Cathy Toste sworn in as HSD trustee

After 24 years working at Hollister School District, she fills the District 3 seat after Stephen Kain’s departure.
Cathy Toste worked for 24 years at Hollister School District before retiring and applying to be a trustee board member. Photo courtesy of Cathy Toste.

Editor’s note: This article was updated to include the names of the two other applicants. 


Retired librarian Cathy Toste was sworn in as the District 3 Hollister School District trustee on July 27, filling Stephen Kain’s position after he announced his resignation on May 25 because he was moving out of town.

Toste, who worked for HSD for 24 years, will serve the remainder of Kain’s term until November 2022. She told BenitoLink she hopes to run for the position. Two other residents, Jilian Wilson and Victor Anyeneh, applied for the position. Anyeneh, however, did not live in the district and the board selected Toste because of her knowledge of the district.

After San Benito County Office of Education Superintendent Krystal Lomanto gave Toste the oath of office, and she joined the other trustees on the dais, trustee Jan Grist quipped, “Chicks rule,” referring to the all-female board, as well as interim superintendent, Erica Sanchez.

Lomanto told Toste and the board, “I want to thank you because being a board member is a difficult job and I don’t think the community always realizes the time and effort you put in as volunteers and caring about our kids. I feel we’re blessed to have people like you step up to the plate and be part of the vision.”

Toste worked 16 years at HSD as a health clerk and audiometrist, a hearing care professional, who went to each school in the district to test students’ hearing. For the remainder of her career, she worked as the library media specialist at Ladd Lane Elementary School.

Toste said after working for the district for so many years, retiring was a difficult decision, but after her husband retired, they wanted to spend more time together. She said her decision to apply for the trustee position was easy because it would allow her to continue being involved with the district.

“I love the incoming administration [Sanchez and Kip Ward, interim assistant superintendent] because they are very transparent and care so much about the district,” she said of her desire to join the board. “I want to keep those students activated, especially with the social and emotional things that are going on with COVID. It hasn’t always been transparent.”

She continued, “I wish we had more YouTube viewers, so I think that something we should work at to get more people involved. With COVID, people have stepped back and I’m not sure we’re going to open up the meetings for the community to come in, but at least we can get people tuned in with YouTube.”

Grist said both candidates who lived in the district were well qualified for the position, but Toste’s 24 years’ experience at HSD gave her the advantage.

“We’re starting a big program, the School-to-Prison Pipeline, so we need people who can get up to speed quickly. Cathy fits the bill and she’ll join a team that’s focused on the students’ growth and well-being.”

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John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a freelance photojournalist with additional experience as a copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter, and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer, having worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John worked as a scriptwriting consultant, and his own script, "God's Club," was produced and released in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime, which are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: [email protected]