Meet the Candidates Running for BOUSD Board of Education, Trustee Area 1


Frankie Whitney

The two candidates running to represent BOUSD’s Trustee Area 1, which includes Brea Olinda High School and Brea Canyon High School, are Nicole Colon and Carrie Flanders. After several months of campaigning for the two current board members, elections end tomorrow.

Elections for the 2022 BOUSD Board of Education Trustee Area 1 position end tomorrow. Both incumbents, Nicole Colon and Carrie Flanders, current Board of Education members, are on the ballot. 

Carrie Flanders (left) and Nicole Colon (right) (Courtesy of Carrie Flanders and Nicole Colon)

The BOUSD Board of Education consists of five members as the district’s governing body who are elected by trustee area. Brea Olinda High School and Brea Canyon High School are within the borders of Trustee Area 1. 

The Wildcat interviewed the Board of Education candidates to survey their past experiences and goals for BOUSD. Some responses have been edited for conciseness and formatting, and the responses are presented in alphabetical order by last name.


Trustee Area 1

1. How many years have you served as a BOUSD Board of Education member?

Colon: 9 years (two terms as Board President)

Flanders: 8 years (two terms as Board President)


2. How do you hope to see more program growth within BOUSD?

Colon: I would like to see all of our elementary schools have a focus: GATE, the arts, or perhaps another dual immersion program. Before making these decisions, I would like to see a dialogue with parents, business leaders, and teachers to get input about what they think would be best for our students. I would also like to see more foreign language opportunities at the secondary level because it provides students the opportunity to be multilingual and/or opens up their schedule in high school to expand their opportunities. In high school, I would like students to be able to have a wider choice of electives, as well as CTE opportunities, and internships. I want to continue to offer students a chance to take college courses while still in high school because it can satisfy GE requirements for no cost and give high school students an idea of what the rigor of college level courses will be. 

Flanders: I have lots on my wishlist for program offerings in our district. For secondary schools, I hope to see the new A-G mechanical engineering class grow into a pathway, beginning at Brea Junior High and continuing into all four years at BOHS. I am excited about all the teachers who are GATE certified throughout the district. I would also like to see aerospace added because I think there are many opportunities in this field and know several Brea Olinda alumni, even my own kids, who have chosen this career and would have benefited from having this opportunity early on. I want to see more AP classes and growing opportunities for earning college credit through dual enrollment.


3. During your years of experience serving the community, what about BOUSD makes you want to serve on the school board? 

Colon: I have always said as long as we are moving the District forward, I will continue to serve. I am proud of the programs we have successfully implemented and the partnerships we have developed in our community. During the pandemic, I got a job working in a neighboring District because I am not able to work in Brea since I’m on the board. This experience gave me a look into what employees endured during this time and has made me a well-rounded board member. I now have the business experience from working in the mutual fund industry, experience as a full-time board member who has been visible on campuses and partnered with families for the past nine years and now on-site experience during one of the most stressful times to work in education. 

Flanders: I have served the community in so many different ways: PTO/PTSA, Brea Rotary Club, subbing in our schools, Brea Planning Commission, and more and each experience has taught me something different, but has also prepared me for this leadership role as a School Board Member. The responsibility of being on the School Board has been the most challenging and rewarding all at once. What makes me want to serve on the school board is my passion for education! I love learning and being on the board keeps me constantly learning. As a former teacher, I love being a part of the direction our district takes educating kids. I love our city, our small-town feeling here in Brea and watching kids grow and achieve their goals.


4. What are some of the most important things you have learned while serving on the board and campaigning for election?

Colon: During this election season, I’ve learned that I am not a politician. I’m not someone who is interested in this job as a stepping stone to other elected positions. I do this job for one reason: I believe our kids deserve the best schools, the best teachers and the best equipment.  I’ve learned that to get these things, you have to be fiscally responsible and ensure money gets spent in ways that will directly impact those areas. I’ve learned that it’s important to read through agendas and budget reports to make sure that we’re doing things the right way. I have also learned that my experiences as a resident and parent aren’t the same as others. I have learned about the struggles other families have with bullying, learning struggles, and special needs. Perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned that the only way I can do this job well is to connect with the community, to listen when parents call, and to show up for this job regardless of if it’s an election year or not. 

Flanders: I’ve learned that good governance training is essential to being an effective board member. You have to learn how to disagree, but still respect the other board members’ opinions. I learned that I can’t make everyone happy all the time. Most importantly, I learned that my job is to follow the values of the community and goals our district and board has adopted when making every decision. This means to always make decisions in the very best interest of students. That guides me. This journey to re-election is a whole different learning experience. I like the job, not the political road to get the job. I have learned that staying true and honest to myself and not worrying about my opponent is the only way to get through this with integrity and sanity. I have to show the community what experience and positive traits I bring to the board and hope it aligns with their values. I don’t believe in negative campaigning and at the end of this journey I want to be able to look in the mirror and know that I worked hard and can be proud of myself no matter the outcome. The most positive part of this election is the opportunity to meet new people when I knock on their doors and finding out what they want out for their kids in BOUSD inspires me.


5. What are your main goals for the BOUSD school board, and how do you plan on implementing them? 

Colon: Fiscal responsibility and safety are of the utmost importance to me. We have many facility needs and many dreams and aspirations for our students. We have to be fiscally responsible. My goal is to continue building relationships within the community to partner and provide opportunities for students. We also need to be strategic and prioritize how we implement programs and facility improvements.  Planning and prioritizing is critical. The first thing I would do is ask for a study session to begin that process.

Flanders: Board members set goals with the district and are responsible for supporting them, making sure they have what they need to achieve them. Being on a board is a team sport. My goals are “our” goals. My top priorities are 1. Student Safety and Mental Health: If a student feels safe and secure and is socially and emotionally healthy, they are set up to succeed in school. 2. Student Achievement: equitable, competitive program offerings, enriching pathways, college-level classes and opportunities increase student achievement. And 3. Fiscal Solvency: It’s important to approve an annual budget that aligns with the community’s values, supports our bargaining unions and is sustainable in the long run to have a fiscally healthy district. How do we Implement these goals? Starting with funding, we do our homework, vote for and support programs mentioned above that support the students well-being and achievement.


6. What kind of impact do you hope to leave on the Brea community?

Colon: I want to leave us better than when we started and do it with integrity. I think I have managed that so far and hope the community will honor me with another 4 years. I am invested in our school’s success.

Flanders: I hope that I can give back to Brea for all it has given me. I grew up here and have lived 39 of my years so far in Brea. I attended and graduated from BOUSD and am grateful for having been raised in this community. That’s why I chose to raise my own kids here, and it’s become more about what I owe this community.