Brad Coscarelli drops out of race for Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools

Coscarelli, 52, announced his decision Monday and shared that he suffered a heart attack in May.|

Brad Coscarelli, a Santa Rosa elementary school principal, has dropped out of the race for Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools, citing health concerns.

Coscarelli, 52, announced his decision Monday and shared that he suffered a heart attack in May while at school.

His exit leaves Coscarelli’s opponent, Amie Carter, assistant superintendent of education services for the Marin County Office of Education, as the only candidate vying for the elected post in November.

“It was a hard decision in the fact that I was really hoping to be in the race and to win of course,” Coscarelli said. “At the same time it wasn’t a hard decision because a heart attack was definitely a wake up.”

In a letter to his supporters, Coscarelli said he has been attending cardiac therapy three times a week following his heart attack. He also referenced “other health issues” as factors in his decision.

Coscarelli, a father of four, said in an interview Monday that he wants to see his children graduate from high school and college, and hopes to one day become a grandfather.

“At the age of 52, to have a heart attack, it’s a little scary,” Coscarelli said. “I’ve got to do better with my health.”

He said he intends to stay on as principal of Hidden Valley Elementary School. He was previously principal of Santa Rosa High School and a teacher at Herbert Slater Middle School.

California’s county superintendents of schools are responsible for overseeing local school districts’ fiscal stability and services provided by the county office of education, including special education and other academic support.

Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools Steve Steve Herrington, who has been in office since 2011, announced last year he would retire when his third term expires at the end of this year, capping a 51-year in public education.

Though Coscarelli is no longer running, his name will still appear on the ballot in the Nov. 8 election, said Sonoma County Registrar of Voters Deva Proto.

“There is no way for him to formally withdraw,” Proto said, citing the results of the June primary.

The superintendent post was the only contest for local office to remain undecided in the June primary, with no single candidate earning a simple majority.

Carter emerged as the top vote-getter in the June primary, with 43.56%, trailed by Coscarelli, with 35.26%, advancing them to the November runoff. The third-place vote-getter was Ron Calloway, who retired this summer as superintendent of Mark West Union School District.

Coscarelli said he spoke with Carter before announcing his decision.

“I know she’ll do a good job for the county,” he said.

Carter did not respond to requests for comment by late Monday afternoon.

A self-described “crusader,” Carter has focused her platform on issues including diversifying the teacher workforce, expanding Sonoma County’s Portrait of a Graduate program, increasing student engagement and advocating for increased education funding while emphasizing efficient use of limited dollars.

Prior to her current role with the Marin County Office of Education, Carter worked as an assistant superintendent, principal and teacher in Sonoma County.

Key issues on Carter’s radar include diversifying the teacher workforce, expanding Sonoma County’s Portrait of a Graduate program, increasing student engagement and advocating for increased education funding while emphasizing efficient use of limited dollars.

Throughout his campaign, Coscarelli has emphasized the need for relationship building with school leaders and families to increase the chances of success for a greater number of students in Sonoma County.

He said he plans to continue advocating for public education.

“I’m definitely still going to be very vocal when it comes to public education,” Coscarelli said. “Not just in Santa Rosa but throughout the county and state.”

He also thanked his supporters.

“I‘m grateful, really grateful,” Coscarelli said.

You can reach Staff Writer Emma Murphy at 707-521-5228 or emma.murphy@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @MurphReports.

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