Dover, Arellano race for Gilroy seat on Gavilan school board


Three seats on the Gavilan College Board of Trustees are up for grabs in the November election, one each in the Gilroy, Morgan Hill and San Benito County areas.

Two candidates have emerged in the race for the Gilroy seat.

Incumbent Mark Dover will run against newcomer Rochelle Arellano, a freelance writer and translator who was formerly married to Gilroy City Councilman Peter Arellano.

Rochelle was not available for comment as of press time.

Dover, 46, teaches student government at Salinas High School and is a lifelong Gilroy resident who served on the Gavilan Board of Education for 12 years and counting.

Having been rooted at Gavilan since he was a student and baseball player there in 1984 prior to becoming a Gavilan coach and teacher, “I’m not running a politician,” said Dover. “I’m running as a longtime family member of the college. I love the institution. It’s just been part of me.”

Seeking change in what had been “a downward spiral” at Gavilan more than a decade ago is what initially prompted Dover to run for a spot on the school board. After witnessing the college go through “really ugly times” marked by layoffs and canceling programs, Dover said his commitment to “protecting safeguards that have been put in place so the college isn’t subjected to that again” is what keeps him coming back, term after term.

San Benito County Trustee Tom Breen, 76, is also game to stick it out for another four years.   

The retired judge and veteran Gavilan trustee of 12 consecutive years says he simply enjoys being a part of the local collegiate community, whether its stepping into his leadership role as a board member or being a student and taking art classes.

“My daughter graduated from there,” he noted. “I know a lot of people there. I like the programs and I like the place.”

Morgan Hill resident and incumbent Jonathan Brusco will run for the Morgan Hill seat. Brusco was unanimously appointed to the board in April following the tragic March 2 death of late trustee Mike Davenport, who served on the Gavilan Board of Education since 2008.

Brusco is a seventh-grade history at Harker Middle School in San Jose, classical pianist, author of a published mystery fiction novel, Taekwondo coach and certified black belt.

A self-described educator who is passionate about making a “direct impact on people every day,” Brusco holds two separate education credentials and a masters in philosophy from San Jose State University. He was appointed this year by District 1 Supervisor Mike Wasserman as Commissioner to the Santa Clara County Citizens’ Advisory Commission on Elections.

“I got into education to help others – I didn’t get into it to get rich,” noted Brusco during his interview in April. “I love being an educator. This is what I’ve dedicated my life to. Community colleges educate the vast majority of people who live in this district and county.”

The deadline to file candidacy papers with the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters was Friday.


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