LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The June 14 primary election provides voters with an opportunity to set the direction of education in Clark County.
It’s a referendum after divisive years that have seen squabbles among members of the Clark County School District Board of Trustees.
The three incumbents up for re-election — Board President Irene Cepeda in District D, Trustee Danielle Ford in District F and Trustee Linda Cavazos in District G — all voted to terminate Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara’s contract when it came before the board in late October of 2021.
That decision was thrown out three weeks later, with Cepeda changing her vote and Jara deciding to remain.
It’s a nonpartisan primary, so any candidate winning a majority of the vote will win election to the board. More likely, the races will go to a runoff in the general election.
The District F race is particularly crowded, with nine challengers who are running against Ford.
Here’s a look at who is running for each of the seats (click on the name to see their campaign website):
- Irene Cepeda: (incumbent) Her campaign website emphasizes “good governance,” “decorum and civility” and “student-centered outcomes.”
- Steven Conger: He cites six years of classroom experience, and says parents should have the final voice in their children’s education.
- Tavorra Elliott (no website)
- Fernando Romero: He cites experience with three School Organizing Teams as he children went through the district. His website emphasizes involvement … he “shows up.”
- Brenda Zamora: A parent who has been active with the School Organizing Team at her children’s schools.
- Danielle Ford: (incumbent) An outspoken critic of Jara and some board members, Ford promises she will continue to speak out if re-elected.
- Irene Bustamante Adams: Former Nevada State Assembly member cites business experience with goals of getting back to basics, supporting students and staff, and increasing access to alternative careers.
- Jamil Bey (no website)
- Jaylon Calhoun (no website) A former football and soccer coach who worked as a bus driver and computer technician at CCSD. Calhoun served in the military and lost a bid for Nevada Assembly in 2020. His experience includes working as an IT professional and business owner.
- David Coram: With a background in education and law enforcement, Coram states three main goals: dig into the budget to increase student benefit, teacher retention and recruitment, and a districtwide curriculum review.
- Liam MacCaul: A parent who says schools need to be safe and secure, MacCaul wants the district’s teachers to know they are valued. He stresses accountability and collaboration.
- Kali Fox Miller: An attorney and education advocate, Miller puts priorities on safety, rigorous academics along with career and technical education, and retaining teachers and staff. She lost to Ford in the 2018 election.
- Tammi N. Musemici (no website)
- Erica Neely: A tutor for a national home-school organization, Neely wants to reduce overcrowding in schools, prioritize teacher recruitment and retention, and increase parental involvement in decision-making.
- Tim Vicario: A licensed middle school history teacher at Innovations Charter School, Vicario emphasizes hiring and retaining teachers, reducing class sizes, school security, improving and expanding extracurricular activities, providing support for administrators and increasing transparency at CCSD.
- Linda Cavazos: (incumbent) Appointed to the board in 2017, Cavazos won the District G election in 2018. She taught at Basic High School for 15 years and works part-time as a therapist. One of her goals is to reduce the dropout rate.
- John Carlo (no website)
- Kenneth Freels: Saying he entered the race because he is “fighting for my child’s future and for the education of all CCSD students,” Freels says CCSD overspends and underproduces. He works as a systems engineer and project manager.
- Dominick Giovanni (no website)
- Adam LaRosa: Served in the U.S. Navy and works in the convention industry. LaRosa calls for accountability, supports cameras in the classroom, and a curriculum based on fundamentals. “Leave the politics at home,” he says on his website.
- Charles Summers (no website)
- Greg Wieman: Campaigning on creating a safe learning environment, Wieman’s goals include improving academic achievement, policies that increase the effectiveness of teachers and administrators, and demanding accountability and oversight by the board.