School board incumbents re-elected

DOWNEY - In the Downey Unified School District, voters overwhelming chose to reelect incumbents Barbara Samperi, Nancy Swenson, and Martha Sodetani, who each faced opponents this year in the district's first by-area election.

Samperi, who represents Area 7, easily defeated her three challengers, receiving 60 percent of the vote, or 346 votes.

Downey Library Commissioner Betty Monroy collected 23 percent with 131 votes while retired LA County educator Bertha Valenzuela earned 11 percent or 64 votes.

"It was a fun experience running for office and meeting all my wonderful neighbors," Monroy said in a statement. "But forward and onward. I will continue to serve my beautiful city through my volunteerism because nothing brings me more joy."

Bellflower bank teller Leslie Valencia, who did no campaigning, received just 28 votes.

First elected in 1993, Samperi says she campaigned hard this year because she's still passionate about serving the community through education. "I would not have run again if I wasn't," she said. "But I'm very pleased and grateful to the voters and I'm looking forward to the next four years -- keeping things fiscally responsible and helping the new superintendent become a part of our family."

Area 7 extends from Imperial Highway beyond the I-105 Freeway and over to the intersection of Woodruff and Rosecrans avenues.

In Area 5, which swings from just north of Firestone Boulevard down to Gardendale Street, Swenson received 77 percent or 372 votes, enough to hold off challenger John Anagnostou, who received 111 votes.

Sodetani, who was elected in 2009, won by a landslide in Area 1 garnering 90 percent of the vote or 605 votes. Her opponent Victor Malagon, a 50-year-old industrial maintenance electrician, received just 65 votes.

Area 1 runs down from Telegraph Road in between the Rio Hondo River and Paramount Boulevard until Fifth Street.

Each will serve another four-year term on the board of education.

The Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District is welcoming a new school board member this week after challenger Sean Reagan sidestepped incumbent Ed Hengler in Tuesday's municipal election.

With a platform of increasing staff morale and reversing declines in student enrollment, the 38-year-old government teacher of California High School received 1,758 votes, more than 15 percent of the vote.

Hengler, a retired teacher who was elected to the board in 1997, finished in sixth place with 1,428 votes or 12.6 percent.

Reagan believes the election results signal that voters are looking for people who know what's going on in the school system right now.

"I feel honored, really privileged and excited that people trusted me with their votes -- I'm very thankful for the support I received early on," said Reagan, who resides in Norwalk with his wife and daughter.

"I just want the rest of the board to know that regardless of what happened in the election, I don't have any favorites -- I'm just excited to get to work and improve the district as soon as possible."

On Tuesday night, incumbents Margarita Rios, Ana Valencia, and Darryl Adams, a member of the board since 1993, were also reelected and will serve another four-year term.

Rios, 43, a Los Angeles Unified School District police sergeant, received the most support with 2,128 votes, nearly 19 percent of the vote. Adams, 52, a Norwalk-La Mirada teacher, finished second with 1,965 votes or 17 percent, and Valencia, 46, also a teacher who became a board member in 2001, garnered 1,637 votes or 14 percent.

Challengers Salvador Limon and Mark White, who both called for increased technology in classroom and parental engagement, finished fifth and seventh respectively. Limon, 26, a special education teacher, pulled in 1,460 votes while White, 53, a local parent and field technical engineer, collected just 959 votes.

Last month, the Teachers Association of Norwalk-La Mirada endorsed Reagan, Rios, and Adams for school board.

********** Published: Nov. 7, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 30