Leonard JT Espinoza is no stranger to the public education system after having spent countless hours as a paraeducator, working with students and their families.
The 41-year old Hollister native has been with the San Benito County Office of Education for a decade. He said his experience alone is why he put his name down as a candidate for the Area 2 seat on the Hollister School District Board of Trustees.
“I will continue and always advocate for the children, inclusion and equality,” he said.
Espinoza is currently a paraeducator in the early child preschool special needs program where he works with a population of children with a range of diverse abilities.
Espinoza, who was raised in the same district area he’s running for, has three children who all attend public schools. The youngest child attends Calaveras Elementary School, while the other two attend San Benito High School.
Espinoza went to Gavilan College and got an A.A. in child development and a certificate in communication. He continued his studies at Pacific Oaks College to get a bachelor’s degree in human development with a specialization in child development.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Espinoza worked with preschoolers from age 3 all the way up to 22-year-old students. He was an orthopedic impaired paraeducator for the San Benito County Office of Education Low Incidence team.
Espinoza said he’s worked with a variety of teachers, age groups, classroom settings and grade levels.
“Those experiences helped me gain a better understanding about the Hollister School District’s classroom dynamics and curriculum with both general education and special needs population,” he said.
Espinoza said he’s running for the Trustee Area 2 seat because he feels like he’ll be the right candidate that will be a proactive, advocating voice for the families in the communities that he hopes to represent if elected.
He said that he’ll represent both the families and children’s needs along with any concerns that are unrepresented or unheard.
“I will question bias and inequalities that are in place in policies and arise in the future to give each family and student a fair education and representation so every child can reach their fullest abilities and potentials,” he said.