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Barrera selected as president of school district board

The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education on Tuesday night kept its leadership within the ranks of its 3-2 majority by selecting Richard Barrera as president for the coming year and John Lee Evans as vice president.

Barrera and Evans, the two newest members of the board after being elected in 2008, normally join with outgoing President Shelia Jackson in a ruling coalition. Critics believe the three are overly attentive to the wishes of the district’s employee unions.

Barrera spent his first year in office as the vice president.

Evans, who nominated Barrera for the job, said the role is “constraining” and needs someone of a special temperament.

“I think he’s a civil, polite person in his interaction with other board members and district staff,” Evans said. “I think that’s really important in this position.”

The board president presides over meetings and moderates debates among the board members and with the public.

Barrera, who will hold the position until Dec. 14, 2010, said nothing after the vote other than to thank his predecessor for her work.

Barrera and Evans were both supported for office on 4-0 votes. Katherine Nakamura joined the majority, and John De Beck was absent after a surgical procedure.

Barrera will jump immediately into his new role at a special meeting Wednesday at 5 p.m., in which staff will update the board on the district’s financial condition and prospects for the budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year.