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Sergio Alejo
Candidate - Monterey County Board of Education Trustee Area 7

Sergio Alejo, Jr. represents Trustee Area Seven, which comprises East Salinas. He was first elected to the Monterey County Board of Education in November, 2013.

He was born and raised in Salinas. He attended Fremont Elementary, El Sausal Middle School, Everett Alvarez High School and Hartnell Community College. Alejo has worked as an event Coordinator/Promoter for the past several years and currently serves as a Board Member for Caminos del Arte, a local arts non-profit organization.  Alejo is a father of three, two daughters and a son.

Felicia Perez-Kausin

Candidate - Hartnell Community College District Trustee Area 5

Felicia Perez Kausin was born and raised in Salinas, and has spent much of her adult life dedicated to giving back to her community.  Her professional life has included sales and marketing experience, product development in a wide range of industries, commercial sales and banking and budget development.

Felicia has served as a philanthropic community volunteer for decades.  She currently serves on:

  • Community Foundation for Monterey County Women’s Fund Impact Committee and Women’s Economic Security Working Group

  • Foundation for MontereyCounty Free Libraries Committee for “Wine & Words”

  • SalinasValley Chamber of Commerce IMPOWER Steering Committee

  • Board of Salinas Rotary Club, District 5230

  • HartnellCollege Foundation Committee for “Party in the Library”


She has also served on the Board of the CentralCoastCenter for Independent Living, the Monterey College of Law Board of Trustees, as Chair for the American Heart Association Circle of Red Event Committee, and on the American Cancer Society Relay for Life Committee.

Candi DePauw

Incumbent - Hartnell Community College District Area 7

I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. My parents instilled in me a strong work ethic and a strong moral conscience,  the later of which taught caring, understanding, fairness, honesty and trustworthiness. My father was transferred to New York  to work with SONJ, so, I graduated from Scarsdale High School in New York, later we returned to Houston. I attended college at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) for two years and then transferred to Texas A & M University (I was the 2nd female to ever be admitted). In 1968, I was married and we moved to Houston, where I finished my undergraduate degree at the University of Houston with a B.S. in Sociology/Political Science. Later, we moved to Fort Collins, Colorado where I studied and graduated with a Masters of  Agriculture in Horticulture. I then moved to Half Moon Bay, CA and began my “plant” career as greenhouse manager; this  eventually brought me to Salinas as greenhouse manager for Sunnyside Nurseries.

In 1981, I added to my resume Labor Relations and moved from the nursery industry to produce, where I spent several years working for Bud Antle, Inc. (under Castle & Cooke, Inc.) Finally bit by the “self-employment” bug, I went out on my own; first, in the retail plant business and then for the last 25 years as a Landscape Contractor, which I still practice.  In 2009, I proudly added Monterey County Ag Education, Inc. to my “to do” list and continue to be the Farm Day Coordinator. Also in 2009,  I threw my hat in the ring to be a Hartnell College Trustee; clearly one of the most rewarding decisions I have ever made.  I hope to continue as the Area 7 representative for the four years.

Phillip Tabera
Incumbent - Salinas Union High School District Area 3

Phillip Tabera has been on the school board for 12 years, running unopposed three times for a third term until 2013.  He is a faculty member with the Mexican American Studies Department at San Jose StateUniversity (13 years), World Languages and Cultures at CaliforniaStateUniversity, MontereyBay (seven years), and as Adjunct Faculty member with PacificOaksCollege, Pasadena, California (two years).

​Board Member Tabera was born and raised in Salinas. He attended Sherwood  Elementary School, El Sausal Junior High School, AlisalHigh School, Hartnell  Community College, the University of California Santa Cruz and San Jose  StateUniversity for undergraduate and graduate degrees in Education, Psychology, Urban Planning and Mexican American Studies.

Evamarie Martinez
Incumbent - Salinas Union High School District Area 5

Evamarie Martinez is a life-long resident of Salinas Valley and Salinas High School graduate. A proud parent with her husband Tony Martinez they have four beautiful children. Mrs. Martinez attended Hartnell College and Salinas Adult School, where she became a licensed nursing assistant working in the health care industry aiding our community seniors since 1994. Currently she is a consultant for Adobe Home Health Inc. Martinez is currently an active member of the Everett Alvarez High School Parent Club. She volunteered to work the first time Non-profit Fireworks booth which helped raise thousands of much needed funds for Alvarez sports. Mrs. Martinez has always possessed a fund raising gift in grant writing which has aided in a number of youth organizations in the community.

