In Their Own Words - Redlands School Board Area 1 Candidates

Meet the three candidates running for school board in South Redlands

Editor’s Note: We understand this race has brought up a range of topics that are not covered by the responses provided in these profiles. We encourage voters to visit all candidates' social media and campaign pages for a more complete picture.

RUSD Area 1 School Board candidates L-R Patty Holohan, Victoria Ogunrinu, Erin Stepien

REDLANDS, CA - There are three candidates running in the Redlands Unified School District (RUSD) Area 1 race.  To provide a look at the candidates side-by-side, Community Forward Redlands asked all candidates the same 4 questions:

  1. What do you love most about Redlands?
  2. What skills and experience do you have that you believe would be beneficial to you as an RUSD school board member?
  3. What would be your top three priorities as an RUSD school board member?
  4. If you were to win the election, how will you contribute to moving our community forward?

We have received responses from all three candidates. We are sharing their responses just as the candidates provided them. It is important to us to present each candidate in a similar manner and in their own words. We hope the profiles provide a chance for residents to learn more about the candidates’ priorities and goals if they were to be elected to the RUSD Board of Education.

In addition, we encourage voters to review the candidates’ campaign pages and social media links listed below for more information.

School Board Area Map

For the first time in 2018, RUSD School Board elections were held by newly drawn area lines. Before that time, candidates were “at-large” and voted for by the entire community.

The RUSD area map below shows Area 1 in yellow.

Redlands Unified School District Trustee Area Map

School Board Area 1 Candidate Profiles

Patty Holohan, RUSD Area 1 Trustee

What do you love most about Redlands?

What I love most about Redlands is the community of people and the willingness of the community to get involved and give back to the City of Redlands and all the nonprofits and organizations in the City. As a board member of the Redlands Bowl for the last 10 years, and having served as President of the bowl, the fact that we can provide entertainment at no cost to people is amazing.

What skills and experience do you have that you believe would be beneficial to you as a School Board member?

In 16 years of service as a Redlands Unified School District board member, I have gained experience in governance and leadership. In my first year, I remember observing school board members, getting to know the schools, and learning how things work. The public school system is a lot different than the private sector. For example, we were mandated by the State of California when it came to masks. It wasn’t a local decision. Over the years of service on the School Board and leadership in other organizations, I’ve developed the skills of listening to people, individually and in groups, and making conscious decisions. This position is like another full-time job and I am fortunate that I have a flexible job that accommodates the demands of serving on the School Board.

What would be your top 3 priorities if re-elected?

Number one is and always will be safety. Safety in our schools, safety with our students and our teachers. I want to make sure when our parents drop off kids at school it is our responsibility to keep them safe. Second is academics and excellence. Maintaining the academic standards and ensuring our students excel at Redlands Unified. Since the pandemic everyone nationally has dropped in academics so we are trying to get back on track. To address learning loss, we’ve implemented ELOP (Extended Learning Opportunity Program) at 5 of our schools to provide students with after-school learning support from 2-5 pm every day. We’re able to assist those who need assistance, which I think is awesome. My third priority is to continue to advocate for the parents, students, and teachers - I want to make sure that if a parent, student, or teacher has an issue they can come to me and I can advocate for them so they know they’re not alone and we’re working as a team.

If you were to win the election, how will you contribute to moving our community forward?

If elected, I would move the community forward by continuing to listen, learn and build partnerships. I value teamwork and will continue our partnerships with the City of Redlands Police and Fire Departments and the City Council. I also want to move forward with the partnerships I have established in the community with local nonprofits and local leaders. I'll continue to work hard and advocate for students, parents, teachers, and staff. I want to thank the RUSD community for your support over the past 16 years and I humbly ask for your continued support in November.

