Owens’ Widow, 5 Others Eye Board Seat

Brenda Jordan-Owens a surprise applicant in the running for the
vacancy left by sudden death of TJ Owens
Gilroy – TJ Owens’ widow and five others are all vying for the open district board seat.

By Tuesday’s 5pm deadline, all six locals had dropped off their applications for the GUSD board.

Since Owens’ death in October rumors concerning who would apply for the open seat have circulated throughout the Garlic Capitol. Owens was serving as board president at the time of his death and had one year left of his term.

Brenda Jordan-Owens’ submission is a surprise for the community since many locals were banking on former board members John Gurich and Bob Kraemer applying.

Kraemer and Gurich, who remained tight-lipped during the past couple weeks, didn’t apply. But Bob Heisey, who ran for the board in 2004 but lost, ended up throwing his name in the pool.

Other applicants included William Paterson, David Stiffler, Kai Lai and Javier Aguirre.

Paterson, a retired orthodontist and Gavilan College teacher, served on the GUSD board for 17 years and as president for three years. Paterson said he just wants to fill in for one year and has no plans to remain on the board.

Stiffler moved to California from Indiana four years ago and has lived in Gilroy for the past two years. Stiffler served on the Mount Pleasant Township School Corporation in Indiana from 1996 to 2000. He is currently working at the Gilroy Chevrolet Cadillac dealership and served as president of Brooks and Bryman College, two vocational education schools.

Lai, a retired engineer, served on the board for 10 years from 1981 to 1991 and is currently serving on the GUSD Accountability Taskforce.

Aguirre, a lawyer, is senior policy aide for the County Board of Supervisors in San Jose and currently serves as an advisor to the Gilroy Foundation board. He also serves on the El Portal Charter School board.

Jordan-Owens has taught for more than 30 years at both comprehensive and alternative educational schools. She currently teaches at Foothill High School. She has helped numerous at-risk youth prepare for the general education development test.

Heisey, senior plant breeder and station director at United Genetics Seeds Company in Hollister, served on the Gilroy High School Site Council and previously on the Brownell Middle School site council. One of his sons currently attends GHS, the other graduated from the school.

Candidates still need to turn in written responses to 10 questions from the board by Dec. 2 at 5pm. The applications and written responses will be delivered to board members on Dec. 5. The board will interview candidates on Dec. 12 at 6pm and select the candidate at the vacancy.

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