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The College of the Canyons Faculty Association (COCFA) announces its endorsement of Edel Alonso, Jerry Danielsen and Steven Zimmer for the Santa Clarita Community College District (SCCCD) Board of Trustees. Three of the five board seats are up for re-election on Nov. 8. While Zimmer currently sits on the board, Alonso and Danielsen are challenging long-time board members Bruce Fortine and Michelle Jenkins, respectively.

In 2015 the SCCCD agreed to change its elections to a by-district rather than at-large system in accordance with the California Voting Rights Act. The 2016 election will be the first time that voters can only choose candidates from within their own geographic districts. A map of the districts is available at https://www.canyons.edu/Offices/BOT/Pages/elections.aspx.

Endorsed candidates were selected after a detailed process established in the COCFA bylaws and carried out a committee of COCFA members. The selection process included interviews of each of the six candidates and hours of deliberation among the committee members. The committee presented their recommendations to an COCFA’s Representative Council, an elected group of faculty leaders, who voted unanimously to endorse the three candidates.

Edel Alonso – District 2

Alonso is challenging Fortine in voting district 2, which is east of I-5 and northwest of McBean Parkway and extends to the San Francisquito Canyon and Bouquet Canyon areas. Before retiring in 2015, Alonso was a full-time professor at College of the Canyons (COC) for 16 years. During that time she served as president of COC’s Academic Senate, co-chair of the President’s Advisory Committee on Budget, a member of the college planning team and many other leadership roles.

“Edel is an educator at heart who is exceptionally qualified to serve as a member of the board of trustees through her breadth of experience and extensive understanding of the college’s inner-workings,” said Chris Blakey, chairman of COCFA’s political action committee. “While the COCFA appreciates Fortine’s many years of involvement with the college, we believe that Edel brings a unique perspective and knowledge base that fit the emerging budgetary, academic and personnel challenges facing COC.”

Steve Zimmer – District 3

Zimmer is running unopposed in voting district 3, which is east of I-5 and southeast of McBean Parkway to Copper Hill Drive and includes much of Newhall and parts of Valencia. The decision to endorse him was based on his wide-ranging community involvement and dedication to COC’s educational mission.

Jerry Danielsen – District 4

Danielson is challenging Jenkins in voting district 4, which encompasses a large geographic area along the 14 Freeway and includes Placerita Canyon, Sand Canyon and Canyon Country areas. A resident of the Santa Clarita Valley since 1972 and graduate of COC, Danielsen is eager to challenge the current board’s status quo and provide “fresh, insightful and balanced perspective.”

“We believe that extremely long tenure of board members can be counter-productive as it can lead to complacency and unquestioning acceptance of administrative proposals, and as such are seeking candidates who will hold the institution accountable,” noted COCFA Wendy Brill-Wynkoop. “The lack of meaningful discussion at board meetings around such important issues as district voting, the American Disabilities Act and the Measure E bond are disconcerting. With new board members in place, we are hoping to improve transparency, which helps ensure that the college district is accountable and all parties are remaining focused on efforts designed to best serve our students.”

About COCFA

The College of the Canyons Faculty Association represents the faculty’s professional and labor interests at the Santa Clarita Community College District. It is a member of the California Teachers Association and the National Education Association. More information: www.cocfaculty.org.