ENCINITAS — The Encinitas Union School District board will have its hands full tonight, as it must select a person from a field of 12 well-qualified candidates to fill the vacancy on the board left by former board member Maureen “Mo” Muir.
Muir was recently elected to the San Dieguito Union High School District board, which created an opening on the elementary school district board.
The School Board will meet at 6 p.m. and conduct interviews with the 12 and appoint one of them to the board all in the same night.
The applicants come from an array of backgrounds with various levels of experience and community service. Several of them have received the endorsement of prominent local officials.
- Korri S. Ball – A stay-at-home Carlsbad mother who serves at the PTA president at El Camino Creek Elementary, as well as the co-founder and coach of Future Problem Solvers, a program at the school. She has served as a room parent at ECC six times and also has been a Boy Scouts den leader. Originally from Utah, Ball was the chairwoman of the Young Republicans National Federation and served as office manager and scheduler for the elections office of former U.S. Rep. Enid Greene Mickelsen.
- Jay Bell – Bell, who lives in Carlsbad, is currently an executive with Telacu, one of the nation’s largest community development corporation. Telacu spearheaded the multi-million dollar renovation of Rancho Santa Fe’s Roger Rowe School, which was completed in 2010. Listing current Carlsbad Unified School District board member Claudine Jones and former superintendent John Roach as references, Bell was the fundraising chair for the Proposition P bond campaign, which raised $100,000 for the Prop. P campaign. As an aside, Bell co-hosted with Carol Skiljan, among others, a 2013 lunch reception with State Superintendent Tom Torlakson to hear his “midterm report.”
- Carolyn Coddington – A market research executive originally from New York, Coddington touts her experience in that field as unique among the field of candidates. She lists building trust and transparency as among the most important things she would bring to the board, and suggests building trust with community via “face-to-face interactions, online discussion boards and consistent and frequent community reports and emails.”
- Toni DeCarlo – The Encinitas woman serves as an administrative secretary at Torrey Pines High School and serves as board member of the Presidio Soccer League as well as involved with a number of philanthropic endeavors. She touts her 20 years as an Encinitas resident, familiarity with the area and her experience in various soccer leagues as giving her good insight into the local youth as well as the needs of the school district.
- Steve Gerken — The Encinitas scientist and pharmaceutical executive once served in elected office in Utah, where he was member of the Emigration Canyon Community Council. Additionally, he has served as a volunteer reading and science teacher, and was among the leaders of the effort to install sidewalks along Quail Gardens Drive near what is now the Encinitas Union School District Farm Lab. He also served as chair and a member of the EUSD Proposition P bond oversight committee.
- Chris Girand – The Encinitas man is an instructor at UC Irvine and is a member of the Chartered Financial Analyst Society of San Diego, and a former president of the San Diego chapter of the American Association of Individual Investors. Earlier in life, Girand was a guitarist in a well-known Austin band, Michael E. Johnson and the Killer Bees. He volunteers at Paul Ecke Central Elementary School, and his philosophy on the role of a school board member is simple, “The teachers work for the administrators. The administrators work for the school board. The school board works for the children. The buck stops here.”
- Jennifer Hamler – The Carlsbad woman was the lone challenger against the three EUSD incumbents, placing fourth in the Nov. 4 election. She was endorsed by Muir, who left the school board after being elected to the San Dieguito Union High School District board. Hamler, who lists Kristin Gaspar as one of her references, owns the La Costa Kids retail store in Encinitas, was a former teacher in Arizona, and is involved in a number of organizations, including the Magdalena Ecke YMCA and the Chamber of Commerce. She is a PTA member at El Camino Creek.
- Daniel R Lowe – The Encinitas man is an Air Force veteran and a business owner. He touts his engineering background as well as his role as an active parent of a EUSD student.
- Patricia Sinay – The Encinitas woman is the founder of Community Investment Strategies, a firm that links nonprofits, corporations, government agencies and foundations for a number of endeavors. Her community service involvement includes such organizations as First 5 of San Diego and Head Start. She also serves as a lecturer at UC San Diego. Jim Farley, the executive director of the Leichtag Foundation, is listed as a reference on her application. She currently serves on the PTA board at Paul Ecke Central and is the board’s English Language Advisory committee representative.
- Rimga Viskanta, The Encinitas accounts manager served on the Proposition P Advisory committee, the EUSD Wellness Committee, co-organizes the Ocean Knoll Jog-A-Thon, volunteers as an art teacher at Ocean Knoll, and ran for the San Dieguito Union High School District board in 2014.
- Anthony Wiege – The stay-at-home dad is the husband of Olivenhain Water District general manager Kim Thorner, and lists Thorner and board member Christy Guerin as references on his application. Wiege volunteered for the YMCA/EUSD Playground Partners from 2011 to 2014, and has been a very active parent volunteer at Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary School. Wiege is a Navy veteran and used to work as an electrician and electrical engineer.
- Katrina Young, Carlsbad – The El Camino Creek parent was recently chosen by the San Dieguito Union High School District board to sit on a committee to explore enrollment alternatives, and has been involved with a number of school and philanthropic endeavors, most notably her work with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which she started when her son was diagnosed in 2000 with the disease. She helped raise $250,000 for cystic fibrosis research through the foundation’s signature fundraising event. She lists Cajon Valley Union School District Superintendent David Miyashiro as one of her references.