Three newcomers challenge appointed incumbent for the three open seats on the Williams Unified School District’s Board of Trustees. 

Patricia Ash:

1. Who are you? My name is Patricia Ash. I’m Williams born and raised and attended the Williams schools. I have spent my whole life in retail, starting out at Worsley’s Dept. Store in Williams. In 1997 I became a successful business owner in Fort Bragg before moving back home in 2005 to be closer to family. In 2006, I was instrumental in founding Citizens for a Better Williams, a grassroots organization to help improve the downtown district and improve the lives of its citizens. Last year we brought back the High School Homecoming parade that had been dropped some year’s past. 

2. What makes you the best candidate? I served eight years on the Williams City Council, three as mayor and two as vice mayor. While on the council, I served on the Williams Fire Joint Powers Board for six years, four as board chairman, and I also served on the Colusa County Transportation Board where we were able after 25 years, to add Margurite extension by partnering with the County. I also served as liaison to the Williams School Board. I have experience in negotiations, real estate procurement s, CalTrans negotiations, and personnel issues that I can bring to the table as a board member.  

3. What top priorities would you champion, if elected? I have been concerned for some time about test scores, and the push for students to go to college. I strongly believe in trade schools and I would like to see more vocational classes offered. There is a whole generation of carpenters, electricians, HVAC installers and more that are retiring out, and it provides a chance for students to be eventually self employed. I also believe that continuity and consistency is key to our students’ success, especially our wee ones. Music and the arts add to rounding out the student and should be expanded.

Alejandra Lopez, incumbent:

1. Who are you? I am Alejandra Lopez and I am currently an appointed incumbent for the Williams Unified School Board. I was appointed in December 2019 and have loved every second of being on the board. I am so thrilled to be able to serve the Williams community in this capacity and look forward to continuing to work alongside all stakeholders to ensure that our youth receive a high-quality education.  

2. What makes you the best candidate? I’m a good fit to continue being on the board because I am invested in making sure that as a district we work to ensure that all students have an equitable and quality education. While I was an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley, I took part in the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) program at the Goldman School of Public Policy, where I became familiar with analyzing policies and procedures to make informed policy recommendations. My experience with PPIA has prepared me with a unique skillset that makes me a stellar candidate for the Williams Unified School Board.

3. What top priorities would you champion, if elected?  As a current board member, I have arduously worked with the other board members and the superintendent to make sure that the social-emotional needs of our students are our top priority. We understand that students will not learn if their social-emotional needs are not met. I have also worked closely with the board and the superintendent on making the school district more accessible to parents and have had a tremendous impact through the district’s Family Resource Center and Parent Center. If elected, I will continue to prioritize the social-emotional wellbeing of our students and parent engagement.

Cesar Perez:

1. Who are you? I am Cesar Perez, I am a husband and proud father of two, an 8-year-old boy and 3-year-old girl. I was born in Van Nuys, CA and moved to Williams at the age of 15. I am now 27 and have done a lot of growing up in Williams. Thanks to the help and preparation from teachers, staff, school counselors, and community members I received many opportunities to improve my life. I have graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Sacramento State, have purchased my home and been a successful father and husband.

2. What makes you the best candidate? I believe I am the best candidate because I am a father to a current and future student. My son is in third grade and my daughter will start school next year. I want them to be proud of being students in Williams. Most importantly, I want students to get the education they deserve. I also believe that the school environment is very important and everyone that is on campus should feel safe and comfortable in their position. I think that everyone from the janitor to the principal should want to be there. I believe that the children feed off their energy.

3. What top priorities would you champion, if elected? One of the obvious priorities that I should have is the school ranking. Williams schools haven’t been looking too good in both math and reading proficiency. We need to improve. In order to do that we need a good and safe school environment. A place where teachers feel like they matter because they do. I’m willing to bet that happy teachers will get better results out of their students than teachers who are unhappy. A place where both students and teachers can’t wait to get to every morning. 

 Kathleen Bautista:

1. Who are you? I am Kathleen (Manor) Bautista. I was born and raised in Williams, and am a fourth generation alumni of Williams High School. I have five kids, ranging in ages of 25 – 14. Three of them are Williams High graduates. I have been a football mom for many years; hosting team dinners in my home until the team outgrew it, been a member of the Brown and Gold boosters, stat keeper and score keeper as well as been in charge of or helped with many fundraisers that took place and benefited Williams High School students and athletes.

2. What makes you the best candidate? As a fourth generation Yellowjacket, I’m invested in this district. Williams Unified is my family’s history and it’s future. I care about the success of Williams not only for my children’s future, but because it is our legacy. I want to be a part of making Williams a strong educational option for my children and their peers.

3. What top priorities would you champion, if elected? As a district parent and alumni I’m concerned with the declining test scores we’ve seen in recent years, along with transparency and integrity in administration. I want Williams residents/parents to feel confident that sending their children to school at Williams Unified means a quality education that will set them up for a lifetime of success. 

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