Thomas Barton won the special election for the Rancho Santa Fe School District board. The results from the San Diego County Registrar of Voters are not yet official but Barton received 48.96 percent of the vote, with Jon Yonemitsu behind him with 38.51 percent.
A total of five candidates vied for one seat following a recall petition in opposition to the board’s appointment process following the resignation of board member Marti Ritto last year.
“I’m thrilled with the results of the election.The spirit so many members of this community exhibited during this special election is a testament to our strong collective commitment to educational excellence,” said Barton. “I look forward to collaborating with the other board members to represent the entire community and ensure that our district is putting its valuable time and resources to the most effective use.”
A California native, Barton moved to Rancho Santa Fe with his wife in 2013 specifically so that their three daughters could attend R. Roger Rowe School. The girls are currently second, fourth and sixth grade students.
Over the past 20 years, Barton has simultaneously pursued two career tracks as a real-estate executive and as an educator. He completed his PhD at Yale University in 2006 and joined the faculty of the University of San Diego in 2007.
“I will draw on my background in higher education to help the board govern with greater transparency and inclusiveness,” Barton said. “If we can work together and be more responsive to community input, we will be able to realize our full potential and outperform other top schools throughout the county and state.”
During his candidacy, Barton spoke about the importance of being efficient and effective with district resources, school safety, boosting student achievement and broader community engagement.
Of the 4,321 registered voters in the district there were 1,062 votes cast in the all-mail election. Candidate Elise Dufresne received 5.08 percent of the vote, Steven Hughes received 4.52 percent and Jee Manghani received 2.92 percent.
“I’d like to recognize my enthusiastic endorsers and supporters throughout the district and to thank our current board, school and foundation leaders who all work so diligently to make our school excellent and a source of pride for all of our residents,” Barton said “I appreciate the other candidates for engaging in stimulating, intellectual discussions throughout the campaign. Any one of them would have been an extraordinary addition to the board.”
As Barton’s seat fulfills the rest of Ritto’s term, it will be up for election again in November 2018 along with President Todd Frank’s seat.