Here's what you need to know about Ogden and Weber School Board primaries

Thursday , June 21, 2018 - 5:00 AM

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story inadvertently omitted Stacy Palen from the list of candidates for Weber School Board District 4. The list below is correct. 

WEBER COUNTY — The June 26 primary elections will narrow down the candidates of the school board races in two Ogden School Board districts and in one Weber School Board district.

Ogden School Board of Education District 2 has three hopefuls and District 4 also has three contenders. In Weber School Board District 4, a businessman, a Weber State University professor, and a retired policeman will face the incumbent board member. 

Because school board races are nonpartisans, those districts with more than two candidates have to go to a primary to narrow down the race to two.

School board races with two candidates move directly to the November elections.

Are you still deciding for which candidate you should vote? Mailed-in ballots must be postmarked by June 25.

Here is a list of school board primary races for Weber and Ogden School Districts:

Ogden School Board District 2

RELATED: Ogden School Board District 2 race focuses on building upgrades, bond proposal

Oscar Mata, 24, owns a substance abuse prevention company and has been involved in local politics for multiple years. He has said he will focus on the exodus of students and teachers in the school district.

He said the lack of transparency with the school board members, especially during last November’s failed $106.5 million bond proposal, concerned him and motivated him to run for office.

Incumbent Doug Barker, 53, was first elected to the board in 2014. He is a teacher at South Ogden Junior High School.

He has said he is committed to passing a new bond that will be used to upgrade some of the deteriorating elementary school buildings in the school district. He will also focus on finding ways to retain students and teachers.

David Smith, 66, taught for 30 years at George Washington High School. He retired last month.

He has said, if elected, he would like to work with the community before moving forward with school consolidations. He said he is running because he wants to stay involved in the community and the schools.

Ogden School Board District 4

RELATED: Ogden School Board District 4 candidates focus on teachers, access

Sheldon Cheshire, 43, is the coordinator of leadership programs at Weber State University. He has said that the $106.5 million dollar bond that failed last year motivated him to run.

He has said he wants to focus on passing a bond that meets the needs of the students, as well as improving the communication between the school board and the community.

Sunni Wilkinson, 40, is an English professor at Weber State University. She has said she wants to focus on finding ways to stop the exodus of teachers in the school district.

Equality and access to education is something that Wilkinson will also prioritize if elected, she has said.

Iain Hueton, 57, is a product development engineer based in Ogden. He has said he is running to protect the neighborhood schools.

He also wants to solve the exodus of teachers by providing more support to them and helping increase their autonomy.

RELATED: Ogden School Board candidates talk teacher retention, avoid school closure topic

Weber School Board District 4

RELATED: Weber District 4 candidates focus on school safety, teacher salaries

Incumbent Paul Widdison, 57, was selected last year to replace the late Richard Favero. He is running for the first time this year.

He has said he wants to give continuity to his job and would like to push for more inclusion and access to education in the school district.

Bryce Lythgoe, 38, is the owner of UT Kilts, an online store specialized in selling kilts. Prior to creating his business, he taught at Sand Ridge Junior High School for 10 years.

He has said that, if elected, he will focus on providing support to teachers, as well as working with the school district to improve the compensation teachers receive.

Edward Peters, 74, is a retired policeman from Los Angeles. He has lived in Utah for three years.

Peters has said that, if elected, he will focus on making schools safer.

Stacy Palen, a Marriott-Slaterville resident, is a physics professor at Weber State University. 

She ran for mayor of Marriott-Slaterville last year, but was beat by Mayor Scott VanLeeuwen.

Contact education reporter Sergio Martínez-Beltrán at smartinezbeltran@standard.net  or 801-625-4274. Follow him on Twitter @SergioMarBel  and like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/STANDARDEXSergio. 

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