Annette Yee Steck leads in early results for Board of Education seat – Monterey Herald

Annette Yee Steck is leading in early returns for Monterey County’s Board of Education open representative seat.

Yee Steck has 58% of the 9,615 votes counted by Tuesday at 8 pm for the Trustee Area 1 seat – which includes New Monterey, Pacific Grove, Del Monte Forest, Carmel, Carmel Valley and Big Sur. She leads Jake Odello, the only other candidate.

“I’m excited. It’s pretty positive so far,” Yee Steck said. “I’m certainly grateful that the voters that the results are in for look to be supporting me so far. I’m not going to take anything for granted, we still have a long way to go. The ballots are still coming in tonight, we’ll just see how it goes.”

In November, the Monterey County Office of Education board of trustees voted unanimously to appoint Yee Steck to fill the open seat. However, earlier this year a petition with over 500 validated signatures was filed to remove her, resulting in the special election that was included in Tuesday’s primary.

The Board of Education supports and guides the Monterey County Office of Education and is comprised of seven members who represent individual Trustee Areas of the county. Each member is elected by the voters in that area and serves a four-year term.

Yee Steck has lived in Monterey County for 31 years and previously served as Board Trustee for the Carmel Unified School District for 27 years, where she was voted board president six times. She also teaches in the California School Boards Association Masters in Governance program – a program she graduated from in 2004 – where she teaches trustees and superintendents how to successfully govern their school districts.

Yee Steck’s campaign focused on the need for advocating for solutions to declining student enrollment, addressing the teacher shortage and reducing learning gaps caused by the pandemic.

“I’m of the mind that I should listen and see what is needed at the county level. I know that those three things are super critical at this point,” she said. “When you join a board, you are part of a board. You aren’t just yourself, so I’d like to listen to what they think are the priorities.”

Jake Odello – a Carmel native – works as an adjunct professor in the agriculture department and Hartnell college and Director of Food and Industrial safety for a local agriculture company (Jake Odello).

Odello previously ran for a seat on the Carmel Unified School District school board in 2020. He said that while he’s discouraged by the early results, he’s proud of his 100% grassroots and family-driven campaign.

“At this point, what happens happens. We didn’t leave anything on the table, we ran a great campaign,” he said. “We stayed positive…we gave it our all.”

Odello – a Carmel native – works as an adjunct professor in the agriculture department at Hartnell college and the director of food and industrial safety for a local agriculture company. In 2020 he was appointed to the Monterey County Community Action Commission, where he serves on the executive committee and addresses issues related to poverty in the county.

Odello’s campaign focused on promoting diverse and unique student pathways, supporting and delivering on better career technical educational and vocational programs and preparing school districts to develop better emergency preparedness for the future.

The winner will serve as the area’s representative until November, when the seat will be open for a four-year term at the general election.

“I was pleased to be appointed the first time and just very grateful to the voters for seeing that my experience was important to them and that I had the knowledge and benefit to kind of be able to help immediately with the county board,” Yee Steck said.

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