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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
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Desert Sands Unified School DistrictCandidate for Trustee, Trustee Area 3

Photo of Gary Tomak

Gary Tomak

4,505 votes (35.65%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Raising the Academic Bar
  • Closing the Achievement Gap
  • Offering More Educational Choices



Profession:Incumbent; Retired Air Traffic Controller, Pilot, and Flight Instructor
Board of Education Member, Desert Sands Unified School District — Elected position (1999–current)
Air Traffic Controller, Federal Aviation Administration, Los Angeles (1978–2004)


Claremont Graduate University Master of Business Administration, Human Resource Management (1993)
Syracuse University Bachelor of Science, Finance (1983)

Community Activities

Board Member, Friends of the La Quinta Library (1995–current)

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Linda Evans, Mayor, City of La Quinta
  • Gary Rutherford, Superintendent, Desert Sands Unified School District
  • Kenneth Young, Riverside County Superintendent of Schools

Organizations (1)

  • The Desert Sun

Elected Officials (14)

  • Michael Duran, Desert Sands USD Board of Education, President
  • Lupe Ramos Watson, Indio City Council
  • Glenn Miller, Mayor, City of Indio
  • Sabby Jonathan, Palm Desert City Council
  • Van Tanner, Palm Desert City Council
  • Jan Harnik, Mayor Pro-Tem, City of Palm Desert
  • Kristy Franklin, La Quinta City Council
  • Robert Radi, PhD., La Quinta City Council
  • Chad Mayes, California Assemblyman, 42nd Assembly district
  • Jeff Stone, California Senator, 28th Senate District
  • Donald Griffith, Desert Sands USD Board of Education, Vice-President
  • Peter Nelson, Coachella Valley Water District, Board of Directors
  • Aurora Wilson, College of the Desert Trustee
  • Lee Osborne, La Quinta City Council

Individuals (11)

  • Ron Nehring
  • Sherry Benoit
  • Gina Nestande
  • Kathleen Fitzpatrick
  • Cheryl Dahlin
  • Daniel Duardo
  • Brian Harnik
  • Darlene Casella
  • Joy Miedecke
  • Terry Henderson
  • Betty Meyers

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California Education Fund (1)

A recent law made major changes in the way that the state allocates funding to schools.  What will you do to ensure that the public understands your local control formula for school spending and your plan to measure outcomes?
Answer from Gary Tomak:

In the Desert Sands Unified School District, we have taken an active role in engaging the community in developing a Local Control Accountabiltiy Plan (LCAP). Forty-six active members, representing parent advisory committees, students, teachers, principals administrators, and other community members meet regularly to discuss and clarify initiatives such as Full Day Kindergarten, the Integration of Technology in the Classroom, Career Technical Education, Academic Achievement, Early Childhood Educational Programs, and other programs established in the school district. 

We have established an on-line survey for parents and community members to provide input into the LCAP. Initially, we have had six hundred thirty staff members and five hundred twenty one parents and community members respond to this survey.

Additionally, we have established a program, Trustees Reaching Every Community, (T.R.E.C.), in which we provide regularly scheduled tours of schools for community leaders , parents, and staff members to gain feedback on the programs we have initiated in each of our schools.

Political Beliefs

Position Papers

A History of Endorsements and Support


It has been an honor to serve as a member of the Desert Sands Board of Education for seventeen years. It's all about KIDS.

It’s All About KIDS, Keep Improving Desert Sands


    • Raising the Academic Bar
    • Closing the Achievement Gap
    • Offering More Educational Choices

“Tomak has earned the right to serve through his tireless advocacy for curriculum adjustment, class size reduction, and top-to-bottom accountability.”

The Desert Sun - October 29, 1999


“Tomak has undeniably earned the right to serve another term.”

The Desert Sun - October 13, 2004


“Tomak brings plenty of experience to the governing table of the school board.”

The Desert Sun - October 16, 2008


“Tomak is a consensus builder and a devoted fiscal conservative.”

“[Tomak is] an articulate candidate with fresh ideas.”

The Desert Sun - October 17, 2012


“We give thanks for the multitude of school board members who are working for REAL reform on the ground and in their communities. Our thanks go to people like Gary Tomak in California and countless more who as board members recognize their first duty is to the kids.”

The Center for Education Reform

November 2000



The Center for Education Reform(CER) is a national advocacy and research organization based in Washington, D.C. working with the states and communities to provide more choices in education and better schools for all children.

Candidate Contact Info

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