Jerry Roberts Interviews School Board Candidates

Below is a compilation of text and videos of Jerry Robert’s interviews with seven of the candidates running for the Santa Barbara Unified School Board

Virginia Alvarez

A bilingual woman of color, Virginia Alvarez leads the field of eight candidates running for Santa Barbara school board in years of professional and practical experience managing and coping with the strange and singular complexities of public education administration in California.

The Chief Business Official and Human Resources manager of the Montecito Union School District, Alvarez is a veteran adinistrator, currently working on pandemic-era public school challenges in real time, as districts throughout the state struggle to deal with constantly shifting, and sometimes conflicting, education, health and safety Covid-19 guidelines propounded by the county, state and federal governments. Read more here.

Brian Campbell

Eight candidates are seeking three seats on the Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education in the Nov. 3 election, amid an extraordinary political atmosphere shaped by the pandemic, anti-racism protests and the arrival of a new Superintendent.

To provide a platform for the contenders to share their views, and a venue for voters to learn more about them, Newsmakers has invited each of the hopefuls for a socially distanced, one-on-one interview about some of the major issues facing the district. Read more here.

Laura Capps

School board President Laura Capps will run for a new four-year term as a Santa Barbara Unified School District trustee, she said in an interview, portraying herself as a “community voice” who has demanded “accountability and transparency” from administrators.

“With this pandemic, nothing could be more important than how our schools are run, not just for parents and kids and families and teachers, but for the entire community,” Capps told Newsmakers. “I am committed to what’s best for the kids in this county.” Read more here.

Monie de Wit

Photographer and education advocate Monie de Wit is clear about what she wants to achieve if elected to the Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education:

“I’d want to accomplish a change in our culture around literacy,” de Wit told Newsmakers. “Literacy is a human right.” Read more here.

Elrawd MacLearn

At 27, Elrawd MacLearn is the youngest candidate running for the Santa Barbara Unified School District board of education, but he is the most vocal in proposing greater focus on traditional goals and values of learning.

Growing up poor in the San Fernando Valley, he told Newsmakers, his perspective on education largely was formed by his own bootstrapping experience — helping support his family, working his way through college and home schooling some of the younger siblings in his family of 11 children. Read more here.

Jackie Reid

Jackie Reid is energetic and unapologetic in advocating a robust agenda for “equity,” as she campaigns for a new term on the Santa Barbara Unified School District’s Board of Education.

In her first four years on the board, Reid has helped lead the charge for a set of progressive and controversial classes, curricula and programs — think Just Communities, ethnic studies, dual language immersion and Teen Talk — that have outraged some conservative parents and motivated challengers to her and other incumbents in the current race. Read more here.

Wendy Sims-Moten

As she seeks a new term, SB Unified School District board incumbent Wendy Sims-Moten constantly emphasizes the importance of “equity” in shaping public education policies, a perspective she says she has drawn from working with families of kids too young to go to school. 

As executive director of First 5 Santa Barbara County, a state-financed organization to support early childhood development from prenatal to children age five, Sims-Moten says she has learned it is crucial to “understand and meet our students where they are.”

Read more here.

And if you’re still confused about all of those Propositions on the ballot, Nick Welsh and Jerry Roberts break them down so you don’t have to. Watch the video below or read more here.

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Written by Jerry Roberts

“Newsmakers” is a multimedia journalism platform that focuses on politics, media and public affairs in Santa Barbara. Learn more at

What do you think?


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  1. GEN… it’s not up to others to research your claims. If you want to be believed it’s up to you back up your claims. Anyone can mouth off any kind of poop they want and this could just be such a case. So support your argument or stick a fork in it.

  2. From these videos, Virginia Alvarez and Monie De Wit appear to be the only ones who understand how to educate. And run a school. The other candidates mean well but probably would be better off focusing their energy elsewhere.

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