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Candidates emerge for Board of Education seat
July 31, 2012, 05:00 AM By Heather Murtagh Daily Journal Staff

The race to represent the southern part of San Mateo County on the Board of Education is the first school race to be contested this election season.

Memo Morantes currently holds the seats representing area seven, which includes Las Lomitas, Menlo Park City, Portola Valley, Ravenswood City and Woodside Elementary school districts, as well as portions of Sequoia Unified. Morantes has yet to decide if he’ll run for a fourth term. If he decides to go for it, there will be competition as three have announced and/or filed to run for the seat. Joe Ross, Jo-Ann Sockolov and Alvin Zachariah have all expressed interest in the seat. Thus far, none of the candidates have qualified for the ballot.

Zachariah, who is listed as a primary care physician, was the first to file.

Atherton resident Sockolov, who serves as the executive director for the Redwood City Education Foundation, recently added her name to the ballot. Sockolov said she has supported education since becoming a room mother, or main classroom volunteer, and is passionate about the opportunities people have through public education. A product of public education, Sockolov would like to focus on advocating for those positive opportunities even in tough budget times.

Ross, who ran for the San Mateo County Community College District Board of Trustees in November, announced his candidacy via email Sunday morning. Ross, an educational nonprofit director who lives in Menlo Park, wrote he would file to run this week.

Ross wrote that more opportunities for students, teachers and principals are needed.

"The board can play a role convening the county’s two dozen school districts, starting with increased efforts to consolidate services so more dollars go directly to the classroom,” he wrote.

Four seats on the Board of Education total — held by Rod Hsiao, Jim Cannon, Ted Lempert and Morantes — are up for re-election. So far, all incumbents except Morantes have verified another run for office. Morantes had an unsuccessful bid for the District Four seat on the Board of Supervisors in June.

Cannon — who represents area five, which includes the Burlingame, Hillsborough City, Millbrae and San Bruno Park elementary school districts, and parts of San Mateo Union — and Lempert — who represents area six, which includes the Belmont-Redwood Shores, Redwood City and San Carlos elementary school districts, and part of Sequoia — both ran without opposition in 2008. Hsiao, who was challenged in 2008, represents area four, which includes the San Mateo-Foster City School District and parts of the San Mateo Union High School District.

The filing deadline is Aug. 10. Candidates have until Aug. 15 if an incumbent decides not to run.

Heather Murtagh can be reached by email: or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 105.

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