Get to Know the Candidates for CUSD Board Elections

In just a month, new faces will join the Clovis Unified School Board of Trustees. Candidates are running for three spots available on the board.

Eight candidates are running, two of those candidates are running for re-election for their current position.

Trustee of Area 2, Ginny Hovsepian, will be retiring from the board; she has been a board member since 1991.

The two candidates are running for her place. One of them being Jacob Trumble; 19, a college student that works part-time at the Fresno Yosemite Airport.

The other is David DeFrank, a father of five and an attorney for the California Court of Appeal.

“David has the character, judgment, and backbone we need on the school board now more than ever,” says Hovsepian, who endorses DeFrank to take her place.

“I’m grateful to have Ginny Hovsepian’s support after decades of dedicated service on the school board. She has been a true champion of our award-winning district. Ginny leaves some big shoes to fill,” says David DeFrank, running trustee.

In Area 4 for Hugh Awtrey, the incumbent will be running against opponents Noha Elbaz and Jonathan Holt.

Awtrey has been on the board for a year. He supports local control and determines to see kids back in school.

“I believe in having the ability to decide for yourself how kids should learn, especially when local health experts deem returning to the classroom is safe,” says Awtrey.

He is taking steps to get kids into the classroom again by voting in favor of submitting a waiver application to get K-6 back in schools.

Noha Elbaz is the only one of her opponents to have a background in education. Elbaz has traveled most of her life; at one point, she joined a program called Teach for America to help underprivileged school districts.

“I think it’s really important that our district is growing, and our district is diversifying that we have a good representation of that. I do strongly believe we need to practice for training in place for our teachers, our administration, and students themselves to have a better understanding of what diversity and equity is,” says Elbaz.

Jonathan Holt shares the same concern about getting kids back into school with Zoom classrooms, becoming a daily frustration.

He said that he would like to introduce career tech and vocational opportunities for students if he is elected. He says the reason is essential because not all students are geared to enroll in a four-year college. Allowing students to be exposed to or develop a trade will help them be productive members of the community in the future.

In Area 5, Steven Fogg has no running opponent; his name will not be on the ballot. He is working on getting teachers back into school and doing what they love. He has been the school board’s voice to promote change and policy to protect students against discrimination.

In Area 7, Christopher Casado, the incumbent, has been on the board since 2008. He holds the second-longest duration on the board next to Betsy Sandoval of Area 6.

Yolanda Moore, a mother of three, said she is equipped to take a board seat. With her medical background, she can provide assets to the board during the pandemic.

“When I had to look back on where I served my time and community it always surrounds kids. Even in high school I would volunteer in the NICU and be a baby cuddler…and being a girl scout troop leader and room parent. I volunteered in a pediatric clinic for years…kids are my heart, so the school board is just more of the same for me,” says Moore.

She is an advocate for those historically less represented academically, racially, and emotionally as she has said during her campaigning. She will be running against Casado.

Election day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

Tori Lavon is a Multimedia Journalist from Reedley, California. She received her Bachelor's in Mass Communications and Journalism with an emphasis in Broadcasting from California State University, Fresno. Currently, she is a radio intern at One Putt Broadcasting. On occasion, Tori has the opportunity to be on-air with talent. She is getting her start in media. She has a passion for reporting, photography, and videography. Tori also has a love for art; she loves to draw, paint, and does pottery on the side. One day she hopes she can be on-air talent at a radio station as well.