HUSD Director Ross Valenzuela (left) congratulates Vic Scavarda on his selection to the HUSD Board. Photo by J.P. Crumrine

Former Idyllwild School teacher Vic Scavarda was selected Tuesday afternoon, June 4, to replace retiring Hemet Unified School District Trustee Bill Sanborn on the governing board in July, representing the Idyllwild area.

Scavarda and three other candidates met with the HUSD board in open session. The board asked the candidates to respond to these four statements:

  • Briefly describe your qualifications for the position of provisional board member.
  • Please summarize for us why you want to be a school trustee and the strengths you would bring as a member of the board?
  • Describe your response if a parent cornered you in the grocery store and asked for your support on a particularly hot issue?
  • Why do you believe you should be selected as a provisional board member?

Besides Scavarda, Candidate John Graham also is a former teacher with HUSD. Robert Righetti is a planning consultant and Dr. Charles Schelly is a chiropractor. Their children have all gone through the Hemet School district.

Scavarda advocated returning the arts and performing arts to the middle school program. He also said he wanted to explore improving the connection between the district and Mt. San Jacinto Community College.

But Director Lisa DeForest said she was impressed with his devotion to Idyllwild, though recognizing that the district includes thousands of other students with their own needs.

“I think Bill’s [Sanborn] is a tough seat to fill and it’s very important Idyllwild is represented by someone sitting up there, but also the whole school district,” she said.

Describing his strengths, Righetti stressed his willingness to provide the district’s superintendent with independent views and feedback. “It has to be varied; it should not represent people who work for you. It should be from the public,” he stated, alluding to Scavarda and Graham’s teacher backgrounds.

During his comments, Graham stressed the need to put more priority on vocational programs. While the district must focus on preparing students for college, he stressed that only 30 percent of jobs need a college education. Thus, the district must also ensure that graduates can gain employment.

After an hour of addressing the questions, DeForest nominated Scavarda for the approaching vacancy, Director Jim Smith seconded the motion and the vote was unanimous, 6-0. Sanborn, who is retiring, excused himself from the decision.

In discussing the candidates, Director Ross Valenzuela said, “Vic Scavarda was at the top of my list.”

After the decision, Scavarda said, “I’m truly overwhelmed. I keep playing it back in my head. Did I really hear that?”

In the sudden role of preparing and reviewing budgets totaling a hundred-million dollars, Scavarda said, “We have fewer resources and infinite needs; prioritizing will be difficult.”