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A third contender is vying for Shelia Jackson’s seat on the San Diego Unified school board: Xeng Yang, a computer teacher currently working in the Grossmont Union High School district.

Yang, 49, previously worked in San Diego Unified schools, where he also served as a translator for the Hmong community and was part of an Asian/Pacific Islanders advisory committee and the Student Equity committee (now defunct). He left the school district a year after former Superintendent Alan Bersin took the job.

“I feel that student test scores are very low,” Yang said. “We need better curriculum, and we need technological upgrades in the classroom for our children to learn.”

Contrasting himself to Jackson, who currently represents southeast San Diego on the board, Yang said he would work more closely with teachers, principals and community members to identify problems. If elected, he plans to continue working as a teacher in Grossmont Union schools.

Since leaving the school district, Yang admitted he hasn’t attended many San Diego Unified school board meetings. Nonetheless, he said he’s up-to-date on the issues affecting schools, citing the budget crisis as a top priority.

“I have the leadership and expertise — I’ve been in schools for the past 25, 28 years,” he said.

Yang has already collected more than 200 signatures to put his name on the ballot, he said.

“I’m a little bit exhausted,” he joked.

Like his competitors, Jackson and longtime math teacher Marjorie Thomas, Yang is a Democrat.

EMILY ALPERT

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