Fernando Elizondo
Candidate - Salinas Union High School District Area 7

Fernando Elizondo is an educator with 38 years in the profession including experience as a classroom teacher and university instructor, school principal, and 14 years as a superintendent of schools. He served on the Board of Directors of both the Association of California School Administrators and the American Association of School Administrators, receiving the 2004 Outstanding Superintendent of the Year Award from ACSA Region 10. Fernando was elected to serve on the Ventura Community College Board of Trustees in 1992.

Throughout his career, Dr. Elizondo has demonstrated his leadership skills in strategic planning, addressing budget and curriculum challenges, and working with diverse school district communities.

Maricela Cruz

Candidate - Alisal Union School District Trustee Area 2

Through out the years and experience I’ve learned that if I want change, I need to get involved. That is exactly what I am doing now. It has been too many years of flawed leadership at the Alisal USD. Successful programs have been dismantled. Schools have been named without community input. Nepotism is an everyday normal. Teachers and Classified employees have been disrespected continuously. No contract in years for teachers. Long term classified employees have had their positions eliminated to bring in unqualified, overpaid friends and relatives. No policies in effect for credit card usage, therefore, student money has been spent on alcohol, gifts, and parties. Unbelievably one person on the board is breaking the law by serving on two elected boards which creates a conflict of interest, and no backbone from the trustees to ask him to resign. The news about Alisal USD is most of the time negative due to the poor leadership. Enough is enough! Lets take back our district and let the spotlight shine on our many talented students. Showcase the great teachers that make things happen for our youth. The diversity of our community should be respected and appreciated, keeping them involved as the students are their children. Recognize the qualified staff, consider their input because their amazing work keeps our schools running. For our children, educators, and community, I am running to the finish line with my goal set on victory. Victory for a Change, let’s do this. 

Noemi Armenta

Candidate - Alisal Union School District Trustee Area 3

  • Occupation: Para-Educator

  • Education Attended Hartnell College, High school Certificate, Employee of the year I bring a unique experience to the Alisal Union Schoool District: :

  • Many years as a parent, and 30 an Instructional Aide, and a community Volunteer.

  • I am committed to ensuring that the standards which have been set forth for the AUSD be implemented, to promote achievement and provide teachers the tools and resources needed to empower them to produce successful students. I will do my best to serve as a leader and role model for our community and children. As your Trustee, I will be a responsible advocate for everyone. experience matters when it comes to serving our community.

Guadalupe Guzman
Candidate - Alisal Union School District Trustee Area 5

Sandra Cante

Candidate - Greenfield Unified School District Trustee

I grew up in Greenfield and I am now raising my children here.  As an active member of the PTO at Oak Avenue School I have come to realize the great need our community has for positive and impartial leadership.  I am determined to serve this community and help our schools move forward.  As a parent and community member I want what is best for our kids and will do my best to work hard to attain a better quality education for all of them.


I have been an educator for years working with both general education students and students with special needs.  Being on the front line of education I have seen what it takes to produce quality education.  My experience as a business proprietor and educator has prepared me to be able to collaborate and work with both administration and parents to generate a district we can all be proud of.


My heart and work has always been with children.  I believe that if we do what is right for our children we do what is right for our future.  During this time of transition, we need someone who will put kids first and I know I will.

Maria Castillo

Incumbent - Greenfield Unified School District Trustee

  • Occupation: Incumbent

  • Education and Qualifications: Graduate from Harnell College

  • Completion of Certification on Communication, Working with People from Diverse Backgrounds, Organizational and Management Skills, investment in Excell

  • Strong voices for our children

  • Ensure budget transparency, Promote music, visual arts and sports, Increase parent involvement

  • Advocate for Greenfield children, Give our community a voice and Improve nutritional programs

Sonia Heredia

Incumbent - Greenfield Unified School District Trustee

My name is Sonia Martinez-Heredia. I am a former student of Greenfield Union School District and presently serving as a board member. I grew up in this community and am the mother of 4 children who attend our schools. My legacy is to advocate in the best interest of the students in our community. I bring my knowledge, and experience in advocating for children to nurture their brain and inspire them to become lifelong learners.


