Orange County Education Board Incumbents Lead Race

Orange County Education Board Incumbents Lead Race

(L-R) The Orange County Board of Education trustees Tim Shaw, Lisa Sparks, Jorge Valdes, Mari Barke, Ken Williams, and the county Superintendent of Schools Al Mijares during a meeting at the Orange County Department of Education in Costa Mesa, Calif., on Aug. 17, 2022. (Micaela Ricaforte/The Epoch Times)

Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

3/9/2024

Updated: 3/10/2024

The Orange County Education Board’s three incumbents are leading in unofficial results in the March 5 primary election.
Trustee Jorge Valdes, an attorney who was appointed to the board in August 2022 after former Trustee Beckie Gomez resigned due to a conflict of interest, is leading the race for Trustee Area 1—which covers Tustin, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, and Garden Grove—with 59 percent of the vote, per the latest update from the Orange County registrar recorder March 8 at 6:30 p.m.
His opponent, non-profit executive Beatriz Mendoza, has 41 percent.
For Area 3, which covers Brea, Foothill Ranch, Irvine, Orange, Villa Park, Portola Hills, and Yorba Linda, Trustee Ken Williams—a physician and educator, who was elected to the board in 1996 and re-elected in 2020—leads with 54 over opponent Nancy Watkins, a public high school teacher, with 46 percent.
Candidates who receive the most votes in these races, win outright. Although the votes are not yet finalized, Mr. Williams already claimed victory.
“I am blessed to have been reelected to my seat on the board of education,” he said. “My entire focus of the campaign was on the need to protect the innocence of children, and the rights of parents to direct the upbringing of their children. This was an election also about the rights of parents to choose where their kids go to school. I have been and will always be a strong advocate of public charter schools and parental choice.”
For Area 4, which covers Anaheim, Buena Park, Fullerton, La Habra, and Placentia, incumbent Tim Shaw, a political science professor, had 60.9 percent of the vote over his opponent, David Johnson, a former Westminster school board president, at 39.1 percent.
Mr. Shaw was elected to the board in 2020. In November 2021, however, he stepped down due to a legal challenge regarding holding two elected positions simultaneously—one on the board and the other on the La Habra City Council.
He resigned from the city council shortly thereafter and was re-appointed to the education board a few weeks later by his fellow trustees.
Trustees listen to guest speakers at the Orange County Board of Education building in Costa Mesa, Calif., on Sept. 20, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Trustees listen to guest speakers at the Orange County Board of Education building in Costa Mesa, Calif., on Sept. 20, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

He had been on the La Habra City Council for 13 years and served as the city’s mayor in both 2012 and 2018.
He too celebrated what appears to be an overwhelming victory.
“I am grateful the voters of [Area 4] placed their trust in me to represent them on the Orange County Board of Education for another term,” Mr. Shaw said in a statement March 8 to The Epoch Times. “I am excited to work with my terrific colleagues on the Board to continue our work promoting academic excellence throughout Orange County.”
Mr. Valdes, the area 1 frontrunner, was not immediately available for comment.
Election results will be updated every weekday at 5 p.m. until they are certified on or before April 2, according to the county registrar’s website.
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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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