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New board members excited to start school year

Bob Barman and Patty Zebrowski bring business backgrounds to the school board

Two new members will join the Lake Oswego School Board this fall. Bob Barman and Patti Zebrowski officially joined the board July 1, but their real work is just beginning. Luckily, they are both up to the task.

Both Barman and Zebrowski bring business backgrounds to the school board. Barman owns a chain of Chevron and Union 76 stations and Zebrowski had a previous career in high-tech marketing and management.

Both decided to run for the school board as it seemed like the next logical step in their long careers of volunteering at the schools and for the schools.

Barman said education changed his life. Growing up among seven siblings, he came from modest means.

'Nothing was ever given to me,' he said.

He realized education was his ticket to success. 'It was a big motivation,' he said.

Because a good education was so pivotal in his life, Barman wants to make sure every child has a chance to receive proper education.

'I looked in the mirror and said, 'What would have happened if I didn't have a good education?' ' he said. 'Education is the gift that is there forever. Education is the ultimate equalizer. Modest means or not, if you have an education you can paint your own canvas.'

For Zebrowski, she saw the impact Lake Oswego schools had on her three daughters.

'Lake Oswego School District has provided a wonderful education for my children,' she said.

Zebrowski said each of her children are vastly different, yet the district gave each of them a solid education and prepared them for the future.

Though motivated by continuing the district's history of solid education, both board members acknowledge current and upcoming challenges.

Financial shortfalls and the reconfiguration of the junior highs to middle schools are in the forefront of their minds.

'It's the challenge on how to provide outstanding education when resources are limited,' said Zebrowski.

She talked about cutting costs and streamlining systems, both of which she has practice of in her professional experience.

Two issues Barman would like to address while on the board are getting tutoring help available to all students, not just those who can afford it, and installing a healthy lunch program for students.

Despite the challenges ahead, both members remain optimistic about the district and the community.

'We have some of the best teachers in the country,' said Zebrowski. 'My goal is to continue delivering education when the resources that have been there are now gone.'

'What has me motivated is that we have so many opportunities here. We have a strong dedication to education in Lake Oswego,' said Barman.

But before the school year even gets under way, the two new members have been doing a lot of homework. Both members have been meeting with district staff, Superintendent Bill Korach, principals and lots and lots of community members.

'I've been talking with as many people as I can,' said Zebrowski.

Both members say they joined the board for the betterment of children and their education.

'I'm not politically motivated,' said Zebrowski. 'I want the best education for kids in Lake Oswego as possible.'

Barman said of his decision to join the board, 'If you could make a different, why would you not try to make a difference?'

In her spare time, Zebrowski enjoys sports, biking, hiking, walking, reading, cooking and staying active with her family.

Barman works out at the gym six days a week, likes traveling, skiing and spending time with his family and friends.

Barman and Zebrowski will be joined by School Board Chair John Wendland and current board members Teri Oelrich and Linda Brown at the Tuesday, Aug. 23, board meeting. It is at 8 a.m. in the district office.