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Election 2018: Meet the candidates for the Huntington Beach Union High School District board

Huntington Beach Union High School District candidates, from left in each row: Bonnie Castrey and Duane Dishno (top row); Martin Salgado and Diana Lee Carey. Not pictured: Saul Edward Lankster.
(Courtesy Photos)

Three members will be elected in November to the five-member board for the Huntington Beach Union High School District, which governs six comprehensive and three continuation high schools in Huntington Beach, Westminster and Fountain Valley.

Trustees Bonnie Castrey and Duane Dishno are seeking reelection; trustee Kathleen Iverson is not.

The incumbents are being challenged by candidates Martin Salgado, Diana Lee Carey and Saul Edward Lankster.

The Daily Pilot sent a questionnaire to candidates to get a better idea of who they are, why they’re running and what issues they feel are most pressing. Some responses have been edited for formatting, brevity or clarity.


Castrey did not respond, and Lankster could not be reached.

Diana Lee Carey

Age: Did not answer

Professional occupation: Retired high school biology and health instructor; high school and adult school principal; district director for second-language learning; district director for drug, alcohol and violence prevention

Time lived in the district: Since 1973


Neighborhood in which you live, and how long you’ve lived there: Did not answer

Public service, activism and volunteerism: Westminster City Council; Westminster Citizen of the Year; Westminster Measure SS Oversight Committee; 2018 California Assembly Woman of Distinction for Education and the Arts; Friends of the Rose Center Theater; Marine Corps 3b Family Support Project; California Assembly Woman of the Year for charitable work; citizens oversight committees for Westminster School District, Ocean View School District, Coastline Community College

Immediate family members: Did not answer

What are three issues you believe are the most important facing the district and why?

1. Maintaining curricular options to serve the diverse school communities within a district that includes the cities of Huntington Beach, Westminster and Fountain Valley, with an emphasis on STEAM courses [science, technology, engineering, arts and math] relating to college prep and job training, is essential for future student success.

2. School safety programs that enable staff to identify students that are stressed, in crisis or have psychological needs — along with individual school emergency safety plans and procedures — will help students and their families feel safe and secure.

3. Incorporating green technologies into site maintenance will help reduce costs.

Bonnie Castrey

Did not respond.


Duane Dishno

Age: 76

Professional occupation: Retired superintendent, Huntington Beach City School District; teacher, reading specialist and learning analyst, Westminster School District; principal, director of special education and assistant superintendent, Huntington Beach City School District; instructor in master’s program, Cal State Los Angeles

Education: Doctor of Education, University of La Verne; master’s degree in education, Cal State Long Beach; Bachelor of Arts in education, Eastern Washington University

Time lived in the district: 50 years

Neighborhood in which you live, and how long you’ve lived there: Seacliff in Huntington Beach, 20 years

Public service, activism and volunteerism: Huntington Beach Union High School District board; Huntington Union Council PTA Student Advocacy Program; PTSA; American Heart Assn., Huntington-Valley Division; Assn. for Retarded Citizens; United Way Schools Division; Huntington Beach Anti-Crime Coalition; West Region Subcommittee on Gangs; Mayor’s Task Force on Children’s Needs; Huntington Beach Pier Plaza Grand Opening Committee; Huntington Beach Integrated Infrastructure Advisory Committee; Huntington Beach Centennial Celebration Committee; Huntington Beach City School District Independent Citizens Oversight Committee; Promoting Resources in Drug Education board; Huntington Beach Education Foundation; University of La Verne Doctoral Assn.; Boys Club of San Gabriel Valley; Huntington Beach Collaborative Steering Committee; Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce; San Dimas Historical Society, El Monte Council of PTAs; South El Monte Mayor’s Task Force on Crime and Drugs; Assn. of California School Administrators; Orange County Superintendents Committee; East San Gabriel Valley Superintendents Assn.

Immediate family members: Wife Pauline, two sons, four grandchildren

What are three issues you believe are the most important facing the district and why?


1. Increase academic achievement. There is a need to continue efforts to identify and remove barriers to student success. This includes increasing A-G completion rates, implementing additional STEAM education initiatives, expanding Career Technical Education awareness and participation in pathway courses, increasing participation in Advanced Placement courses, expanding the Dual Enrollment Program with community colleges, making sure English-learners and students with disabilities have access to the full range of college preparatory courses, and increasing college enrollments immediately after high school.

2. Provide interventions to support and narrow the achievement gap for English-learners, low-income, foster youth and students with disabilities. We need to provide research-based systems of support for all students to continue decreasing the number of students transferred to programs outside of our district and to narrow achievement gaps. Interventions must be in place to support all students. This requires continuing to decrease suspension and expulsion rates, addressing school safety and connectedness issues, reducing absenteeism rates, providing professional development for staff, expanding credit recovery and use of the Early Warning System to identify struggling students, and providing more educational opportunities for parents through the Parent University.

3. Ensure a clean, safe and positive climate that supports the academic, emotional and physical needs of every student. There is often a greater focus on addressing academic needs. However, students’ emotional and physical needs are an important aspect of academic success. Nurses, psychologists, counselors, wellness specialists and other support staff must be in place for every student with a need for their services.

Saul Edward Lankster

Could not be reached.

Martin Salgado

Age:​ 27

Professional occupation: English teacher, Cypress College and Cerritos College

Education: Master’s degree in English; Bachelor of Arts in English education

Time lived in the district: 24 years

Neighborhood in which you live, and how long you’ve lived there:​ Edison High School/Sowers neighborhood in Huntington Beach, seven years

Public service, activism and volunteerism: Faculty Senate, Planning and Budget Committee and Creative Writing Committee, Cerritos College; Academic Affairs Committee, Humanities and Fine Arts College senator and Student Academic Senate, Cal State Chico

Immediate family members: Did not answer

What are the three issues you believe are the most important facing the district and why?

1. Ensuring the wellness and safety of our students, teachers and staff on all school sites. As a teacher who is on the frontlines in the classroom every day, I know the importance of building coalitions with our community’s first-responder units and supporting the mental and physical health needs of every student.

2. Support and expand alternative pathways to success such as Career Technical Education, Regional Occupational Program and Dual Enrollment Program. In our current society, we can help students gain college classroom experience with dual enrollment while in high school, and we should encourage students to develop skills that pair with their education, such as wood shop, automotive and welding skills.

3. We must always involve teachers and families to help guide our students. As a board of trustees candidate, I understand that transparency and communication is key to the student’s success, and I will always listen and work to build our community with my leadership skills and an open heart.

Twitter: @vegapriscella