said.
Trustees said her recent experience in the district set her apart from other candidates.
“Somebody with recent feet on the ground in Orange Unified … is somebody that I really think would benefit our district as a whole,” trustee Kris Erickson said during the meeting.
Meanwhile, Mr. Glass served as a high school teacher in the district in the early 2000s and as an administrator for at least five Southern California school districts throughout his career. He is currently a professor at Cal State Long Beach.
“Together with your support and with your collaboration, I’m confident we can create an education system that’s a beacon of hope and achievement,” he said during the meeting.
Ms. Erickson said Mr. Glass fulfilled nearly all of the requirements for candidates.
“If I had to write a resume for a board member, it’d probably be your resume because it fit everything,” she said during the meeting.
Mr. Pelly and Ms. Glass will hold office until the next regularly scheduled election for their seats occurs in 2026.
The two former school board trustees, Madison Miner and Rick Ledesma, were removed during the March 5 primary after they became the subject of a recall over their conservative stances.
The recall campaign cited the trustees’ abrupt firing of its district superintendent last year as well as several subsequent controversial decisions as reasons for the recall.
According to the Orange County Registrar of Voters, 53 percent of voters during the election approved of the removal of Ms. Miner from the board, as did 54 percent for Mr. Ledesma, the board’s former president.
Mr. Ledesma was elected to the Orange Unified School District board three times since 2014 and reelected to a four-year term in 2022 along with Ms. Miner, who was serving her first four-year term.
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Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

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Micaela Ricaforte covers education in Southern California for The Epoch Times. In addition to writing, she is passionate about music, books, and coffee.

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