Natomas School Board Race: Why I’m Running

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz


We invited the 10 candidates running for Natomas Unified school board to answer questions submitted by readers. Today’s question asked:

“Why are you running for Natomas Unified school board?”

Here are the answers submitted by the deadline, in the order they were received:

Micah Grant

I’m running for re-election to finish the necessary work of reforming the district to be more attuned to the needs of parents, students and teachers. Under my leadership, we’ve cut administrative waste, returned money to the classroom, and kept class sizes low. Plainly, there is still more work to be done to address the needs of South Natomas students and students with disabilities, especially during the pandemic and distance learning. My goal is to continue addressing rigor in our curriculum and to implement strategies that prevent learning loss until students can safely return to the classroom. If re-elected, I will continue to push for expanded childcare programs, an upgraded plan to improve test scores, increased technology funding, career counseling for student-athletes, and a safe learning environment for all students and teachers. I’d also like to bring more niche career programs to our schools, such as a barbering and cosmetology program.

Ericka Harden

I am a proud parent of two Natomas graduates — Go Nighthawks! As a single parent and an educator, I know what it is like to navigate the public school system and to advocate for your children’s needs. While my children received a decent education, it did not come without its challenges. There were times when I found myself fighting the system so my children could get the experience that they deserved. Like many of you have probably found, you achieve more when you work together, as parents. Over the years, I have been part of numerous parent groups to advocate for change. My priority is to ensure that ALL our children receive an excellent education despite which side of Natomas they reside (North or South). I believe that we can all make real strides but can only do so if everyone has an equal seat at the table.

Sumiti Mehta

Growing up in India I learned without good education, even the most modest dreams of improving one’s life becomes just: a dream. The American Dream can only be achieved by providing a top-end education to all students. I have volunteered 11 years at grassroot level in multiple Natomas schools for a decade. As a parent and woman of color in a classroom, I have gained firsthand knowledge of struggles faced by the students and parents. I believe the current board lacks the grassroot/parent perspective. If elected I will ensure that NUSD helps students become adults, they know they can be — adults who will make a difference. I will focus on a curriculum that teaches — skills to be successful in college, career, and community, personal finance literacy, technology and trades, and entrepreneurial endeavors. I will also pursue reduced cost childcare and expand before/after school programs. SUMITI4NATOMAS.COM

Monica Barrios

I am running to help Natomas students recover the learning lost during the COVID-19 pandemic. Distance learning is no replacement for traditional classroom instruction. My daughter is in kindergarten at Paso Verde Elementary and starting her academic career on a computer rather than in a classroom. This is very personal for me. As a technology manager involved in some of the largest and most complex projects in California, I will use my experience to help the district solve problems and recover from the crisis. I want to be an advocate for our kids and to see them thrive. I’m invested in our wonderful Natomas community!

Lisa Wells

I am running for the position of NUSD Board member so that I can help ensure every family has the access to the tools needed to help their children reach their full potential. I believe we are a team working together to make certain our children’s education is the best we can provide. Together, we can continue to make this a strong community and be a strong voice for our children. Together, we can make Natomas School District a model for all other districts. I want to be a voice for ALL students and parents. As a parent of multiple children with special needs I know how much of a challenge it can be to advocate for the resources our children need to succeed. I plan to be that voice for those that need to be heard.

Mariana Corona Sabeniano

My passion for education and work as an advocate began years ago, on behalf of my siblings and parents. As a product of public education, first-generation college graduate, I am running to be a voice for equity to ensure ALL students have equal opportunity to succeed. I will champion STREAM; students must be proficient readers by third grade. Students must receive equitable access to early education programs, social-emotional support, and rigorous educational programs to become college and career ready. As the pandemic continues, I will work to support students, teachers, and families. Families must be supported while in distance learning, in the language they understand best. I bring over 13 years of working on education and budget policy, governance, and experience working with Natomas schools. I am prepared to start the job on day one to help the school district bring together teachers and families through these challenging times.

Christopher Alvarez

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to work together to ensure students continue to learn while providing a safe environment for everyone, and it is important all of our voices are heard. Representation matters. I am running for this position to serve you and our community. I am a Filipino-American who had the benefit of attending different schools and witnessing the educational needs of diverse communities growing up as a military dependent. I graduated from the UC Davis School of Law and built a life around public service, and I believe public education is the cornerstone of our democracy. My experiences and legal background have given me the tools to serve one of the most diverse school districts in the nation and to provide insight on viable solutions on issues the District faces. With your vote, I will be committed to helping build the infrastructure needed for the next generation.

Raynette Johnson

I am running for the school board because I value education. Students are a priority, and their knowledge shouldn’t be taken likely. I am driven to support students with special needs and aid staff in obtaining the best scholastic resources for the continued success of our students. My goal is to be proactive and listen to the teachers, parents, and the local community. I want to ensure graduation rates to heighten college readiness and help stabilize the budget. I’m a mother with a background in psychology and believe I’ll be a good fit for the board.

Scott Dosick

None of us anticipated the Covid pandemic. I fought to provide ALL students free computers and internet access. We must ensure that students receive high-quality distance teaching and free healthy meals. As a single parent, I know how important it is to return students to the classroom while ensuring the safety of all students, teachers, and staff. During my eight years on the board, we’ve increased the graduation rate to 96% and are sending more students to college than ever. I fought to expand AP, IB, and career technical educational programs including construction, medical, and public safety pathways for students to graduate prepared for college and careers. We are now facing a pandemic-induced recession that will reduce public education funding. We need experienced trustees that know how to perform aggressive academic and fiscal oversight and balance the budget while keeping the cuts away from the classroom.

The deadline to register to vote in California is Oct. 19. Register online at

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