Retired teacher Rachel Caudillo is giving incumbent James “Jim” Kilner his first challenge for the Area 5 seat on the Kings County Board of Education.
Kilner has been on the Kings County Board of Education for 14 years. He was appointed to a vacant seat in 1997 and ran unopposed in 2000, 2004 and 2008. He had previously served two terms on the Armona Union Elementary School District board.
Kilner was the Kings County fire chief for eight years, retiring in 2011. He said his main goal is to make sure the kids in the county have good opportunities.
“We need to develop more opportunities for the kids so they have a better chance at success,” he said.
Kilner, currently the board’s president, said he wants to keep the board going in a good direction and that his record shows he has the capability to do that.
“I bring a level head and a team-player attitude,” he said. “I think I’ve done a good job; now it’s up to the voters to decide.”
Kilner’s opponent, Rachel Caudillo, said she is better equipped to handle education issues because she has seen firsthand, as an educator for 30 years, how these issues are affecting student learning.
“I feel that I have a better perspective than the people currently on the board because I have been in the trenches,” she said. “The people on the board now don’t have that kind of experience.”
Caudillo said parent input and fairness are some of her major concerns. She would like to see more integration of some of the more capable special education students into regular classrooms. She also understands that budget cuts are affecting county schools and believes funds need to go to curriculum first.
“I think I have a good idea of where the needs are,” she said.
Caudillo said she wants to be on the board so she can help others and give back to her community. She expects it to be a very competitive race.
Area 5 is a largely rural district which includes Armona, southwest Hanford and the northeast tip of Lemoore.
Area 1 Trustee Marlene “Mickey” Thayer, who represents Lemoore and the western part of the county, and Area 2 board member Joe Hammond, whose spacious area includes the southern part of the county, drew no challengers and will return to the board.
The terms of the other board members, John Boogard and William Gundacker, run until November 2014.
The reporter can be reached at 583-2429 or jluiz@HanfordSentinel.com.