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Incumbents on top in area school board elections

Newport-Mesa Unified School District candidates, from left in each row: Charlene Metoyer, Michelle Murphy and Gina Nick (top row); Karen Yelsey, Michelle Barto, Ashley Anderson and Diane “Dee Dee” RuoRock. Not pictured: Paul Hillson and Bertha Rodriguez.
(File and courtesy photos)

As election results poured in Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, incumbents led in most local school board races.

All six area elementary and high school districts had board seats up for bid this year, as did the Coast Community College District.

Newport-Mesa Unified School District

For the first time, Newport-Mesa Unified School District trustees were elected by voting areas. Results showed incumbents Charlene Metoyer (Area 2) and Karen Yelsey (Area 4) reclaiming their seats, while newcomers Michelle Barto and Ashley Anderson were victorious in Areas 5 and 7, respectively.

Nine candidates vied for four available seats. The seven-member board governs 32 schools in Costa Mesa and Newport Beach.


The most contentious race was in Area 4, which includes Anderson, Harbor View, Lincoln and Newport Coast elementary schools. Yelsey, a 12-year trustee, was challenged by Gina Nick, a medical practice owner. During the campaign, Yelsey drew attention to Nick’s history of personal bankruptcies, while Nick claimed Yelsey broke a “promise” to limit her terms on the board.

With all precincts reporting early Wednesday, Yelsey has 69.5% of the vote, while Nick had 30.5%.

“I’m obviously pleased with the outcome, but mostly I’m appreciative of all the support I’ve received from my community,” Yelsey said at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. “Now I look forward to getting back to doing the job I was elected to do.”

In Area 2, which includes College Park, Davis Magnet, Paularino and Sonora elementary schools, plus Costa Mesa middle and high schools, Metoyer, a retired principal and teacher, led challenger Michelle Murphy with 54.2% of the vote.


In Area 5, which includes Newport Harbor High, Ensign Intermediate and Newport Elementary schools, Barto, a small-business owner and web developer, had 62.5% of the vote, leading Paul Hillson.

In Area 7, which includes Pomona, Rea, Victoria, Whittier and Wilson Elementary schools, Anderson, a nonprofit director, collected 63.4% of the vote, beating Bertha Rodriguez and Diane “Dee Dee” RuoRock.

Coast Community College District

For the first time, trustees of the Coast Community College District were elected by voting areas.

Incumbent David Grant ran unopposed in Area 5, which includes Newport Beach and part of Costa Mesa.

In Area 1, which includes Long Beach, Seal Beach and Westminster, incumbent Jim Moreno, a 12-year trustee, defeated his opponent, Dom Pham, with 72.9% of the vote.

The five-member board governs Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, Golden West College in Huntington Beach and Coastline College in Fountain Valley.

Fountain Valley School District

Voters were asked to choose three candidates from a pool of four for the Fountain Valley School District board.

Incumbent Sandra Crandall, a retired teacher, was in first position with 30.1% of the vote with all precincts reporting. Following were fellow incumbents Jim Cunneen and Lisa Schultz, who garnered 26.3% and 24.9%, respectively. Trailing them was challenger Jennifer Weimer.


The five-member board governs seven elementary and three middle schools.

Huntington Beach City School District

The Huntington Beach City School District board had five candidates vying for three available seats.

Leading with 25.4% of the vote was incumbent and retired school principal Paul Morrow, followed by retired teacher Diana Marks with 21% and incumbent Shari Kowalke with 20.1%. Behind them were Jennifer Hayden and Karrie Burroughs.

The five-member board governs two middle schools and seven elementary schools.

Huntington Beach Union High School District

Three seats were available on the five-member board of the Huntington Beach Union High School District.

The top three vote-earners with all precincts reporting were incumbent Bonnie Castrey with 23.7%, retired teacher and principal Diana Lee Carey with 23.2% and incumbent Duane Dishno, a retired superintendent of the Huntington Beach City School District, with 22.2%. Behind them were Martin Salgado and Saul Edward Lankster.

The board governs six comprehensive and three continuation high schools in Huntington Beach, Westminster and Fountain Valley.

Laguna Beach Unified School District

Five candidates ran for three available seats on the Laguna Beach Unified School District’s five-member board.


The latest results showed incumbent Carol Normandin in the top position with 22.6% of the vote, followed by fellow incumbent Dee Namba Perry with 21.9% and former Menlo College president James Kelly with 21.1%. Behind them were Christine de Bretteville and Mark Nelson.

The board governs one middle school, one high school and two elementary schools.

Ocean View School District

Voters were asked to select three candidates from a pool of five to serve on the Ocean View School District board.

Incumbents Patricia Singer, John Briscoe and Jack Souders held the top spots, notching 24.5%, 22% and 21.2% of votes, respectively.

Challengers Gracey Van Der Mark and Kate Holmes followed.

Singer sought election after being appointed to the board this year.

Briscoe also was the Republican candidate for the 47th Congressional District seat but was defeated by incumbent Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach).

The five-member board oversees two preschools, 11 elementary schools and four middle schools in Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, Midway City and Westminster.

Twitter @CharityNLindsey