Colonial High School teacher Johanna López has filed to run for the open District 2 seat on the Orange County School Board.

López, a former Orange County “Teacher of the Year” award winner, filed Wednesday to enter an already-crowded field to succeed Orange County School Board Member Daryl Flynn. Other candidates seeking to represent the east-central Orange County district include Sara Au, Jacqueline Centeno, David GrimmChadwick Hardee, and Demetrius Smith.

If elected, López would become the first Latina member of the Orange County School Board, according to a press release from her campaign.

López, 45, has been a Spanish teacher at Colonial High School since 1999. The release noted that López is known for her students’ consistent perfect passing rates in the national AP Spanish Language, and AP Spanish Literature exams. She has also served as Colonial’s girls’ varsity volleyball coach and Hispanic Honor Society sponsor. In 2016 she was recognized as the first Latina Teacher of the Year in Orange County.

“As a mother of four and as a lifelong educator, I have gained the necessary skills to fully understand the problems being faced by our county’s public schools,” López stated in the news release. “At the same time, through my experiences working with different OCPS departments and community organizations, I have learned about potential solutions that could make our schools more innovative, more inclusive, and much safer. This candidacy is about ensuring that the voices of all students, teachers, staff members, administrators, and community members are well-represented in our School Board.”

She also is the founder of Familias Presentes: Estudiantes Excelentes, an online forum directed to making the parents aware of different educational issues and opportunities. She is also a member of the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association (CTA), Maestros Puertorriqueños en Acción, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Teachers Advisory Council.

In the release, López also highlighted the important role her students and former students played in her decision to enter this race.

“At first, I was really hesitant about entering this race because of how polarized our political system has become,” she stated. “However, after many conversations in which my students and former students encouraged me to run, I realized how this candidacy could potentially empower our community. Without a doubt, this will be people-powered campaign, primarily led by my former and current students!”

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