Endorsements and Campaign Information

Ted Alejandre, San Bernardino County School Superintendent

Superintendent Mauricio Arellano, RUSD

Robert Hodges - Former RUSD Superintendent

Lori Rhodes - Former RUSD Superintendent

Pat Kohlmeier - Former RUSD board members

Neal Waner - Former RUSD board members

Dona West - Former RUSD board members

Redlands Teachers Association

Redlands Education Support Professionals Associate (RESPA)

Redlands Professional Firefighters Association

Paul Barich - City of Redlands Mayor

Redlands Community News

For more information about Patty Holohan’s campaign for RUSD School Board Area 1 visit:

Patty Holohan on Facebook

Victoria Ogunrinu, Registered Nurse

What do you love most about Redlands?

Having lived in Loma Linda for 30+ years with my family, I have appreciated the diversity in Area 1. I admire Redlands for its Downtown beauty; I particularly love the Thursday Market Nights. The green scenic views and the people are truly kind. There’s just about everything I need for my family in Redlands, the parks, the dining, and the museum.

What skills and experience do you have that you believe would be beneficial to you as a School Board member?

I am a Retired Nursing Administrator from Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Colton (ARMC) with 46 years of experience in the field of Nursing, Management, and Administration. My goal is to address the student’s mental wellness, school safety for students and teachers; and academic achievements for ALL students. In addition, I plan to collaborate closely with the parents and listen to what they have to say. As a nurse, I have a special passion for special education students and plan to ensure they have all the resources needed to fulfill their potential. Teachers are important to me as well. They must be well paid as they play an important part in shaping the future of our kids. Also, their job is becoming riskier, and teachers need to be protected and well compensated. Finally, Inclusion and Equity make us appreciate the uniqueness of every individual. As a minority myself, I can identify with why I must be at the table on the school board and have a voice.

What would be your top 3 priorities if elected?

  • Students mental wellness
  • School Safety
  • Academic achievement for all students.

If you were to win the election, how will you contribute to moving our community forward?

  • Set in motion my 3 top priorities mentioned above by collaborating with the Department of Behavioral Health to increase access to Mental Health Services and peer-led programs
  • School safety for students and teachers is critical to academic success. Build a school environment where everyone feels comfortable and safe with culturally competent teachers and staff who can embrace diversity and embrace equity and inclusion. In addition, put safety policies in place including classroom sizes.
  • Academic Achievement for all students is important to build our nation and the cities of tomorrow. Loma Linda is a healthcare city, yet there are shortages of nurses and other healthcare professionals, our schools must sensitize students to healthcare workers to alleviate the shortages.

Endorsements and Campaign Information

For more information about Victoria Ogunrinu’s campaign for RUSD School Board Area 1 visit:


Erin Stepien, Biotech Executive

What do you love most about Redlands?

What I love most about Redlands is the sense of community. This is a city where you know your neighbors, and Redlands still offers that small-town feel and all the wonderful things that come along with that.

What skills and experience do you have that you believe would be beneficial to you as a School Board member?

I have the critical thinking skills to learn quickly and discern information, and I am not afraid to make hard decisions. I believe that education creates opportunity- giving students a path to become strong citizens and taxpayers. My private business experience will be advantageous and add diversity in thought at the board table.

What would be your top 3 priorities if elected?

  • Higher educational achievements across the district
  • Improved oversight/fiscal responsibility with community tax dollars
  • Improved transparency in board decisions, greater accountability for teachers/administration for academic results, and improved relations with RUSD parents.

If you were to win the election, how will you contribute to moving our community forward?

If I win I will work to restore RUSD back to being the strongest academic district in the Inland Empire.

Endorsements and Campaign Information

San Bernardino County GOP

For more information about Erin Stepien’s campaign for RUSD School Board Area 1 visit:

Erin Stepien on Facebook

@erinstepien_rusd on Instagram

Campaign Video on Youtube

Catch up on local election coverage

Meet the candidates running for Redlands City Council.

District 1 City Council Profiles

District 3 City Council Profiles

Coming Up…

An overview of two local ballot measures. We’ll break down what will and will not get built if Measure F passes.

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