Bishop school district to fill board vacancy

Terrance Vestal
Staff Writer

Six candidates are vying to fill one seat

By Terrance Vestal
Managing Editor

At its Thursday meeting, the Bishop Unified School District Board of Trustees is scheduled to fill a vacancy on its board.
The vacancy is left by Steve Elia whose resignation was accepted by Inyo County Office of Education Aug. 22.
The board is set to meet at 6:30 p.m. at the Bishop Activity Center/Cafeteria, 800 W. Pine St.
The candidates, according to the agenda, are: Pam Foster, Joshua Nicholson, Meryl Picard, Suzanne Rizo, Anna Scott and Kathryn Zack
Foster, the court executive director of the Superior Court of California, County of Inyo, stated in her candidate’s form that she “believes in our schools and our community and would like to use my knowledge and expertise to serve our students on their paths to excellence.”
She is a parent of a BUHS senior and freshman and two younger children who will be attending Bishop schools.
Nicholson, who served on the school board from 2014-2018 and is a deputy with the Inyo County Sheriff’s office, stated that “our district began to focus more on school safety but there is no doubt we can and should be doing more.”
He said second to school safety is the education because “nobody can learn effectively if they are no safe or do not feel safe.”
Picard, who works in Human Resources at the Owens Valley Career Development Center, stated “as a past education director for the Bishop Paiute Tribe, I have worked closely with the Bishop Unified School District and California Department of Education.
She stated that the strong relationships she has built with students, families and staff will make her a valuable addition to the board.
Rizo, the director of the Eastern Sierra Department of Child Support Services since 2010, stated that ensuring that students have a solid education that prepares them to engage in their community, trade and/or chosen profession is critical.
“As a working professional, wife and mother of two children, I want to work to ensure our local educational system is the best it can be and offers students the educational skills needed to have a successful future,” Rizo stated.
Scott, the deputy director for Public Health and Prevention in the Inyo County Health and Human Services Department, stated that she understands how critical quality education and healthy child development is to the community.
She has a daughter in the eighth grade at home Street Middle School and her son will be attending next year.
“While I have a vested personal interest in helping to ensure our local education system is strong and effective, I also see the broader social and economic benefit to our community that comes from an investment in education,” Scott stated.
Zack, who owns Zack Ranch in Bishop with her husband and who served on the school board from 2006-2018, stated she wants to be on the school board “because nothing is more important to me than providing this community’s children with a high-quality education.”
“My own three children received excellent educations at BUSD and I want all the children in this town to have that same opportunity,” Zack stated. “I am a passionate advocate for public education and see it as the bedrock of democracy.”
Current board members are set to interview candidates in public and the candidates’ responses to questions could be reviewed in public.
For more information on candidates go to
The board, according to its agenda, also is scheduled to discuss the formation of one or more public advisory committees.