WHITTIER – Six local residents have been declared eligible to fill a vacancy in the Whittier Union Board of Trustees created with the retirement of Dr. Ralph S. Pacheco. Pacheco, who currently serves Trustee Area 3 and is the Board’s vice-president, informally announced his retirement during the April 11 Board meeting, which will bring his service to the District to a close after 32 years as a trustee.
Dr. Pacheco submitted his formal resignation letter to Los Angeles County Office of Education Superintendent Dr. Debra Duardo on May 8. His final day as a Whittier Union trustee will be Friday, July 7. Following the formal announcement, the Board unanimously voted in favor of a provisional appointment to fill his seat during a meeting on May 9, setting in motion a comprehensive selection process that gave Trustee Area 3 residents an opportunity to apply for the position.
Responding to a public announcement advertising the vacant Board position, nine potential candidates submitted applications to the Superintendent’s Office during a two-week window that ran from May 15 to May 26. The applications were screened for eligibility during the final week in May and of the original nine applicants, three were found to live outside the Trustee Area boundaries, making them ineligible for the position.
“We wholeheartedly thank the Whittier Union community for their enthusiastic response to filling the vacancy left by Dr. Pacheco’s retirement,” Board President Jaime López said. “We have an excellent pool of candidates, and we look forward to a robust and transparent interview process. Although we will miss our friend and colleague, we are excited for what the future will bring with our new Board trustee.”
Final interviews with the six candidates will be conducted during a special Board meeting, which will be open to the public, on Saturday, June 10 beginning at 8 a.m. The Board will deliberate and cast their votes after the interviews, finalizing the appointment of the provisional trustee.
The candidates for Trustee Area 3 are:
● Josefina Canchola, Santa Fe Springs
● Francis Carbajal, Santa Fe Springs
● Edith Echeverria, Santa Fe Springs
● Marcos Garcia, Santa Fe Springs
● Gabriel Jimenez, Santa Fe Springs
● Dora Sandoval, Norwalk
Whittier Union Superintendent Dr. Monica Oviedo will conduct a candidate orientation session prior to the June 10 special Board meeting to acquaint applicants with specifics about Whittier Union and answer any questions they may have.
On June 10, López will open the meeting to the public, explain the process and allow for community comments. In order to ensure a fair process, candidates will draw lots for their interview placement. Interviews with the candidates will follow.
Members of the community who wish to comment on the vacancy can send a written response to the Superintendent’s Executive Assistant Olga Sedillo at email@example.com, or comment publicly at the special Board meeting.
At the conclusion of the interviews, the Board will deliberate during open session and intends to vote to appoint the provisional seat to the Whittier Union Board of Trustees. The appointee will be eligible to take the oath of office after Friday, July 7, and to serve for the remainder of Pacheco’s term through the first Friday of December 2024.
“It is humbling to see the overwhelming response of our community to this opportunity to serve on the Whittier Union Board of Trustees, which oversees the education of more than 11,000 students,” Oviedo said. “This is an exciting time for the District, as the Board looks to select a candidate that represents the best interests of Whittier Union’s diverse communities and stays true to our mission, ‘To Achieve and Maintain Excellence.’”