The first person to officially declare his candidacy in the 2010 Hesperia Unified School District election may well end up as one of its youngest.


Martin Hoover is only 24 years old, but he's been dealing with students and parents for years. Hoover is the president of Hesperia National Little League, worked at Hesperia High School as a campus aide and is now a history teacher at Encore High School.


"If you really want to be in politics, you need to serve a two-year term on a youth sports organization," Hoover said Thursday.


Incumbents Hardy Black, Robert Kirk and Lee Rogers are all up for reelection in November. None has yet declared their candidacy. And Hoover has not yet pulled candidacy papers yet himself, but instead declared his candidacy on a Facebook fan page: Martin Hoover for Hesperia Unified School District Board of Trustees.


The first inkling that he might want to run for office came last year, when the 2003 Hesperia High School graduate was reading the newspaper. Shortly after the HUSD school board had approved pink slip for 181 teachers, they were now discussing changing the name of Hesperia Junior High School to Hesperia Middle School.


"'You just laid off 180 teachers,'" Hoover recalled thinking, "And now, you make a proposal to change the name [of a school] adding that to the agenda ... with no thought to the expense.'"


With the HUSD in the middle of a multi-year financial crisis that will almost certainly mean more layoffs in the coming months and years, Hoover thinks the board needs to refocus its priorities.


"Here we have this big problem [and the board is] going to play political games," he said. "There's no time for that. ... We kind of need to have someone in there who's going to be in the middle and maybe bring in some new thinking."


The 10th grade teacher has no children of his own, but said he still has a stake in the work of the school board.


"I'm a community member and a community leader through the Little League," Hoover said. "Eventually [HUSD students] will be community members. ... I think community members should have just as much of a say" as the other interest groups represented on the board.


In addition to facing the tough choices related to closing the $13 million budget gap facing the HUSD, joining the school board would also mean navigating the often-contentious meetings. Hoover is undeterred, he said.


"I know it's going to be a knock-down, drag-out. ... It's not going to be a stress-free job," he said. "We need someone to say 'hey, we need to get back on track.' And I don't see that right now."


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star