Originally Published: September 7, 2014 6:04 a.m.
Four Prescott-area residents have thrown their hats in the ring for Prescott Unified School District board seats, to be decided at the Tuesday, Nov. 4, general election.
Maureen Erickson (incumbent), John Lamerson, Greg Mengarelli and David Stringer are running for two open seats.
"Yavapai County Election Services will be holding the election. The top vote-getters are the winners," said Laurin Custis, education elections coordinator with the Yavapai County Education Service Agency.
Those on an early-voter list will be mailed a ballot, she added. Those not on an early-voter list will be eligible to visit a local vote center.
"The last day to register to vote for the general election is Monday, Oct. 6," Custis said.
Four Yavapai College District Governing Board seats also are up for election on Nov. 4. Districts 2, 3, 4 and 5 each have one seat available. The candidates for districts 3 and 4 are running unopposed.
Herald Harrington (incumbent) and Deborah McCasland are both vying for the District 2 seat (representing Agua Fria, Beaver Creek, Camp Verde, Canyon, Cherry Creek, Cordes Lakes, Cornville, Crown King, Humboldt, Mayer, Middle Verde, Montezuma, Prescott Country Club, Stoneridge, Sugarloaf and Verde Lakes). Candidates Dale Fitzner and Steve Irwin will face off in District 5 (representing Diamond Valley, Glassford, Granville, Groom Creek, Horseshoe, Lynx Creek, Mountain View, Prescott Valley, Pronghorn View, Roundup, Superstition and Yavapai Hills).
Prescott Unified School District
PUSD incumbent candidate Erickson served as president of the Governing Board in 2013. She was elected to a four-year term in 2011. Erickson has worked in education for 32 years. She earned her first degree in 1971, and received her doctorate in education in 1991 from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Erickson said she would like to see, among other efforts, a continuation of efforts to provide a safe, respectful, and engaging learning environment.
Lamerson said he plans to bring his business management experience in both the private and government sectors to the PUSD Governing Board should he win in the election. He said his experience in budgeting, management and acquisition provides a unique set of qualifications.
Mengarelli, who has five children enrolled in the Prescott school district as well as two district graduates, has worked as the executive director for the United Christian Youth Camp for the past 19 years. He attended Kansas State University for a degree in park resource management and has been involved in the schools, serving on two site councils, booster clubs and task forces over 17 years. He calls himself a "common-sense conservative" that believes public education can be better than it is currently.
Stringer said he has a long-standing interest in education. After moving to Washington, D.C., as a college student he volunteered for the Urban League and worked with the public school system in D.C. As an attorney, Stringer worked for the Counsel For Child Abuse and Neglect in Washington, and served as guardian ad litem for court-involved youth.
Herald Harrington (District 2)
Incumbent Harrington, who hails from a Missouri farming background, has worked as a small business owner in Clarkdale for the past 20 years. He moved to the Verde Valley 30 years ago after serving six years in the U.S. Air Force at Luke Air Force Base west of Phoenix. Harrington called himself a "strong believer in the community college system and the opportunities it offers for working-class folks like me." Harrington has served on the YC Governing Board for the past 15 years and held office in each of the board officer positions during that time.
Deborah McCasland (District 2)
McCasland moved from Nebraska with her family in 1962 to Prescott, where she attended school at Lincoln School, Prescott Junior High School and Mile High Middle School. She graduated from Prescott High School in 1970 and enrolled in classes at Yavapai College before finishing her bachelor's and master's degrees at Northern Arizona University. She's been involved with the college for more than 44 years as a student, a student leader, graduate, staff member, administrator, fundraiser, taxpayer, alumnus and as a retiree.
Dale Fitzner (District 5)
Fitzner calls himself a lifelong learner and educator. His teaching career began in the early 1960s as a high school art teacher. That career continued into community college and university settings. He has worked as an educational administrator and an Arizona school superintendent for nine years. He moved to the Prescott Valley area with his wife in 2001. He's volunteered for various organizations for 40 years, including six years he served on the Prescott Valley Arts and Culture commission.
Steve Irwin (District 5)
Irwin, a resident of Prescott Valley, has served in a number of roles since leaving the Army in 1991 to move to the Prescott area, working as a public servant for federal, state and local government; in long-term care programs; with kids in the juvenile probation department; and as a teacher at Yavapai College.