Long Beach Unified School board race sees incumbent in lead

In the race for Long Beach Unified School Board District Area 5, longtime incumbent Diana Craighead was leading challenger Melissa Pittscutler with 60% of the vote.

Craighead, who was first appointed in 2012, represents an area including east Long Beach and Lakewood. She has served as school board president three times and previously served as Long Beach PTA Council president.

With just two candidates in the race, it appears at Craighead will likely win, early returns show. Craighead was leading with 65% compared to Pittscutler with 35% of the vote.

Pittscutler worked for California’s Juvenile Justice System for 27 years. Three of her four children were education in Long Beach Unified schools.

Three new candidates are vying in the race for the Area 1 seat, which was vacated by Megan Kerr, who is running for City Council.

Educator Maria Isabel López is leading with 44% of the vote, followed by Nubia Flores, a parent organizer for Long Beach Forward, with 29%, followed by  and business executive Sharifa Batts at 27%.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated Wednesday morning with current vote totals and to reflect that Craighead was appointed in 2012. 


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Kelly Puente is an award-winning general assignment and special projects reporter at the Long Beach Post. She has worked as a journalist in Long Beach since 2006, covering everything from education and crime to courts and breaking news. Kelly previously worked at the Long Beach Press-Telegram and the Orange County Register before joining the Post in 2018. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public policy and administration at Cal State Long Beach. Reach her at [email protected].