Straight to the top of their class

first_imgWHITTIER – In unusual moves, freshmen trustees have leap-frogged over more experienced colleagues to take leading posts on two local school boards. In both instances, newly elected majorities on the Los Nietos School District and the Rio Hondo Community College District governing boards voted in freshmen for the posts of vice president and clerk – jobs that normally are filled by rotation. At the Los Nietos district, two-year school board member Nicholas Aquino, who was in line to be elected vice president job, was bypassed for the position. Instead, newcomers Diana Villalba and Grisel Vasquez joined with member Oscar Payan to elect Villalba as vice president and Vasquez as clerk. The three also joined to elect Payan as school board president. Payan said he voted for the board members he felt would do the best jobs as president and clerk. “You have to decide who to choose, and you choose the people you believe will do the best job,” said Payan. At the Rio Hondo district, 14-year Rio Hondo board veteran Maria Elena Martinez, who served as vice president last year and was in line for the presidency, was out-voted when newly elected trustees Angela Acosta-Salazar and Garry Couso-Vasquez joined with trustee Gary Mendez. The three board members then elected Mendez as president, Acosta-Salazar as vice president and Couso-Vasquez as clerk. Mendez said the moves were not unusual. “It’ll blow over,” he said. “We’re all humans. We have feelings and opinions and different dispositions. Four years ago, \ came on board and we reorganized and one or two people were upset, but we got over it.” Like Acosta-Salazar and Couso-Vasquez, neither Villalba nor Vasquez have previous experience on a school governing board. Matt Spies, business services coordinator at the Los Angeles County Office of Education, said internal school board elections are “not something set in law.” “These districts can set their own policies on how officers are chosen,” he added. “There is usually a pecking order, for lack of a better term, for those who have been on the board for a while, who are seasoned and experienced. But there’s nothing prohibiting this.” [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3051 AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more