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New Paso Robles school board candidates meet the community 

new school board candidates

Community members gathered on Sunday at Centennial Park to listen to three school board candidates state their platforms and reasons for running.

Meet-and-greet held at Centennial Park

– Three candidates who are running for seats on the board of the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District (PRJUSD), met with community members on Sunday.

The forum, held as an informal meet-and-greet event at Centennial Park in Paso Robles, was organized by members of the community who are working to elect new board members who are focused on student success rather than controversial, polarizing topics that are distracting from student welfare and quality education, said organizer Elena Garcia.

“There is a lot on the line,” Garcia said. “In two years, the current superintendent, Curt Dubost, will be retiring. The new school board will be responsible for selecting our next superintendent. The district needs to improve the reputation of the Paso school board in order to attract quality applicants for this position.”

The forum was attended by more than 50 community members, school administrators, teachers, parents, and students, including Paso Robles mayor Steve Martin and current school board member Tim Gearhart.

The three candidates, Jim Cogan, Adelita Hiteshaw, and Sondra Williams are running for contested seats in the upcoming Nov. 8 election.

Jim Cogan is running to represent the newly formed Area 1 which includes all of the communities served by Cappy Culver Elementary. Cogan is a local business owner with two children attending local schools. His priorities for serving on the school board are to guarantee student success and achievement, responsible fiscal practices, and attract and retain great teachers. Cogan serves on the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce board of directors, and the Paso Robles Recreation Foundation board, chairs the Paso Robles Supplemental Sales Tax Oversight Committee and is an elder at Highlands Community Church.

Adelita Hiteshew, a 1999 graduate of Paso Robles High School, is a mother with three children in local schools, a business owner, a paraeducator and serves on PTA boards. Her platform includes fiscal responsibility, maintaining quality teachers and staff, and ensuring that every student has access to a safe, fair, and quality education. Hiteshew is running for the at-large seat against real estate agent Jim Irving and family life pastor Lorene McCoy.

Sondra Williams is running for trustee in Area 4 which includes the communities served by Kermit King Elementary, and North County Cuesta. She is running against current board member Frank Triggs and San Ardo School Superintendent Catherine Reimer. Williams is a lifetime Paso Robles local, a registered nurse, school volunteer, youth cheer program director, community leader, and parent who has raised four children with the Paso Robles school district. Williams’s priorities for the school board are to improve fiscal responsibility and prioritize students’ education and safety through high values for education and teachers.

The three candidates spoke about building trusting relationships with educators and the community, focusing on student success, and maintaining fiscal responsibility.

“The highlight of this event for me was the community who came out,” said Hiteshew. “They listened, and they voiced their concerns and joys about the school district. I can tell that for some people, this is new to them, and that is so inspiring. People are making this election a priority.”

Candidates forum tonight

Cogan, Hiteshaw, and Williams will also be speaking at the upcoming candidate’s forum later today at 7 p.m. at the school district office board room at 800 Niblick Rd., Paso Robles.

Wednesday’s forum is organized by the American Association of University Women and moderated by the League of Women voters. All candidates running for the Paso Robles School District board are expected to be present and the event is open to the public.

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The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at info@pasoroblesdailynews.com.