Get to know the candidates running for school board in Templeton

Two seats on the Templeton Unified School District Board will be up for grabs during the election on November 6, 2018.
Two seats on the Templeton Unified School District Board will be up for grabs during the election on November 6, 2018.

Templeton voters will choose school board representatives when they go to the polls in November.

Four candidates are competing for two seats on the Templeton Unified School District board. Katrina Merson and Jan Nimick are incumbents who were previously elected or appointed.

Matt Vierra and Barby Lichti Wunsch are challenging the incumbents as newcomers.

The Tribune sent the candidates questionnaires asking for basic biographical information and a brief explanation of what motivated them to run for office.

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Get to know them better by checking out their profiles below. Candidates’ responses have been edited and condensed for clarity and length.

Katrina Merson

Age: 56

Biographical information: I am the proud mom of two daughters who graduated from Templeton High School. One is attending University of Notre Dame law school planning to work in the public sector, and the second is attending CSU Channel Islands working on her teaching credential.

Occupation: Incumbent board trustee and insurance agent.

Volunteer work: Trustee, Templeton Unified School District Board and Santa Lucia ROP School District Board, Templeton Education Foundation, Templeton High School supporter of drama, ASB, link crew, mock trial, PTO, PTA and FFA. I support and volunteer as my schedule allows with any organization that supports our students.

Why do you want to run for school board? It’s been my privilege to serve as your representative on the Templeton school board for four years. I’ve worked passionately to represent the interests of students, staff and citizens that call Templeton home. I believe my experience on the board, record of transparency and efforts to include teachers and parents in policy discussion will continue to benefit our district as we face even more difficult financial decisions ahead. I always do my homework to ensure I vote in the best interest of our students, to responsibly use taxpayer dollars, and fulfill our H-12 Bond promises. That’s my continued promise to Templeton, and why I ask for your vote.

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Jan Nimick

Age: 47

Biographical information: My wife and I reside in Templeton with three of our five children; we have a son and a daughter away in college. I moved to the Central Coast in 1995 following service in the U.S. Navy’s Submarine Service, originally to go to Cal Poly, and have remained here ever since. I have lived in Templeton since 2006. I have a degree in mechanical engineering from Cal Poly.

Occupation: I am a director at PG&E. I have worked at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant for 21 years in various roles.

Volunteer work: Incumbent trustee, Templeton Unified School District board, College Academic Advisory Board for the College of Engineering at Cal Poly, Boy Scout Committee Member

Why do you want to run for school board? I have enjoyed working with my fellow trustees and the amazing staff at Templeton Unified School District over the past two years. I want to continue to help the school raise academic standards, support and expand career technical education and support every student in becoming a successful adult.

Matt Vierra

Age: 54

Biographical information: Lifelong resident of the Atascadero/Templeton area. Attended Atascadero High School. Married for 22 years with twin daughters who graduated from Templeton High School in 2017. Firefighter for Atascadero Fire Department for 26 years.

Occupation: Fire Marshal for the Morro Bay Fire Department.

Volunteer work: Not provided.

Why do you want to run for school board? As a lifetime resident and proud member of our community, I’m running for school board because I believe in the value of public education. I want to work with teachers, parents and the community to ensure Templeton Unified School District students receive the best education possible. I will research, inquire and get input from teachers, staff, parents, principals and the public to arrive at the best solution for all of our students. I promise to make every effort to prepare our students for the workforce of the ever-changing job market and have the tools to be ready for college.

Barby Lichti Wunsch

Age: 42

Biographical information: Two children in Templeton Unified School District, Templeton native and graduate.

Occupation: Director of development and programs, GRID Alternatives.

Volunteer work: VP Grants and Sponsorship chairwoman, Templeton Education Foundation; Local Control Accountability Plan Committee member, Templeton Unified School District; Parent Engagement planning committee, Templeton Unified School District; Leadership North County planning committee and utilities chairwoman; Templeton Chamber of Commerce member (TEF); Templeton Community Clean-up participant; Whale Rock Music Festival Volunteer (supporting Templeton High School Band program).

Why do you want to run for school board? My experience — educator, business owner, nonprofit professional, parent, Templeton alumna, volunteer and active community contributor — combine to give me the perspective, knowledge and relationships needed to make thoughtful and informed school business decisions. I provide a voice for the community that supports all interests: students, teachers, parents, business leaders and community members. I am passionate about strengthening our Templeton community and will show up, roll up my sleeves, think critically and provide creative solutions to our toughest problems. Our Templeton schools will benefit from my strong leadership, effective communication, strategic thinking, positive attitude, and passion for our amazing community.

Lindsey Holden: 805-781-7939, @lindseymholden
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