One is 19 years old. One is a former board member. One has been on the board for 23 years.

All are hoping for a seat on the Marana School Board come Nov. 4.

Eight candidates are competing for three Marana Unified School District Governing Board seats in what is the most contested school board race in the county.

Incumbents Dan Post and Maribel Lopez are trying to hold onto their seats, while newcomers Amy Autret, Suzanne Hopkins, Joe Koellisch, Kathryn Mikronis, Albert Siqueiros and Dean Spencer are aiming for a controlling vote in the 13,000-student district.

The candidates met last week at Mountain View High School to debate their positions.

When asked about where they’d like to see the district in five years, Lopez wanted a continuation of good leadership, so as to attract more students to Marana’s schools.

Siqueiros, a former board member, said all the elements are in place to move the district forward.

“I think we are at a point right now to take that giant leap to become the world-class organization,” he said.

Koellisch wanted better attendance at board and Parents Teachers and Friends meetings, an organization he heads.

Autret felt that the presence of Interstate 10 divides the district in half.

“We are one school district, but we are not one community,” she said.

Autret and Hopkins, who are running a joint campaign, are the only candidates from the east side of the interstate.

Unlike many of the other candidates, Autret and Hopkins felt there was not adequate representation of the eastern half of the district.

When asked about the role of a school board member, Spencer said they should be ambassadors to the community.

Spencer, at 19 years old, is the youngest of the eight contenders.

Mikronis said board members should be mindful of current trends in education.

Dan Post has served on the school board since 1985 and all 11 of his children have attended Marana schools.

“I feel like I have a few more good years in me,” Post said.

Each board member serves a four-year term.

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