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Here are the 5 candidates running to fill the empty Moreno Valley school board seat

Five candidates will face off in a May 7 special election to fill an empty seat on the board that oversees Riverside County’s third-largest school district.
The vacancy on the Moreno Valley Unified School District board was created by the resignation last summer of former board member Evan Morgan , and a subsequent move to boot off the panel  a man appointed to temporarily fill the post.
John Ashley is one of five candidates who have qualified to run for the empty seat on the Moreno Valley school board in a May 7 special election. (Photo courtesy of John Ashley)
Darrell A. Peeden is one of five candidates who have qualified to run for the empty seat on the Moreno Valley school board in a May 7 special election. (Photo courtesy of Darrell Peeden)
Sound The gallery will resume in seconds George F. Schoelles is one of five candidates who have qualified to run for the empty seat on the Moreno Valley school board in a May 7 special election. (Photo courtesy of the Schoelles family)
Keri A. Then is one of five candidates who have qualified to run for the empty seat on the Moreno Valley school board in a May 7 special election. (Photo courtesy of Keri Then)
Patricia Vargas Sanchez is one of five candidates who have qualified to run for the empty seat on the Moreno Valley school board in a May 7 special election. (File photo)
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That move led the board to call for a special election that will pit the man who was booted off — Darrell A. Peeden — against John Ashley, a chief technology officer and son of former Riverside County supervisor Marion Ashley; George F. Schoelles, a business owner; Keri A. Then, who teaches business at the University of Redlands and ran unsuccessfully for Moreno Valley City Council in November; and Patricia Vargas Sanchez, a call center supervisor at the county health department who ran unsuccessfully for county supervisor.
“I’m definitely not giving up,” Peeden said on Monday, Feb. 11. “I’m excited about getting out into the community and earning the community’s trust and vote.”
The election comes at a rocky time for the five-member board, which has been shorthanded off and on since June.
Morgan, who was elected to the board in 2016 and faced criticism for past social media posts , was placed on leave in late June  following the disclosure that Corona police arrested him on suspicion of felony burglary and felony vandalism. He quit the board in late August  after being arraigned on unrelated weapons charges.
Then, following the board’s appointment in October, Peeden was removed in December .
“I’d like to see stability on the board,” Ashley said by phone Monday.
And Schoelles, during the October interviews that led to the short board appointment, said:  “I would try to bring respect back to TA (Trustee Area) 5.”
Trustee Area 5 encompasses much of northern Moreno Valley north of Ironwood Avenue. Between Perris Boulevard and Pigeon Pass Road/Frederick Street, the boundaries extend south to Dracea Avenue.
Vargas Sanchez said she is running to bring more ethnic balance to a board that represents a diverse community. She said she also wants to go beyond traditional teaching and to help students become critical thinkers.
“We’re not all going to be lawyers and doctors,” she added. “We want them to get good grades. But we want them to enjoy the process of learning and make that a lifelong habit.”
Schoelles’ priorities include boosting graduation rates, attracting and retaining high-quality teachers, making schools more secure, expanding the use of technology and integrating the arts into programs, according to his campaign website . His wife, Diane, wrote in an email that Schoelles was out of town and unavailable for comment Monday.
Then said she would emphasize student success.
“One thing I will be asking at every board meeting is, ‘Where do we stand on student achievement?’” Then said.
Then said she has been a member of the citizen oversight committee that reviews district expenditures of Measure M bond funds, which have brought such projects as the Canyon Springs High School football stadium and a new elementary school.
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Ashley said he’d focus on imparting the “right skills” to pupils.
“This economy is changing rapidly and students need to be able to meet that challenge,” he said.
Peeden said he would press for the same programs to be offered at every school.
“I’ve heard this over and over from parents: ‘Why does one campus have this program but another campus doesn’t?’” he said.

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