My credentials include: Program Director Permit + Pacific Oaks College Bachelor's Degree in Child Development + Chapman and Pacific Oaks Universities Master Degree in Leadership in Education + Pacific Oaks College

It is with honor that I look forward to continuing to serve my community, ensuring that the best decisions are made to support our students' education and well bein and that they are taught by highly qualified personnel.

Jasper DeFranco

Candidate - Salinas City Elementary School District Area 3

Jasper DeFranco is a correctional officer and also sits o the Crime and Justice Institute- Community Resources for Justice  Board, which brings decades of experience developing evidence-based, data-driven policies, managing complex processes with diverse stakeholders, and driving systems-level organizational change. Our energetic staff and network of consultants come from a variety of backgrounds.

Stephen Kim

Candidate - Salinas City Elementary School District Area 5

Stephen H. Kim received his undergraduate B.A. in Psychology from U.C.L.A. in 1995.  He graduated from The Law Center at U.S.C. and received his Juris Doctor in Law in 1998.  Mr. Kim also received a Masters in Business Taxation from the Marshall School of Business at U.S.C. in 2000.

Steve, his wife Yaya and baby Andrew (and another one on the way) live with their large, extended family in Salinas, CA.

Elva Arellano

Incumbent - Santa Rita Union School District

Elva Arellano has been a teacher with the Salinas City Elementary School District 15 years.

John Fickas

Incumbent - Santa Rita Union School District

John Fickas is a successful high school coach, parent and 38 year resident of Salinas who graduated from North Salinas High School and attended Hartnell Community College.

John Fickas his two children and wife Brandee who is a local teacher at North Salinas High School have lived in the Santa Rita School District for over 25 years.

John Fickas has been coaching high school football and track for the last ten years at North Salinas High and Everett Alvarez High School.​

Meri Keiser

Candidate - Santa Rita Union School District

  • From Edgewater, Colorado

  • Former HR Analyst at Monterey Peninsula Community College

  • Former Overseas Telephone Operator at AT&T Long Lines

  • Studied BS Business Management at University of Phoenix​

Eddie Lopez

Incumbent - Soledad Unified School District

As a trustee for the last four years, I have been dedicated to putting our children first and have been a champion of positive change.   I am seeking a second term as a board member.

As a retired educator, I offer an array of knowledge and experience to the school board as a whole.  Overall, my experiences as a teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal, and District Office Administrator have prepared me for the role of an effective school board member.

For the past 34 years I have been an active volunteer in our community, including the past 12 years of raising monies for scholarships that are awarded to SHS seniors.

As a member of the Soledad Unified School District Board, I have been proactive in accountability for all (students, parents, teachers, classified staff, and administrators) in the areas of student achievement, discipline and fiscal management. We have moved all our elementary schools academically above or close to the Academic Performance Index (API) score of 800.  The Board’s expectations are that the middle and high school will soon achieve the academic gains of our elementary schools.  We are in the early stages of upgrading all our school sites with technology infrastructure.  With the passage of the school bond last November, we are in the beginning stages of the planning for a new middle school.

Lucio Rios

Incumbent - Soledad Unified Schol District

  • Occupation: Incumbent

  • Soledad Lions club member

  • CSEA Member

  • Athletic Booster Club member

  • Former Little league coach

  • Former Volunteer Fire Fighter

  • Former YMCA Volunteer

Dean Provence

Candidate - Monterey Peninsula Water Management District Division 1

I have been a resident of, or had ties with, the Monterey Peninsula since my family moved here in 1969. I have been a Realtor for 30 years; proud of the many transactions I have made in helping people become successful homeowners and contributors to the community.

I have been President of the Monterey County Association of Realtors (2007-2008), Realtor of the Year in 2007, and I have served on the Realtor’s Local Government Relations Committee, on the Board of Realtors Political Action Committee, and on the regional caucus of the Realtors’ boards in Monterey, Santa Cruz, Watsonville and Hollister. I have served on the Board of Directors of the MLS Listings Inc., and on the board of the California Association of Realtors.

I am also a volunteer for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament, and a member of the Monterey Elks Lodge.

Bill Thayer

Candidate - Monterey Peninsula Water Management District Division 2

Bill Thayer is the owner of Thayer construction, Inc., a growing company with over 25 years of business and building experience. His business was founded with quality residential homes and has expanded to include commercial buildings. Tahyer's team is comprised of top quality craftsmen and a highly experienced support staff. With high employee turnover being the standard for the construction industry, They're proud of our track record and the reliability of our employees. 

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