Candidate Profile: Mark Olson for Escondido Union School District Board

Written by Riley Gould 

Mark Olson is the Republican Party of San Diego County’s endorsed candidate for Escondido Union School District Area 3. 

As school board elections are around the corner, you want your child’s education to be in the best possible hands. Mark Olson wants to be an advocate for your children—as he has been for many years.

Mark has spent his professional career in public service, specifically offering educational and social opportunities for families. He served as an executive in different city parks and recreations departments, a passion that developed from growing up in North County and loving water sports. While being Oceanside’s Parks and Recreation Division Manager, Olson led a team of 19 full-time and 75 part-time/seasonal staff, providing residents with systematic access to city recreational and educational programs.

Olson wants this school district to succeed, for the children and staff who are a part of his community. Mark is deeply invested in the success of Escondido Union School District, as three of his four children are still enrolled in the district. He has spent time as a coach for Escondido’s youth sports for over 16 years, while also serving as a youth mentor for an assortment of activities like surfing, backpacking, and developing career skills.

His wife, Joanne, works for the American Heart Association, and in their spare time they offer their assistance at their local church. Mark and his community-orientated family wouldn’t describe Escondido as anything else other than their home. This community is a big part of their lives and occupies a large place in their heart, and their hard work shows how much they want this community to succeed and how Olson’s experience can help the Escondido Union School District become better for students, teachers, and parents.

Mark will place students’ success as the focus of all EUSD decisions. He understands how important it is to listen to stakeholders, interact with the community, and to work collaboratively with colleagues. If Olson is the newly elected school board member, he will use the knowledge he has acquired over the years to do what is needed to support the students. 

“Thriving, Not Just Surviving” is a motto Olson often uses to describe the extreme effects that COVID-19 has had on our lives and how it has also played a part in educating students. “Educating the whole child,” as Olson explains, is not only about physical attendance and the grades the child receives in school, but must incorporate social and emotional well-being, physical and mental health, as well as social interaction. Mark also recognizes the importance of financial responsibility, ensuring that taxpayers dollars are being spent efficiently and effectively.

Olson notices the rate of declining enrollment in EUSD schools because of new options for students arising. He explains that the community should be creating new ways of learning, stronger parental engagement, modernized technology in the classroom, and ingenious curriculum models.

Mark has a strong group of supporters endorsing him for the Escondido Union School District Board, including Escondido Union School District President Joan Gardner. “Mark is the exact kind of leader we need to move Escondido schools forward,” Gardner explained.

Olson also has the support of Escondido Union High School District President Dane White, Escondido City Councilman Mike Morasco, and former Escondido Union School District Board Member Zesty Harper.

For more information about Mark Olson’s campaign, visit