Natomas School Board Race: Working with All Stakeholders

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:

“As a board member, how do you see your role in working with all stakeholders, including the unions and parents?”

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

Micah Grant

I have always seen my role as an active one. Board members exist to serve the public. Being accessible and breaking the management vs. labor culture have always been a part of my platform. I advocate for direct contact with board members when possible and have taken a vested interest in ensuring parents, teachers and students can find resolution when they have experienced issues with the district. While no one will agree on every single issue, I have met routinely with union leaders and have convened semi-monthly meetings with teachers to hear their top concerns and have worked with the superintendent to address them. Under my leadership, the district has expanded the Constituent Customer Service program to include additional staff and service in multiple languages to address issues faced by parents. As a board member, I will continue to make myself available and continue my engagement with the community.

Monica Barrios

As a long-time Natomas resident and mother of two young learners, I relate to our community and will listen to all stakeholders when making decisions. However, the board has two main responsibilities: 1) Adopt a balanced budget every year 2) Hire the superintendent and make sure he is accountable for meeting annual performance goals. I will not allow politics to interfere with good judgment and my responsibilities. Because I do not accept contributions from political interest groups, I am committed to making independent decisions that are guided by data and best practices, not politics. I will always work in the best interest of students, parents and the community. I am running because with all the challenges facing the school district due to COVID-19, now more than ever, parents need an independent voice on the board that is not beholden to political interests.

Mariana Corona Sabeniano

I strongly believe students, parents, teachers, classified staff, and community leaders play an integral role in preparing all students for academic success. As an endorsed candidate for the Natomas Teachers Association, I fully support teachers and will ensure their voices are heard in the decision-making process. Over the last thirteen years, I have brought stakeholders together in my professional career to discuss critical issues. As a school board member, I will collaborate and bridge partnerships to maximize educational attainment while closing the achievement gaps. Empowering parents is near and dear to my heart. As a daughter of immigrant farmworkers and the eldest of six, I understand the depths of hard work, responsibility, and leadership. From an early age, I was the voice for my parents who did not speak English and an advocate for my siblings. If elected, I will bring that same responsibility and vigor to the school board.

Sumiti Mehta

I believe that elected officials should represent all constituents and not cater to their political base. A school board member should only have one focus – serve all students and provide the best learning environment for students. After spending over 3000 volunteer hours over the last 10 years in Natomas schools I know that the best learning environment is different for different students. It is important for trustee to understand this and actively engage all stakeholders including parents, teachers, classified and support staff, charter leaders, and most importantly the students. As I trustee, I will hold monthly meetings with our union, and charter leaders; schedule biweekly office hours in North and South Natomas. I will be accessible to the community 24/7, continue to participate in community events, and will respond promptly to all communications. Open discussions, better communication, and improved partnerships with all stakeholders are on the top of my priorities.

Ericka Harden

Working with all stakeholders as a board member is probably the most important aspect of a strong leader. There are always going to be disagreements about different actions and policies, but they need to be addressed proactively to assess a need and to compromise for the support of the majority.  I have been on the inside and outside of working with thousands of volunteers in our schools, parents and teachers, union members, and elected officials in the communities on a local and state level. In doing so, I have found that working on a collaborative level takes forethought as well as research on all issues before they become public information and an invitation to debate. The responsibility of a board member is to provide access to stakeholders, listen to support, and opposition, and to confirm that I have done my due diligence to best serve the cause of the stakeholders.

Dr. Susan Heredia

As your Natomas board member I’m elected to focus on, speak out, and advocate for what is best for all students, which includes our special education, English Language Learners, Gifted and Talented, and LGBTQ scholars. My responsibility is to involve the community, parents and all stakeholders in appropriate, meaningful ways, while communicating with the community about district policies, fiscal condition and progress on student achievement. Most importantly, the role of a board member is to be responsible to the values, beliefs and priorities of this community. I have done that as your board member by passing a fiscally responsible budget, allocating funding to support social emotional services, expanding the I.B. program, increasing the salaries of our teachers by over 10% in four years, and expanding our career technical educational programs. Furthermore, every parent wants their student to attend a safe school, so I strengthened our anti-discrimination and bullying policies.

Christopher Alvarez

It is important that all stakeholders, including unions and parents, are heard and are given the opportunity to participate in decisions that affect our students and schools. Parents, teachers, and staff directly interact with our students daily, and ignoring them would be a disservice to our community. Their voices about the needs of our students and classrooms should be heard to ensure our students receive a quality education. All stakeholders play an important role as they can improve the board’s understanding of the potential solutions to the issues that face the district.

RayNette Johnson

As a board member, I envision myself working towards a common goal that’s beneficial to all parties involved and executing it. This approach not only assures objective equality but ensures transparency.

Scott Dosick

As your school board member for the last eight years, I have always made myself available to any and all stakeholders – parents, teachers, students, etc. Further, I make it a practice to reach out to various stakeholder groups whenever the board will be voting on matters that affect them. We have approximately 16,000 students in the district. Before voting or taking any action, I want to ensure that I have all all facts and relevant information. If you ever want to reach out to me, you can email me at [email protected] or [email protected]. Feel free to see my posts on Facebook as well

The Natomas Buzz is hosting two online candidate forums. Register at here for the first forum 6-8 p.m. this Thursday, Sept. 24 and register here for the second forum 6-8 p.m. on Oct. 22. Students from Natomas Charter School, Westlake Charter School, and Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep will host a student-facilitated candidate forum 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20 which will be broadcast live via YouTube.

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

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