Editor’s note: This story is part of a News-Press series on local candidates in the Nov. 3 election.
Residents in Lompoc, southeast Santa Maria, Orcutt and Cuyama will see Allan Hancock College’s board of trustees on the Nov. 3 ballot.
Three current trustees’ terms are up, but no one challenged Area One trustee Hilda Zacarías. She will start her third term.
Jeffery Hall is running for re-election in Area Four, which covers the Lompoc Valley. He has been on the board since 2016.
Area Two trustee Dan Hilker is not running again. His spot is hotly contested between Dr. Suzanne Levy and Keri Common.
Jeffery Hall (Jeff Hall on the ballot) is the current vice president of the board and has served what he has described as a productive first term.
Since 2016, the board had instituted the Food Share program, a food distribution service for students and community members.
It has also enacted the requirements of AB 705, state legislation that focuses on retaining students in math and English courses through placing more students in transfer-level courses.
In a candidate forum posted on the college’s website, Mr. Hall said he’d like to see more faculty diversity.
Mr. Hall is an Allan Hancock alumnus who started college after his family migrated from Louisiana to California, a move they made to escape segregation and have more opportunities.
He is endorsed by the Santa Barbara County Democratic Party.
Robert Mercado, an accountant at AppFolio, filed for candidacy but didn’t participate in the candidate forum. He doesn’t have a campaign website or a Facebook page.
He is endorsed by the Santa Barbara Republican Party and Santa Barbara County Deputy Sheriff’s Association among other organizations.
Keri Common is an alumna and former employee of Hancock College. She was a payroll technician at the college for 12 years and now serves as the payroll manager at the Santa Barbara Unified School District.
“I understand the value of our tax dollars and the duty to spend responsibly. Dollars count, and experience matters,” she said in her candidate statement.
She was a co-chair of the sustainability committee at Allan Hancock and was on the facilities council.
She wants to see the college better retain employees. She suggested giving raises and room for advancement, she said in the candidate forum.
She is endorsed by many, according to her website, kericommon.wixsite.com. Among those are the Part-Time Faculty Association of Allan Hancock College, current Area Two trustee Dan Hilker and Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino.
DR. SUZANNE LEVY
Dr. Suzanna Levy was a computer science professor at Allan Hancock College and has served on the Hope School District board in Santa Barbara.
As she raised her children, she got involved in organizations they benefited from. She has been a member of seven parent-teacher associations. She has been involved in the arts locally and is currently treasurer of the Orcutt Children’s Art Foundation.
She has a doctorate in education, and her dissertation was titled “The Planning and Implementation of Online Distance Learning in the California Community College.”
“It is essential that we build upon our excellence to ensure that students receive the highest-quality education, continue our strong program of community education, bring back entertainment and enrichment opportunities, and maintain our outstanding status as one of the top employers in our community,” she said in her candidate statement.