Four seats up for election in high school district

Skye Kinkade

The terms of four Siskiyou Union High School District trustees will expire in November, and their seats will be up for grabs in the Nov. 6 General Election.

Incumbents Linda Wallace, Sue Tavalero and Jay Clark each said they plan to run for reelection. Those interested in challenging them have until Aug. 10 to file paperwork with Siskiyou County Clerk Colleen Setzer.

In addition, the seat of trustee Joe Blevins, who passed away in June, will also be filled during the election. His wife, Jana, a retired school secretary, is so far the only person to file candidacy papers to become his replacement. She said she feels she’d be the natural replacement for Joe, and pointed out she hasn’t missed more than a few board meetings in 20 years.

Also throwing his name into the election ring is Gregg Gunkel, retired teacher, school administrator and former principal of Mount Shasta High School. He’ll face current Area 2 representative Wallace in the election.

Gunkel said he’d like to share the experience he gained during 33 years in the education world, especially in light of the incredibly difficult economic times public education is facing.

Wallace, a retired teacher of 20 years and longtime Mount Shasta resident, was first elected in 2008 and represents the Mount Shasta area.

“I’ve been proactive all my life,” said Wallace. “I enjoy helping to improve the educational experience for the students in our communities, as well as improve the educational profession.”

Wallace also said she enjoys communicating and working with support personnel, staff, administrators and fellow board members.

Both Wallace and Gunkel have both already filed their paperwork with the county.

Weed’s Tavalero confirmed that she will be running again to represent the district’s Area 1. She was first elected in 2008 and has served as SUHSD board president for the past year.

“I do it for the kids,” Tavalero said. “It’s all about the kids, and what’s best for them.”

Though both of her own children graduated from Weed High School in 2011, Tavalero said serving on the board is something she enjoys.

The most pressing issues facing the district right now are a decline in enrollment and the dwindling state budget.

“Siskiyou Union High School District is doing some very good things,” Tavalero said. “I’m excited to be a part of this board.”

Area 3 trustee Clark, who represents the Happy Camp area, also confirmed that he will be going for reelection. So far, no one has filed to challenge him.

Those who are elected in November will work with trustees Margaret DeBortoli, John Hines and Lori Harch.

How to run

To run for any of the available positions on the SUHSD board, candidates must be registered voters within the area they will be representing.

Open seats will include two full terms in Area 1 (the Weed area), one full term in Area 2 (the Mount Shasta area) and one full term in Area 3 (the Happy Camp area).

All terms will expire in 2016.

SUHSD board meetings occur regularly on the second Wednesday of each month at rotating campuses, including at Mount Shasta, Weed, McCloud and Happy Camp high schools.

More information about how to run can be found on Setzer’s website,