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NEWMAN - Candidate Alfredo Esquivez is making a second bid for a seat on the Newman-Crows Landing Unified School District’s governing board, pledging in the process to bring an inclusive approach that draws upon his own experiences and cultural background.

Six years after falling just short of election in a competitive race for the Area 2 seat, Esquivez is challenging Area 1 incumbent Janice Conforti in the Nov. 3 election.

While stressing the importance of all voices being heard, Esquivez said he hopes to bring a greater measure of representation of the Hispanic community to the school board.

“It is representation,” Esquivez said of his decision to seek election. “I have always felt that the Hispanic community is under-represented.”

He is uniquely qualified to provide that voice on the school board because of his background and upbringing, said the 45-year-old Esquivez, who is a process efficiency supervisor with a food processing company.

The 1992 Orestimba High graduate said he shares common bonds with the Hispanic families whose children represent the majority of the district enrollment and therefore can draw on his personal experiences to relate to their needs.

Esquivez stressed, however, that he would bring an open mind and willingness to hear all viewpoints before reaching decisions on the board.

“I am here to be a voice for everybody. I will be out there and make that effort to connect to as many people as I can,” he emphasized.

If elected, Esquivez said, his top priorities for the district as a whole would include helping address the issue of how and when students can safely return to class for in-person instruction; evaluating standardized test scores while seeking out avenues for improvement; and ensuring that every concern which is raised is given proper discussion and attention.

Esquivez also said that he wants to work to ensure that cultural needs and considerations are being met....a topic he said is brought up to him by others as a concern.

One example of cultural practices and academic needs conflicting, he said, is the tradition of many Hispanic families of returning to Mexico during the winter.

Esquivez said he can relate to both those who leave for the traditional trip to Mexico over the holidays and those who worry that it is taking an academic toll on students who are missing class. One solution, he said, may be to extend the winter break to three weeks in order to better accommodate both interests.

“You have to address something that affects the school district significantly,” he stated.

Esquivez said he would have to evaluate the district more closely before offering opinions on specific areas for improvement.

No matter how well the district is performing, he reflected, “there is always room for improvement. Where that area is, I would really have to dig in to.”

That would be his approach as a board member, Esquivez indicated, as he promised to seek feedback from students, teachers, administrators and parents before formulating decisions on matters going before the board.

“You have to listen to people,” he stressed. “You are never going to make everybody happy, but if you listen to people and have a good heart behind it, when you look in the mirror you can be happy with the decision you made.”

Ultimately, Esquivez said, his goals as a board member would be fundamental.

“I want to see the best for this school system and this community,” he concluded.