County School Board candidates offer details on backgrounds, top priorities

By John Crowder

Four candidates are vying for two seats, each of which includes parts of Antioch, on the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) board. Richard Asadoorian, the incumbent serving Area 4, is being challenged by Mike Maxwell. Cynthia Ruehlig, the incumbent serving Area 5, is being challenged by Jeff Belle. Three of the candidates, Asadoorian, Maxwell, and Ruehlig, provided the Herald with answers to questions in which they outlined their backgrounds, experience, positions, and what they consider the most important issues in the current election. Belle, who has been dealing with allegations regarding a criminal past, and recent news articles alleging he falsified his education and medical credentials, did not respond.

Career History

Richard Asadoorian

Richard Asadoorian

Richard Asadoorian was a classroom teacher, counselor, high school principal, director of Summer Youth Employment Training Program, restaurant owner, church youth director, served in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Coast Guard, was a domestic violence counselor for three years, and trained and was a Court Appointed Special Advocate (abused and abandoned children).

Mike Maxwell is currently Vice President of Sales for TaylorMade Water Systems/Waterlogic. He has been working for the firm since 2005. He was also the CEO for San Francisco Giants – Baseball Camps from 1996 to 2004. From 1993 to 2002 he worked for the Mt. Diablo Region YMCA as Membership, Program, and Executive Director(s). From 1984 to 1993 he was Leadership/Student Activities Director, and worked as a coach in football, baseball, golf, tennis and basketball for Monte Vista High School in Danville.

Cynthia Ruehlig is currently a Senior Level Clerk with Contra Costa County, a position she has held for 17 years. Prior to that she worked for the Central Contra Costa County Sanitary District as a Risk Management Technician. She was also a franchise owner of Teves Dry Cleaning and Steam Laundry, and worked as a computer teacher for Global Computers Corporation.

Education History

Mike & Shari Maxwell

Mike & Shari Maxwell

Richard Asadoorian has both a BA and MA from California State University, Fresno.

Mike Maxwell graduated from Monte Vista High School in 1981, and then attended Diablo Valley College and San Francisco State University, where he received a BA in Speech Communications in 1987.

Cynthia Ruehlig holds a BA in English from St. Scholastica’s College, Manila, and attended California State University, East Bay, obtaining a certificate in Nonprofit Management.

Why Running?

Richard Asadoorian said he was running, “to continue my service in the County Office of Education by representing the 220,000 people in Area 4 as well as Contra Costa County as a whole. To complete my election term as a delegate assembly person to the California School Boards Association and the executive committee of the California County Boards of Education. To advocate for the best legislation to serve the 173,000 students and 18 school districts in the county.”

Mike Maxwell said he was running for the following reasons:

  • It’s time we put the needs of the kids first, teachers and staff a close second

  • We need more folks fiscally responsible

  • The families and employees need a voice at the county level

  • Change is good

Cynthia Ruehlig said, “I grew up in the Philippines under Martial Law. The concept of People Power unfolded and became a reality before my eyes. The experience of the People Power revolution made me aware of the importance of the democratic process. It has molded my conviction that if you want something done – do it yourself.” She went on to say, “I believe I have the knowledge, experience, and constitution needed to become a good trustee for the County Board of Education. The CCCBOE, as an appellate body, must, at all times, maintain neutrality and uphold the intent of the law. It must adhere to its complementary role to the Office of the County Superintendent in order to ensure efficient operation of the County Office of Education.

Cynthia Ruehlig

Cynthia Ruehlig

Top Priorities

Richard Asadoorian said his top priorities are “to ensure that the best educational practices are being delivered to our students, to offer full transparency in board dealings, to assist districts in conducting their fiscal duties, and to be visible to my constituents.”

Mike Maxwell said his top priorities are the same as the reasons he is running for office.

Cynthia Ruehlig said her top priorities are to maintain fiscal solvency, promote transparency and accessibility, provide career oriented education and improve academic performance. She also said she wants to maintain neutrality, uphold the California Education Code, and ensure fairness in all adjudicative decisions.

Previous Accomplishments

Richard Asadoorian lists his accomplishments as being a member of the Antioch Economic Commission, and his service on the Board policy committee. Asadoorian sings the National Anthem for many civic and school functions, and is a Neighborhood Watch Captain.

Mike Maxwell listed his previous accomplishments as:

  • Developed Monte Vista High School Leadership into a self-sufficient and fiscally contributing portion of the operation of he school

  • CASC Leadership Program of the Year, MVHS, 1984

  • Brought YMCA programs to 600+ students annually at 8 high schools

  • Past President, Rotary Club of Pleasant Hill

Cynthia Ruehlig listed her previous accomplishments as:

  • Trustee, Contra Costa County Board of Education

  • Cofounder and Nonprofit Administrator – Antioch Music Foundation

  • Advisory Board Member – Fil-Am Society of St. Ignatius

  • Past Member – Contra Costa County Equal Employment Opportunity Advisory Council

  • Past Chief Shop Steward – AFSCME Local 2700

  • Past Member – Conciliation Forums of Oakland

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

the attachments to this post:


Cynthia Ruehlig


Mike Maxwell


Richard Asadoorian


No Comments so far.

Leave a Reply

dissident-bangalay