Citrus Heights Sentinel Logo

Meet the MVHS grad who unseated San Juan’s school board president

Tanya Kravchuk poses for a photo on Dec. 13, 2022, when she was sworn-in as a San Juan Unified School District school board member. // Image courtesy, T. Kravchuk.

By Sara Beth Williams–
Tanya Kravchuk, who graduated from Mesa Verde High School in 2003, was sworn in this month as a new school board member on the San Juan Unified School District Board of Education.

Kravchuk won election for the Area 5 seat, which covers Orangevale and portions of Citrus Heights. Out of three candidates running for the seat, she received the most votes and unseated Michael McKibbin, who was endorsed by the teachers union and had been serving as the school board’s president.

Despite being outspent two-to-one, with just under $15,000 in contributions compared to McKibbin’s $36,000, Kravchuk earned 44% of the vote. McKibbin came in second with 36%, and Jeffrey Perrine trailed at 18%.

In an interview with The Sentinel, Kravchuk, a mother of four with three children enrolled in SJUSD schools, said she is excited about her new opportunity on the board and feels “blessed” to be involved.

“I have always felt this desire and this responsibility to give back,” she said.

Upon being sworn in, Kravchuk said she made a request to the SJUSD board that they revisit and revise the district’s mission statement to encourage and emphasize academic rigor.

“My most important focus is to tackle the learning loss caused by the shutdown,” she said. “I want to focus on academic achievement.”

Born in Ukraine, Kravchuk moved to the U.S. when she was five years old. She grew up in Citrus Heights, attended Sylvan Middle School, graduated from Mesa Verde, and then attended California State University of Sacramento where she received a degree in communications.

Kravchuk recalled growing up as an immigrant and said she often felt like an “outsider” because everyone celebrated different holidays and had different customs at school. Despite growing up as an English-language learner, Kravchuk excelled in elementary school and said her family always had a “high academic bar.”

In a biography, Kravchuk describes herself as a Christian conservative and listed her top three priorities as defending parental rights, ensuring school safety, and “demanding accountability and better management.”

In an article in The Sacramento Observer, Kravchuk expanded on those priorities, listing one of her goals as helping to improve the quality of public education, and specifically, focusing on literacy. She also discussed the importance of creating and fostering a more welcoming environment in classrooms for all students, regardless of their background and differences.

Also on The Sentinel: The inspiring story behind how this San Juan High School alumnus found his career

In a video interview with Del Campo High School’s Koug Media, which was posted on the SJUSD Youtube channel during the election, Kravchuk spoke about the need to continue to improve public education so that students can gain real world experience.

“We are not encouraging our kids to go into trades, and these are things that we need on the daily in our community,” Kravchuk said, adding that her construction company is having difficulty finding qualified electricians and carpenters. She praised Del Campo’s student-oriented media program for providing “real world experience.”

Other newcomers elected to the seven-member SJUSD board this year were former Citrus Heights City Councilmember Steve Miller, representing Area 7, and Ben Avey who now represents Area 6. In Area 3, Zima Creason was re-elected to the board for another four-year term.

The four winners, including Kravchuk, were sworn in during the district’s Dec. 13 board meeting.

The school board for the first time now has seven members. Following a decision last year, the district’s former five-member board increased its ranks and also created distinct trustee areas. Unlike prior years when trustees were elected at-large by voters in the entire district, candidates this year were elected only by voters in the specific area they sought to represent.

Want to share your thoughts on this article? To submit a letter to the editor online, click here.

Like local news? Sign up for The Sentinel’s free email edition and get two emails a week with all local news and no spam, ever. (Click here)