Election 2016: Ocean View School District board president takes on 4 in race for 2 seats

The Nov. 8 election for two seats on the Ocean View School District board features one incumbent and four challengers.

Board President Gina Clayton-Tarvin was elected in 2012 and became president in 2014.


Retired businessman and former trustee Norm Westwell, Realtor Patricia Singer, asset manager Kathryn Gonzalez and social worker Amalia Lam also are trying to win a spot.

Trustee Debbie Cotton's seat is available because she is not seeking reelection.




An earlier version of this article stated that Trustee Debbie Cotton's seat is available because she is termed out. In fact, there are no term limits and Cotton is not seeking reelection.


The district contains 11 elementary schools, four middle schools and two preschools in Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, Midway City and Westminster.

Here are the candidates in the order they appear on the ballot:

Norm Westwell

Age: 57

Professional occupation: Retired businessman

Education: Associate degree

Time lived in city of residence: 41 years

Previous public service: Two terms as board member, Ocean View School District, 2007-12; four years as member of Huntington Beach Community Services Commission

Immediate family: Wife, son, daughter, father, mother, brother

What are three things you hope to achieve if elected?

1. Return the focus of the district to the children, where it belongs.

2. Stop the reckless deficit spending.

3. Protect property values by ensuring we have great schools again.

Patricia Singer

Age: 33

Professional occupation: Realtor

Education: Some community college

Time lived in city of residence: 10 years in Huntington Beach

Previous public service: Third year as PTO president for Lake View Elementary School; third year as PTO/PTSO/PTA Ocean View district roundtable president

Immediate family: Married for 12 years, two children attending Ocean View School District schools

What are three things you hope to achieve if elected?

1. Class-size reductions. With the election of Jack Souders and Joe Gaglione to the OVSD school board in 2014, a new top-level district administrative team and school board President Gina Clayton-Tarvin, the district has made a concerted effort to decrease kindergarten to third-grade class sizes. To give our students the opportunities to be more successful, I will work to ensure smaller class sizes across all grade levels.

2. Balanced budget. As a former member of the 2014 Ocean View School District Budget Committee advisory board, I know the district's revenues and expenditures well. Transparency and fiscal oversight are of utmost importance to ensure our tax dollars are spent in our classrooms to help our students thrive.

3. Empower parents and the community. I will be accessible to parents to make sure your voices are heard, and will continue efforts to build a collaborative working environment that gets the community involved in our local schools. To compete in the 21st century, our students need a well-rounded education, and having access to a community of experts is a resource we must utilize more often.

Gina Clayton-Tarvin

Age: 45

Professional occupation: Sixth-grade teacher, president of Ocean View School District board of trustees

Education: Bachelors of arts, anthropology; CA multiple subjects credential; CA biology single subjects credential; CSBA Masters of Governance

Time lived in city of residence: 25 years

Previous public service: ABC Federation of Teachers, vice president; California School Boards Assn., Delegate Assembly; Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, delegate; Hope View Elementary School PTO, parent volunteer; Lake View Elementary School PTO, volunteer; Circle View Elementary School PTO, volunteer; Mesa View Middle School PTSO, parent volunteer; Cerritos Elementary School PTA, teacher and volunteer; Ocean View Little League, volunteer; AYSO Region 55, volunteer; San Diego County Republican Women; Democratic Club of West Orange County; Surf City Optimist Club

Immediate family: Husband Darrick Tarvin, sons Tony and Max

What are three things you hope to achieve if elected?

1. Continue to foster an environment in the Ocean View School District that produces increased and measurable student achievement and test scores through clear and high standards, strong and stable leadership, collaborative teams and committed teachers and staff focused on student learning.

2. Continue to reduce class sizes in pre-kindergarten through third grade, keeping the focus on students and learning while creating innovative and enriching offerings in art, music and after-school programs. I am proud of the opening of our Lake View STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) program and intend to add more magnets such as language immersion and the expansion of the renowned OVSD GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) program.

3. Fiduciary accountability. I am proud of the fact that even through challenging times, Ocean View has been able to maintain a stable budget with a positive certification from the Orange County Department of Education. Through conservative budgeting and responsible management, we will continue the progress we have made to move OVSD into the 21st century.

Kathryn Gonzalez

Age: 33

Professional occupation: Asset manager

Education: Associate degree in communication studies, with honors. Currently obtaining a bachelor of arts in communication, culture and public affairs, with a minor in philosophy of law

Time lived in city of residence: About 10 years

Previous public service: Therapeutic Riding Center of Huntington Beach; Project Linus; AIDS/LifeCycle traffic captain; Cards for Senior Citizens; Adopt a Family (Christmas and Thanksgiving); Ronald McDonald House in Orange County; Toys for Tots

Immediate family: Not stated

What are three things you hope to achieve if elected?

1. Accountability and transparency.

2. Balanced budget — a stop to deficit spending without further debt to taxpayers.

3. Children and classrooms as the top priority. Test scores are down across the district. OVSD is no longer a leader in the county, state or nation.

Amalia Lam

Age: 40


Professional occupation: Social worker


Education: Master's in social work, USC

Time lived in city of residence: 13 years

Previous public service: 2016, volunteer team mom, AYSO Region 59; presidential appointment to the Selective Service System; 2013, secretary, Spanish Speaking Workers Forum; 2013-14, USC School of Social Work Student Organization; 2016, member, Alumni Circle, Mater Dei High School; since 2010, volunteer at Career Day, Mater Dei High School; since the 1990s, volunteer at HOPE, a nonprofit food bank in Huntington Beach

Immediate family: Mother, father, three brothers

What are three things you hope to achieve if elected?

1. Promote additional services to special education and related services for our parents who have children with special needs. Our teachers need additional local and state resources available to them in their classrooms to provide our students the best education possible.

2. Address ongoing bullying problems in our schools. Create a supplement program to school policies that not only addresses the student who is being bullied but works with the student who is the bully.

3. Additional after-school programs focusing on exercise and healthy activities.

Twitter: @AlexandraChan10