On Wednesday, citing “family care” reasons, Vice President Dr. Clyde Lewis declined the possibly of being nominated for Antioch Unified School Board president. The board then voted 3-2 after some debate to appoint Trustee Gary Hack.
Mary Rocha nominated Trustee Gary Hack for Board President which was seconded by Clyde Lewis.
With the motion still on the table, Trustee Antonio Hernandez stated he believed Lewis would become the next board president given his current role as vice president.
Board President Ellie Householder chimed in prior to comments made by Lewis.
“I really did expect you would be president as well. I hope that you will be president at the end of this discussion because I really would hate to see another black trustee get passed up,” stated Householder.
Householder was making reference to both Crystal Sawyer-White and Debra Vinson who served as vice president of the board but were never appointed as Board President.
Lewis offered an explanation saying it was for family issue.
“This is a very difficult decision for me but without going into it to much details, but I will respect no further questions about what I am going to say, but I have family challenges. Not with my immediate marriage family, so its not that or nothing like that, but there is some caregiving that I have to do this year that came up unexpectedly,” explained Lewis. “As a result, giving the attention needed to the presidency, its something that will be outside my purview and I don’t know how long it will be.”
Householder asked even if they nominated him for the position, you wouldn’t accept it.
Lewis replied, “I would likely decline for this year… its not that I don’t want the position, its because I have family things that I have to deal with.”
In a public comment, Lindsey Amezcua responded to Householders earlier comments to Lewis.
“Dr. Lewis, I am very saddened to hear you will not be taking the position, we were all so very hopeful but I thin Gary Hack will do a phenomenal job and I absolutely support that appointment as well,” said Amezcue. “Dr. Lewis, not because of anything else, not your race, not your sexuality, not your gender but because you are the most qualified in our view. And I am sorry other people are reducing you to your race and not your qualifications. I hope next year you will take it. Thank you for everything you do for our students”
Householder said she would not be supporting Hack for president.
“I know Trustee Hack would do a good job, but I would just like to see somebody else in the position. So I will be supporting Trustee Hernandez,” said Householder who wanted to explain her vote.
Trustee Hernandez chimed in stating Hack would provide stability, but its not what the District needed and he wanted the position as Board President.
“We need progress forward, we need progressive thinking, we need changes that are going to help our students that are going to move things in a better direction,” stated Hernandez. “In the pandemic we are still going through, there has been a lot of disruption and a lot of challenges, but within disruption and within challenges, there is always an opportunity to come with something new, something better, something that pushes us forward. I would like to take the position of Board President and I present that as another option.”
He acknowledged the reservations with his experience but said they needed to move forward.
“As a Latino male, I’ve spent my entire life being underestimated and people thinking I can’t do things and I am 100% confident that I can do the job and keep pushing us forward and moving this district in a direction we need to go,” stated Hernandez who said that was the context of his vote, not a reflection of Hack.
Trustee Mary Rocha said it takes three votes to move things forward, its not the chair and the chair only takes care of the formality, it’s the entire board who makes the change.
Householder then made a substitute motion to elect Hernandez as board president, which was seconded by Hernandez. The vote failed in a 2-3 vote with Hack, Lewis and Rocha voting against.
The original motion by Rocha was then called for to appoint Hack as board president which passed in a 3-2 vote with Householder and Hernandez dissenting.
For vice president, Lewis nominated Hernandez which passed in a 5-0 vote.