Two West Side candidates have thrown their hats in the ring for the Stanislaus County Board of Education Area 5 seat, currently held by Patterson Mayor Luis Molina.
Adriana Garcia, a community organizer for the Diocese of Stockton, and liaison to Mayor Luis Molina and city administration is vying for the title against Bob Vizzolini, a retired instructor, director, principal and real estate agent, for the West Side position. West Side residents can cast their ballots on Tuesday, Nov. 5 when polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or by vote-by-mail ballot.
Meet the candidates
Adriana Garcia moved to Patterson in 2008 and currently serves as a community organizer for the dioceses of Stockton. She works in collaboration with Congregations Building Communities and People and Communities Together, two inter-faith based organizations that work with congregations around education, healthcare and immigration throughout Stanislaus and San Joaquin County.
Garcia is also a liaison for Mayor Luis Molina to City Administration and youth members. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California Santa Cruz and a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from the University of San Francisco.
Garcia is running for the board of education because she says, when she was 2 years old, her parents immigrated to the United States without a chance to extend their educational efforts.
“Unfortunately, both of my parents did not complete elementary school; instead they entered the job market at the age of 8 to help sustain their family. My parents always stress that an education is the key to success; I believe education is not only key for individual success, but also for the growth of our nation,” she said.
In honor of her parents’ sacrifices, Garcia furthered her education and obtained a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from the University of San Francisco.
Having gone through the educational system most recently, Garcia strongly feels there is a disconnect between the educational needs of local children and the resources that are provided to ensure a well-rounded, quality education. She feels there is a need to develop robust partnerships with community members, parents, teachers, governmental agencies, and the private sector, to improve educational opportunities for all.
She also feels Stanislaus County needs to invest in programs that reincorporate students in alternative schooling back into the traditional educational system, as well as focus on developing an innovative curriculum that is engaging and works to develop stronger analytical and cognitive skills to better prepare students for the job market.
Bob Vizzolini was born in Modesto and raised on the West Side in Patterson and Westley. He has lived in Newman for the past 25 years.
Vizzolini earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and a master of Business Administration degree at CSU Fresno. He has also received a Professional Clear Administrative Services Credential from St. Mary’s College.
He has more than 25 years of teaching and administrative experience in elementary, and post secondary education, mostly in Newman and Patterson, as well as 25 years of private sector experience in real estate, small business proprietorship and corporate administration. He belongs to a series of professional and civic organizations, including acting as the current Club President of the Newman Lions Club since 2011. He has belonged to the Association of California School administrators as well as the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development since the mid-90s.
“I strongly believes that rigorous educational programs must include equally rigorous career and technical components, so that what we ask students to learn is relevant to them and to all stakeholders of the education community,” he said in his statement for candidacy.
Vizzolini was the principal of Valley Charter High School and part of the Stanislaus County Office of Education for six years before retiring in 2010. He states that he is familiar with the operation and responsibilities of SCOE due to his prior experience. As a member of the SCOE Board of Education, his goal will be to ensure that SCOE is an effective and efficient organization that supports school districts throughout the county, especially on the West Side.