BRENTWOOD -- Former Liberty Union High School District trustee Yolanda Peña-Mendrek was still leading the pack early Wednesday morning with all but three precincts reporting.

Mendrek had garnered 32.08 percent of the vote out of the gates in the race for two openings on the board. She was followed by incumbent Ray Valverde, who had a 25.74 percent share.

Another former trustee, Ron Enos, had 21.71 percent, and challenger Steve White was trailing with 20.19 percent.

The field includes board President Ray Valverde as well as former trustees Ron Enos and Yolanda Peña-Mendrek.

Challenger Steve White would be the only newcomer to the board.

Valverde, who is making a bid for his fifth term, says his goal is to get Liberty High School's playing fields in better shape as well as replace the Brentwood campus' aging swimming pool.

He points to Heritage High School's performance on state standardized tests last year as his most significant achievement: The Brentwood high school met the state's goal for the first time by earning an average score of 800 on a scale of 200 to 1,000.

Valverde, 67, is a Brentwood resident who works as a substitute high school teacher in Antioch.

Enos, 65, is also well-acquainted with the district, having graduated from Liberty High School and returned to teach math there for about a dozen years as well as serving as a board trustee for two terms.


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The Brentwood real estate broker said his real estate background and role in the design and construction of Freedom High School while he was on the board could come in handy during district discussions of where and how to build a fourth campus.

Enos said his priorities are ensuring campus safety and improving test scores.

He also wants teachers to spend more time helping students in the "middle," those with average grades whom he says tend to receive less attention than their underachieving peers.

Mendrek, 61, is running for a second term after having served on the board a few years ago.

Like Valverde, the Brentwood resident still teaches and has administrative experience; Mendrek spent eight years as a vice principal at both Heritage and Liberty high schools.

In addition to giving teachers a bigger say in the kind of training they receive, she said she would approve layoffs of other employees before allowing the district to cut guidance counselors; Mendrek said they have the ability to pinpoint the reasons a student is having trouble in school.

Brentwood resident Steven White wants to be the new face on the board so he can have a hand in getting more parents involved in school activities, including back-to-school night.

The 58-year-old construction project manager said the district should encourage participation if it sent families more newsletters and emails conveying what it expects of them and their children.

White, who said more parents should be volunteering on campuses, said by playing an active role in the education of their child and others, they can influence the district's dropout rate and test scores.

Contact Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141. Follow her at Twitter.com/RowenaCoetsee.