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Two vie for open seat on school board

Sue Hekker and John Miller are seeking the seat vacated by Wayne Lowry

The upcoming race for a seat on the Sherwood School Board involves issues related to increased growth, adequate funding and the creation of a business/school mentoring program as two residents vie for a seat in the May 15 election. Sue Hekker and John Miller are seeking a four-year term for the Position 1 slot.

The seat is being vacated by Wayne Lowry who announced earlier this year that he wouldn't seek re-election after spending eight years on the board. Ballots will be mailed out April 27.

Hekker, 39, works as a sales representative for Schering Plough, a pharmaceutical firm that sells cardio-vascular products. Miller, 49, works in insurance and membership sales for AAA of Oregon.

Here's a look at both candidates:

SUE HEKKER

Hekker most recently served as chairwoman for Care for Kids, the group that pushed for the successful November bond measure worth $98 million.

'It was an amazing amount of work so many people put in but I thought I saw the absolute best part of Sherwood,' she said.

Hekker holds bachelors of arts degrees in business and international studies from Linfield College and an MBA from the University of Portland.

She said increased enrollment in the district is a major concern.

'The top issue is growth,' she said. 'I think that's pretty clear.'

Over the years, she has been involved in numerous district activities.

'I've been on the Budget Committee for three years,' said Hekker. 'I was also on the Long Range Facilities Planning Committee.'

The latter committee made recommendations to the board regarding what types of capital construction projects should be considered in the November measure.

Hekker has three children, two who currently attend Sherwood schools.

She has served as chairwoman of three Archer Glen Elementary School auctions (including the current one) and has headed up auctions at both Sherwood Middle School and Middleton Elementary School.

'I like doing the auctions, they're fun,' said Hekker. 'I love doing stuff in the schools, that's my hobby.'

Hekker said another important issue is ensuring that the district gets the best resources with the money it has.

'I see some great opportunities with things that are happening,' she said.

Meanwhile, she said she believes Legislature support for school funding is getting better.

'I think we're heading in the right direction,' she said.

Hekker says she'll be low-key in campaigning and not doing any big-scale undertakings, noting that her big goals at the moment include planning the Archer Glen auction and coaching her daughter's softball team.

JOHN MILLER

Miller is a Milwaukie High School graduate who said he'd like to see the Sherwood School District become the gold standard for other districts to follow.

Miller said his alma mater didn't have an eye on the future, something he wants to make sure doesn't happen in Sherwood.

'I've got my eye on the future,' he said.

What he would like to establish is a business mentoring program where students could shadow business owners and see what they do, something that wouldn't cost the district money.

'I want to be on the school board to reach out to businesses,' said Miller.

Miller is in the process of beginning an on-line silkscreen business and hopes to use some of the talent he's sees at Sherwood High School.

The father of a Sherwood High School sophomore, Miller said he'd like to see his silkscreen artwork created by high school students, where he would pay them for their efforts and they would have something in their portfolios to show potential employers.

Miller said he's interested in making sure schools aren't simply satisfied with maintaining the status quo.

'In 20 years, I want my grandchildren to go to Sherwood Schools and for Sherwood Schools to be the gold standard...' he said.

Miller said his goal is to have students to be in the front line if they decide to go on to college or if they choose the world of work.

Those who don't go on to college need to receive some type of hands-on experience in the career of their choice so they come out with salaries higher than minimum wage, he said.

Miller's past youth connections include serving as an interim youth director at a Milwaukie church. In addition, he has coached football and baseball in Milwaukie and currently officiates at lacrosse and football games.

'So I know a lot of these kids,' he said.

Miller said he plans to launch some door-to-door campaigns and most likely will do some phone calling. He also said he would welcome a town hall related to school issues and if elected would host a one-a-month meeting so that residents could discuss school issues with him.

His blog can be accessed at: http://johnmillerforsherwoodschoolboard.blogspot.com/