By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
McCulloch, Largent Seek School Seat
Placeholder Image

McCulloch, Largent Seek School Seat


Escalon Unified School District will have three trustee positions available in the Tuesday, Nov. 4 election. There is, however, only one contested race, as incumbent John Largent seeks to return to his Dent Urban Area 5 seat and faces a challenge from candidate Erica McCulloch.

Kate Powell is running unopposed in Area 2, Farmington, with longtime board member Al Caton opting to withdraw his candidacy. Incumbent Richard Thompson is unopposed in Area 1, Collegeville.

The Times recently posed several questions to the candidates for Area 5 and the responses from both follow.




Why are you running for the School Board?

Initially I was asked to run for the School Board by members of the community. I said “yes” because I care deeply about Escalon and the school district where my family has been a part of for five generations. I am proud to say that my grandmother, Marguarette Schmidt was employed by EUSD for 25 years. Having been a former School Board member herself, she is the inspiration for me running today.

While there is something to be said for longevity and I have an admiration for the incumbent, one of the main reasons I decided to run is the fact that education is changing so rapidly. I believe it is time for change, for someone to step out and bring a fresh approach that looks forward to the future and the opportunity that education will offer our students over the next decade.

What do you see as the biggest issues the district faces?

Being married to a person in law enforcement, as well as having two kids of my own still in school, security on campus has always been on my mind. However, recent incidents threatening the safety of the students has made this even more of a priority for me (namely, the situation involving three high school boys being shot with an air soft gun by a passing car). I would like to see the School Resource Officer (SRO) implemented once again, as well as the random appearance of drug dogs on campus. This sends a message that the well-being of our students is our number one endeavor.

Whether we like it or not, technology has a profound impact on our children both now, and in the future. Therefore, it is essential that as a school district we are making informed and wise investments in the purchasing and use of technology. Currently there is a shortfall in computer systems throughout the district. My goal is to ensure that EUSD provides present-day opportunities as we equip our students for an increasingly competitive job market centered on technology.

Briefly list the qualifications you have for this position.

I have always had a hands-on approach when it comes to the education of my kids. For years I volunteered in the classroom, chaperoned field trips and participated in many other school activities. My familiarity with EUSD fiscal obligations gives me a unique perspective regarding district spending, as well as having a keen eye for detail. Reaching a compromise to achieve a common goal is more important to me than pushing my own agenda. I don’t claim to understand each and every challenge that parents face. However, I am approachable and willing to listen and be an advocate for the children of EUSD.

What changes in education over the past few years do you feel have helped our local students? Conversely, what has made it harder?

Education standards are constantly evolving. It’s our job to provide the best opportunities for learning, regardless of the ever-changing framework that is mandated by our government. Children have different learning styles. On a positive note, I have been pleased to see alternatives to public school that are accessible to most families, such as charter schools and home school networks. On the flipside, there are still some gaps in getting the resources we need to properly support non-traditional learners.

Have you ever run for an elected office before? How are you campaigning in the community?

Although I have been actively involved in school and community activities over the years, this is the first time I have run for an elected office. As I mentioned before, I was asked to run by members of the community. For me, it has been so much more than simply putting up signs in people’s yards. The most rewarding aspect of my campaign has been going door to door, meeting new people and listening to real needs of real families in the city of Escalon. Campaigning is a new experience for me, but the passion to see children succeed is not. I campaign every day knowing that if elected, I would serve the entire Escalon Unified School District: Students, parents and staff. I am committed to doing all within my power to ensure that our district is a place of safety, opportunity and success…a place that we, as a community are proud to belong to.




Why are you running for the School Board?

To continue the great traditions of Escalon schools as well as to continue to build the district’s programs for the future. I truly care about our students, they are the future of Escalon.

What do you see as the biggest issues the district faces?

Currently, Escalon, as well as districts throughout the country are dealing with the uncertainty arising from the change to common core state standards. These changes are requiring school districts and their staffs to change their instructional practices. In regards to these changes, I am proud to say that Escalon has a dedicated staff who are working collaboratively to positively affect instruction and improve student learning.

Briefly list the qualifications you have for the position.

My qualifications include my experience, my knowledge of the district, and my visibility within the community. I truly care about all Escalon students, they are the future of our community and our country.

What changes in education over the past few years do you feel have helped our local students? Conversely, what has made it harder?

In regards to Escalon, our district has been focusing on improving instruction in order to ensure our students are career and college ready when they graduate. Our focus on instruction is showing through: the variety of interventions that we have incorporated for struggling students; the increased educational options for students; the commitment to providing our staff with professional development and collaboration time; and ensuring that every decision is based on what is best for students.

Conversely, what has made it more difficult over the last few years has been surviving the worst financial crisis in the last 60 years. District revenues from the state and federal governments have declined significantly making it very difficult to continue programs and options for our students. But, to say, that through sound fiscal management Escalon survived the crisis without cutting programs like art, music, or K-2 class size reduction and without extra-curricular activities such as athletics or FFA.

How long have you served on the board and how are you campaigning in the community?

I have proudly served on the Escalon Unified School Board for 33 years. I have been campaigning by putting up signs, walking all of Area 5 leaving slates, and talking to constituents. I mailed a letter to all registered voters and, also, have been attending community events.


Next week, The Times profiles candidates Russ Munson and Chuck Winn, both seeking the seat for San Joaquin County District 4 Supervisor.