Newark Unified school board appoints, swears in Carina Valencia Plancarte to fill board vacancy

NEWARK, Calif. — Carina Valencia Plancarte has been appointed to fill a vacancy on the Newark Unified School District Board of Education, created by the resignation of former board member Bowen Zhang earlier this year. Plancarte, a communications and administration manager at a security company, will serve the remainder of Zhang’s term, which ends in December 2024.

Plancarte was sworn in after a selection process that involved interviews with four candidates, all district parents, on Monday night. In addition to Plancarte, the board interviewed engineer Peter Natale, Hayward Unified School District teacher Delcina Wadia, and educator and attorney Julie Del Catancio.

The board’s decision to appoint Plancarte was made after a vote in which each board member allocated points to their preferred candidates. Plancarte received a total of 14 points, securing the appointment with support from board members Katherine Jones, Aiden Hill and Nancy Thomas.

“It was a hard decision for us,” Thomas said.

Julie Del Catancio414218
Peter Natale221328
Carina Valencia Plancarte1424414
Delcina Wadia3331310

Board Member Phuong Nguyen and student Board member Diego Torres preferred Del Catancio, but Torres’s votes were not calculated in the final score.

During her interview, Plancarte said she will prioritize improving student achievement, school safety and providing adequate resources to help students succeed. Plancarte said her greatest strength was her listening skills, which she uses to better understand challenges and create plans of action to address them. She said she will make decisions based on data and research, which she expects the superintendent and staff will use to thoroughly vet their recommendations.

Plancarte has been living in Newark for 17 years and has two children attending elementary school in the district.

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