Today is the last day of filing for the position of San Joaquin County Office of Education superintendent. Candidate’s papers have to be filed at the county Registrar of Voters in Stockton by 5 p.m.
The original deadline was Monday, March 10. However, since the incumbent is not seeking re-election, the deadline was automatically extended.
Superintendent Mick Founts has announced late last year that he is retiring in June when the current school year ends. He has been at the helm since being elected to the post in 2008; however, his retirement will wrap up more than two decades of service in the administrative level at the county Office of Education, from director and other various positions to being deputy superintendent to his predecessor Fredrick Wentworth.
The primary elections on June 3 will be a three-way race, as of press time, among Jeff Tilton of Manteca, James Mousalimas of Tracy, and Michael Gillespie of Lodi. The two candidates garnering the most votes will go on to face each other in a run-off race during the general elections in November. In the event one of the three captures 50 percent plus one of the votes in June, that candidate will be declared the winner and the election will not move on to November, according to a staff at the county Registrar of Voters.
Here’s a quick look at the three candidates in the race to succeed Founts as superintendent of the San Joaquin County Office of Education:
• Jeff Tilton – An educator with nearly 30 years experience, Tilton has been a classroom teacher, coach, principal, and senior administrator at school districts as well as two county offices of education. He has been an adjunct faculty member at several universities in California and Oregon, and has worked for the Northwest Evaluation Association, an international educational research organization. According to his official election website, he is the only declared candidate to have earned his doctorate degree which he earned from the University of the Pacific, and to be a current superintendent of schools. He was recently appointed superintendent of charter schools for the New Jerusalem School District in Tracy. A graduate of Manteca High School, California State University at Stanislaus, and UOP in Stockton, he lives with his wife Shalice in Stockton. They are the parents of four grown children.
• James Mousalimas – According to his official election website, the Tracy resident has 28 years of experience in public and private education, 20 of them serving as assistant principal, principal, director, assistant superintendent and deputy superintendent. His experience includes managing and balancing multi-million dollar budget, supervising and evaluating employees, and overseeing curriculum development and implementation.
• Michael Gillespie – The Lodi resident is a longtime advocate for charter schools and is the founder of a dual-language program in Lodi. The assistant superintendent at Gateway Community Charters in Sacramento, Gillespie has 21 years experience as an educator starting as a fifth-grade teacher.