Brian de la Porte and Hugo Molina, Ceres Unified School District’s newest trustees, were sworn in along with incumbent Faye Lane during Thursday’s board meeting.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while,” said de la Porte, 38, of joining the School Board. “The opportunity presented itself. It’s an honor and privilege because I get to represent part of Ceres. On a grander scale, I represent the entire district. I’m going to try to do a great job.”
De la Porte attended Ceres schools from 1987 to 1999. He was a student at Carroll Fowler Elementary, Mae Hensley Jr. High and Ceres High School.
“I’m a product of Ceres Unified School District,” said de la Porte, who teaches P.E. and coaches boys basketball at Delhi High School. “I went to school in Ceres since the first grade. I’ve had great teachers and coaches throughout my life. It’s had a huge influence on what I did now.”
De la Porte will be serving in a one-time five-year seat as the district realigns terms so that elections will be held during gubernatorial or presidential elections. The action is being taken because of a change in state law designed to increase voter turnout.
He replaces Jim Kinard in Trustee Area 1.
De la Porte collected 376 votes, or 65.96 percent, to Kinard’s 194 votes, or 34.94 percent, during the Nov. 5 general election.
“I want to give back,” he said. “Being a part of the community is very important to me and it’s very important to my family.”
De la Porte and Molina joined incumbents Lane, Mike Welsh, Betty Davis, Valli Wigt and Lourdes Perez on the Ceres School Board.
“There are some very talented people that in our district,” noted de la Porte. “The leadership is pretty strong. I’m going to listen to the people that have been there and take their advice. That’s important.”
“Working with (Superintendent) Dr. Scott Siegel for the past month has been a good experience,” he added. “He’s taught me a lot.”
Molina, 41, ran unopposed for the Trustee Area 7 seat. Teresa Guerrero decided against seeking re-election to spend more time with her grandchildren.
Molina stepped down from the Ceres Planning Commission in December 2017. He ran unsuccessfully for Ceres City Council in three-person races in 2011 and 2013.
Molina obtained a California state insurance license in 2008. He previously served as a customer service supervisor for Northwest Airlines in San Francisco, was the senior credit manager for CitiFinancial in Modesto and was customer service manager for Auto America Insurance in Los Banos. Molina presently owns Palmwest Insurance Services in Los Banos. He is married with two children.
Molina, who didn’t speak English when he moved from Guatemala to the United States at the age of 16, became the first member of his family to earn a college degree.
“I have been able to begin to make a difference as a role model to young people who have approached me and tell me that many of my decisions have inspired them to make changes in their lives,” he said. “That is actually a priceless feeling.”
Lane was unopposed for re-election for the Trustee Area 4 seat and was appointed in lieu of an election. Her term will run five years.