For 27 years and six consecutive terms, Mary Anne Filice went unopposed for the San Benito County Board of Education District 1 seat. That has changed with the upcoming election, as two contenders are also vying for the position.
“I really enjoy the competition, and I think it’s great they’ve taken an interest in wanting to contribute to the education of the students in our district,” Filice said.
Filice sees a pressing need for community-wide support for the alternative schools in the County, including San Andreas Continuation High, Santa Ana Opportunity School and Pinnacles Community School. According to Filice, truancy and lack of funding are issues that need to be tackled immediately.
“Kids rely on schools for most of their daily life, and these schools really need a lot of help and support,” she said. “There is an urgency to help kids in alternative schools and transition them to get into adulthood successfully.”
Filice communicates regularly with a couple of teachers at the alternative schools, and knows quality education and programs will go a long way in helping students turn their academics and life around. Filice said school safety remains a top priority at these schools since a lot of the students are involved in gangs.
“It’s just an issue we need to be keenly aware of at all times,” she said. “Knowing many people in the community from all the years I’ve been on the Board, I get the inside story and the issues students are facing and then try to figure out what programs will help them.”
Filice earned her teaching credential from San Jose State University and went on to work at various schools for over 20 years, including Spring Grove School. She currently runs her own real-estate company—Mary Anne Filice Realty—and has two daughters who have worked in the educational setting.
San Benito County Office of Education District 1 includes the northeast portion of the county.