Dirkse in lead for Denair school board

November 5, 2013 

— A parent who has attended nearly every board meeting this year and expressed concern about student morale led a five-candidate field for two full-term seats on the Denair Unified School District board.

Sandi Dirkse advocated efficiencies and high expectations for academics, athletics and activities in the financially troubled district, which is on the verge of being taken over by the state. Dirkse also had the endorsement of the teachers union, which is at loggerheads with the current board and administration over further salary cuts.

Dirkse was more than 225 votes ahead of current board president Robert Hodges, a farmer, who was in a solid second place in the contest for four-year seats. Travis “T.J.” Lake, administrator for the nonprofit Asprianet, was in third.

In the two-person contest for a short term on the board, Stanislaus County Office of Education teacher and district parent Kathi Dunham-Filson led with 54 percent of the voters over Joel Sanders, who was laid off from the Denair district in January and now heads maintenance and operations for the Empire Union district. Sanders had been endorsed by the teachers’ union.

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