Voters had the opportunity on Tuesday to choose several new faces that will govern the local education scene, electing two new representatives to the Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees and another as Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools.
Former Turlock City Council member Mary Jackson and structural engineer Jeffrey Cortinas both won races to represent TUSD Area 4 and Area 6, respectively, while Stanislaus County Office of Education Assistant Superintendent Scott Kuykendall earned a victory in the race to become superintendent of schools.
As of Wednesday, there were still 80,000 ballots to be processed in Stanislaus County, and superintendent-elect Kuykendall said he was “carefully optimistic” about the election results. Following Friday’s updated count, about 15,000 vote by mail and provisional ballots are still left to be counted.
“I want to thank the people of Stanislaus County who voted for me and trust me to be the next superintendent of schools,” Kuykendall said. “My pledge to the people of this county, to the 25 separate school districts in our county, to the teachers and staff at our many schools, large and small, is to act thoughtfully, to listen to concerns and to work in partnerships with our districts, our teachers, our administrators and most of all our parents.”
Kuykendall also commended his opponent, Gratton School District Superintendent Shannon Sanford, for her efforts in the race and wished her well as she continues to lead Gratton. As of the most recent count from the County’s elections office on Friday, Kuykendall had received 54.19 percent of the vote, or 67,633 votes, and Sanford had received 45.26 percent of the vote, or 56,486 votes.
In the race for TUSD Area 4, Jackson emerged victorious against competitors including retired educator Susan Thomas, former TUSD Trustee Eileen Hamilton and math teacher Travis Walsh. As of Friday, 37.35 percent of the ballots were in Jackson’s favor with 1,303 votes total. Walsh followed behind with 915 votes, or 26.23 percent of the vote.
Jackson served on Turlock’s City Council from 2008-2012 and has also taught at the high school and community college levels.
“I’m so thankful for the outpouring of support I’ve received and to my volunteers, friends and family members who helped with my school board campaign,” Jackson said. “I’m humbled and grateful for the opportunity to serve our community.”
Cortinas, who bought his first home in Turlock after college and now manages a small start up engineering firm in town, defeated business consultant Keristofer Seryani in the election for TUSD Area 6. The most recent vote totals show that Cortinas received 55.27 percent of the vote, or 1,522 votes, and Seryani received 1,203 votes for 43.68 percent of the total votes cast.
Cortinas said he was surprised at how overwhelmingly he was supported.
“I would like to thank the parents, teachers and community for supporting and trusting me with this valuable position,” he said. “I look forward to making a positive impact and working towards improving our already great school district.”
Cortinas and Jackson will be sworn in during the Dec. 11 TUSD Board of Trustees meeting.