A Merced resident all his life, Chris Chavez is starting a new role this week as a member of the Merced County Board of Education.
Chavez, 38, was appointed to the five-member board to represent Area 2. Chavez replaces Mary Ellen Chavez, no relation, as trustee. She resigned from her position in May after serving nine years on the board.
“I want to be able to help our superintendent, Steve Gomes, provide the best education for students in the whole county,” Chavez said. “Through all my success and businesses, I wanted to give something back. Education has always been important to me.”
Gomes said Chavez was the only one who applied for the board vacancy. By law the board needed to name a successor, as the seat couldn’t remain open until November’s election.
“Chris will bring a great perspective to this board,” Gomes said. “He certainly has a different background than other trustees and this gives us diversity on the board.”
Chavez was born and raised in Merced and says some of his top priorities are to see youth flourish in school and find good-paying jobs.
“I want to make sure everyone gets their fair share,” Chavez said. “Our kids are our future. I’ve been blessed and want to do what I can.”
A small-business owner, Chavez co-owns Marie’s Mexican Kitchen in downtown Merced, owns a sporting goods and firearm store called Chavez Firearms 209, and is a local real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Gonella.
Area 2 is in the east side of Merced County and includes Planada and Le Grand. The term ends in November and Chavez said he intends to seek election to the board.