ELECTION UPDATE: Vonnegut, Ortiz, and Cornis secure high school board seats in Mountain View and Los Altos | News

With 98% of the votes counted, incumbents Kathryn Vonnegut and newcomers Esmeralda Ortiz and Teda Kornes appear to have secured seats on the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Board. Fourth-place finisher Eric Marc relinquished the race.

Six candidates are vying for three high school district board seats in the Nov. 8 general election. Current board members Fiona Walter and Debbie Torok decided not to run, leaving Vonnegut as the sole incumbent in the field.

Vonnegut has received 25.09% of the vote, as of Wednesday, November 23, with Ortiz close at 24.7%. Cornes and Mark were in a tight race for third place, with Cornes receiving 17.13% of the vote to Mark’s 16.06%. Carol Ann Titus Zamper and Jackie Tanner received 9.24% and 7.77%, respectively.

Ortiz told The Voice she was shocked and excited when she saw the election results for the first time, especially since she’s a first-time candidate. Although she has never run for office before, Ortiz has experience working with high school students as high school vice president and post-secondary success programs at the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula.

“I’m obviously very excited and grateful that so many members of the community have heard about my candidacy, and my platform,” Ortiz said.

Once she begins her work on the board, Ortiz said her first focus will be on listening and understanding where the conversations are currently on various issues. It also plans to prioritize its key campaign issues, which include diversifying the postgraduate options offered to students, focusing on the social and emotional well-being of students, and working to improve the transition between middle school and high school.

Vonnegut, who was first elected in 2018, said in an election night interview that she was thrilled to have another term on the board. She plans to use the next four years to focus on issues including mental health, implementing new courses and continuing to address the learning loss some students have experienced during the pandemic.

“I’m glad we can continue some of the initiatives we’ve been working on,” Vonnegut said. “It will be exciting to see what the new people bring.”

Corns said in an interview that she is committed to community service and plans to focus on her three campaign priorities: mental health and wellness, academic achievement for all students regardless of background, and financial accountability and transparency.

“I am humbled, honored and grateful to have been elected. I could not have done it without the support of many in the community,” said Corns, who ran for Mountain View City Council in 2016.

She previously served on the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission for eight years, as well as on several Mountain View Weissman School District committees.

Both candidates confirmed that Mark had contacted Cornes to waive the race. In an interview last week, Mark said he was glad he ran and found it good to see how many supporters he had as a first-time candidate. He said he did not rule out the possibility of running again.

Mark said he plans to stay involved and continue volunteering at local schools and is open to helping the board members in any way he can.

“I’m happy to help in any capacity… I was planning on doing it anyway, so if they needed help I would definitely throw my hat in there,” said Mark.

Vonnegut, Ortiz and Corns will join Sanjay Dev and Phil Vilas on the district’s five-member board.

The Registrar of Voters will certify the final election results on December 8.

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