The Santa Barbara County Board of Education is divided into districts, so voters only have a say in one position on the board.
The main function of the county’s board is to approve the local districts’ budgets. The county board serves 20 public districts and approximately 70,000 students, according to its website.
There are eight trustees, and four are up for re-election. All four incumbents are running but not without a challenge.
CAGE ENGLANDER, AREA 2
Cage Englander is an eighteen-year-old college student who uses his youth as a positive, saying he has “first-hand experience going through the current education system in Santa Barbara.”
Because he was in the public schools recently, he knows what needs improved, he says on his website, cage4countyed.com.
“I am running to emphasize an equal playing field through promoting universal literacy, practical skills training, and special needs education,” he said.
His father was a substitute teacher in local schools and spent many days working in special education classrooms. He hopes to better assist the parents of kids with special needs.
Career-based classes are another platform point.
“We must fund classes like auto shop and wood shop that allow students to find success, with or without a college degree,” he said.
PETER MACDOUGALL, AREA 2
Incumbent Dr. Peter MacDougall presided over Santa Barbara City College from 1981 to 2002, helping the college to grow to a larger institution.
The Chamber of Commerce named him One of the Twelve Most Influential People in Santa Barbara in 1991. He received a News-Press Lifetime Achievement Award in ‘92 and KEYT-Santa Barbara Foundation’s Man of the Year in 2000.
He has served as president on many boards, including Cottage Hospital, Santa Barbara Partners in Education, Santa Barbara County’s United Way and Fighting Back.
At the state level, he has led in Community College League of California, California Community College Chief Executive Officers, California Association of Community Colleges and Californians for Community Colleges.
BRUCE PORTER, AREA 3
Bruce Porter is the former president of the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District. He has also served on the boards of the local chapter of Red Cross, the Food Bank, SYV Youth Coalition and the American Legion.
“I pledge to make student achievement and success my top goals, and carefully guard funding that our taxpayers contribute for our community’s future,” he says in his candidate statement.
He ran for Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors in 2016 and again this March but lost both times. His 2020 campaign centered around food insecurity in Isla Vista.
He runs a nonprofit incorporated in December 2018 called the Bruce Porter Fund that “focuses on supporting incoming UCSB and SBCC students as they transition into college life.” It seems to provide blog articles about local attractions, and no scholarships are mentioned.
His social media and website has not been updated (except a Facebook page and the bruceporter.org site have closed) since his run for Board of Supervisors, so it’s hard to say what he hopes to do under the Board of Education.
RICHARD FULTON, AREA 3
Incumbent Dr. Richard Fulton has been on the board since 2014. He has been involved with Partners in Education since 2003, serving on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee.
During this time, he has created an internship program as well as the Computers for Families program. Computers for Families has donated over 13,000 computers, according to his website.
Dr. Fulton worked in the Department of Radiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, for 10 years before moving to Santa Barbara and joining Pueblo Radiology.
He is endorsed by the Santa Barbara Democratic Central Committee, Supervisor Joan Hartmann (who beat his challenger in the March election), Supervisor Gregg Hart and local school board members.
ROBERTA HETER, AREA 4
Roberta “Bert” Heter is defending her spot as the Area Four Trustee. She worked in the Lompoc Unified School District for over 30 years, fulfilling various roles like substitute teacher up to principal.
She served on the Family Service Agency board, even taking the role of co-president.
In 2013, she was designated as the Retired Administrator of the Year in the Association of California School Administrators awards program.
She also served on the Santa Barbara Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
MICHELLE DE WERD, AREA 4
Michelle De Werd lists herself as a parent, community volunteer and agriculture business owner.
She began taking an interest in school board meetings as her two children went through school and continued participating after their graduations.
She currently chairs the Citizens Oversight Committee of the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School Bond Measure K 2016. She co-founded the Santa Ynez Valley Academic Booster Club Plus, a group formed after Santa Ynez Valley Union High School cut funding.
“I will work collaboratively, foster greater transparency regarding budgeting and spending, emphasizing programs that will help develop creative constructive thinkers, responsible citizens and future leaders,” she says in her candidate statement.
JIM RICHARDSON, AREA 4
Jim Richardson has been active in the county, particularly in Solvang. He spent 13 years on the Solvang City Council and 10 years as Solvang’s mayor.
He is the vice president of the Solvang Senior Center Board and is also involved in the American Legion, Scholarship Committees of the Danish Brotherhood and The Santa Ynez Valley Airport Day Committee.
He wants to serve on the Board of Education because he thinks it needs “a fresh set of eyes to rejuvenate it,” he says on his website, jimrichardson4countyed.com.
“My goals are to ensure that funding revenues are protected, new sources found and ensure that the curriculum is made available to carry students into a challenging and satisfying future,” he says in his candidate statement.
WELDON “JOE” HOWELL, AREA 6
Incumbent Weldon “Joe” Howell has been on the board since 1999. He is also involved in Partners in Education, SB Public Education Foundation, Mission Scholars and SB County Bar Association, among other organizations.
He has been a business and transactions lawyer in Santa Barbara since 1974.
He received a News-Press Lifetime Achievement Award, a Business Star Award from the SB Chamber of Commerce and designated as a Community Hero by the SB County Education Office.
He is endorsed by the Santa Barbara County Democratic Party.
LOU SEGAL, AREA 6
Lou Segal is challenging Mr. Howell’s 20-year-run on the board. He became concerned about the public school system as he raised his son in Santa Barbara.
“It became obvious to me the public-school system in our wonderful town was dysfunctional and performing very poorly,” he said on his website, lousegalforsbcountyed.com.
He ran for the Santa Barbara Unified School Board in 2012 and lost but remained active in board meetings.
He says he can use his financial prowess he learned running a business if elected.
“I intend to scrutinize the county’s budget, looking for inefficiencies, wasteful spending and funds spent on overhead rather than students,” he said.