LANCASTER – A coalition of teachers unions endorsed seven incumbents and six challengers in races for board seats in four school districts and at Antelope Valley College. Representatives from teachers unions from the Antelope Valley Union High School, Lancaster, Palmdale and Westside Union school districts and from the Antelope Valley College faculty association made their announcement in a news conference Thursday at the Lancaster office of the California Teachers Association. Out of eight candidates in the high school district race for three seats, the teachers union endorsed incumbents Al Beattie and Jim Lott and challenger Ira Simonds, a retired high school teacher. Trustee Calvin Robinson did not seek re-election. “The three candidates are all involved in education and have served the high school district on the board or as a teacher,” Antelope Valley Teachers Association President Gene Smith said. “They are ready for the challenges that we have as a tremendous-growth district.” “Having their support and having their questions will make me work even harder. I really feel we need to bring teachers to the table when we are making decisions with regard to education. It’s really about knowledge, not test scores,” Grooms said. In the Palmdale School District race for three seats, the teachers union endorsed incumbents Sandy Corrales and Sheldon Epstein and challenger Jeff Ferrin, a high school vice principal. “Our statement for the election is, “No more excuses. All children must succeed,”‘ said Bruce Shank, political action chair of the Palmdale Elementary Teachers Association. “It’s not about teacher salaries or benefits; it’s about the kids. We selected three people who we know are excellent candidates.” “I’m proud to wear the moniker of ‘Teacher’s Choice’ as your candidate for this school board,” Corrales said. In the Westside Union School District race for three seats, the teachers union bypassed the sole incumbent running, Christine LeBeau, and threw its support behind two challengers, Department of Corrections law enforcement officer John Curiel and teacher and businesswoman Linda Jones. In announcing Westside Union Teachers Association’s endorsements, president Kim Collins said there was a lack of strong leadership on the board, and that the union found strong leaders in Curiel and Jones. “I’m honored and appreciate the confidence the teachers have placed in me to help lead the Westside district out of these troubled times,” Curiel said. In the race for three seats on the college board, the Antelope Valley College Faculty Association endorsed one of the three incumbents, Michael Adams, and challenger Timothy Hayes, a financial planner and former mayor of Lancaster. Ralph Brax, president of the faculty association, said Adams is very accessible and always willing to consider different points of view, and Hayes has business expertise and will bring fresh ideas and perspectives to the board. The Antelope Valley Education Coalition is described as a nonpartisan committee made up of teachers, business professionals, and community members from the Antelope Valley. Karen Maeshiro, (661) 267-5744 [email protected] BALLOT PICKS School board and Antelope Valley College board candidates were endorsed by school district teacher unions and the Antelope Valley College faculty association. ANTELOPE VALLEY UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT Al Beattie Jim Lott Ira Simonds LANCASTER SCHOOL DISTRICT Keith Giles Diane Grooms Greg Tepe PALMDALE SCHOOL DISTRICT Sandy Corrales Sheldon Epstein Jeff Ferrin WESTSIDE UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT John Curiel Linda Jones ANTELOPE VALLEY COLLEGE Michael R. Adams Timothy Hayes160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “I will be able to bring to the board the perspective of what it’s like to be in the classroom,” said Simonds, who noted the board has never had a high school teacher on the board. In the Lancaster School District race for three seats, the teachers union endorsed incumbents Keith Giles and Greg Tepe and challenger Diane Grooms, regional vice president for United Way in the Antelope Valley. Board member Richard White did not seek re-election. Cindy Bronson, political action chair for the Teachers Association of Lancaster, said teachers are happy with the two incumbents. “With Diane Grooms, with her unique background, we are excited to see how her involvement in the community can help our school district,” Bronson said. Grooms said the endorsement is very important.