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Drinkwine, McCarty running for Zone 3

Drinkwine hopes to use his political ties / McCarty encourages community involvement


City Councilor Sean Drinkwine and Drug-Free Estacada Families and Youth Project Coordinator Sonja McCarty are running for a two-year term as the Zone 3 representative on the Estacada School Board.

Sean Drinkwine

Drinkwine is on his fifth year as a city councilor. His term ends in 2016.

He also is president of Estacada Area Community Events (E.A.C.E.), the parks and recreation liaison and on the board of Estacada Development Association and Main Street Program.

“I’ve been on just about every group,” Drinkwine said.

Sean DrinkwineHe wasn’t kidding. He’s served as the director of Estacada Area Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Design Committee, Estacada Development Association and Tourism Board of Clackamas County. He was also the president of the Cazadero Heights Homeowners Association.

Drinkwine believes his extensive political experience has equipped him with the skills necessary to grapple with steep budget cuts.

“I’d like to see the City Council get more involved with the school district,” he said. “I do think there’s areas where we can help the school district with funding. I want to see that our school district stays strong through these tough economic times.”

He believes it would be in the best interests of all local organizations, government and businesses to partner with the schools to improve the district.

Drinkwine sites the Estacada Development Association and Main Street Program as organizations with a vested interest in improving the school district.

Both organizations strive to attract new business to Estacada. Drinkwine points out that when people are considering moving to a new place they want to know that the police, fire department, and schools are strong. Having a strong school district would attract new business to Estacada.

As a school board member, Drinkwine believes he could use these mutual interests to improve the schools.

“As a community, if we work at these things we can do it,” he said.

Drinkwine is particularly concerned with addressing the district’s budget issues because, “I don’t want to see teachers go bye-bye. That’s my biggest thing. Teachers were really the ones that steered me in the right way when I was young... They went above and beyond to make sure I was OK.”

Drinkwine would look for foresight and vision in a superintendent candidate.

“I’d look for someone really into this area and the needs of this district,” he said.

Drinkwine grew up in a small town in rural Utah. His family didn’t have a lot of money but they “made the best of it.”

Drinkwine’s step-children were educated in the Estacada School District from grade school through high school.

Drinkwine’s nephew is living with him and is a student at Clackamas River Elementary.

Drinkwine owns a sign company.

“I have time to work on these issues,” Drinkwine said citing his flexible hours.

Sonja McCarty

McCarty has held the Zone 3 seat on the Estacada School Board since she was appointed in the summer of 2011.

“The reason I’m on the school board, the reason why I accepted the appointment, is because I want to do what’s best for the kids. My biggest concern is the legacy we’re leaving behind. What will be left for my daughter when she gets to high school?

It’s been one of the toughest jobs I’ve ever had, and one of the most meaningful,” she said.

Sonja McCartyMcCarty referred to her experience so far as a learning experience.

“Looking at what educational model would be best for our students has given me the opportunity to educate myself on new things,” she said.

Two of McCarty’s children graduated from Estacada High School and she has a daughter at Clackamas River Elementary. McCarty herself graduated from Estacada High School.

McCarty mentioned that several current school board members have older children and that having a daughter in elementary school gives her a different perspective.

She is concerned with what will be left for her daughter and other young children in years to come.

McCarty feels that she is clued into the needs of the people she represents as someone who grew up in Estacada and as a parent.

She values talking with the people she represents. She wants to speak not only with parents but also with “people without kids in school who are still having to pay property and income taxes.”

She says that one of the most important duties of a school board member is “making sure people feel like they have a voice.

“Yes, the School Board is elected, but we’re here to represent the people in our zone. I would love to see more people take an active role.”

She feels that community involvement is especially important in the search for a new superintendent.

“I think it would be a great Town Hall or PTA meeting seeing what qualities parents and teachers and citizens want to see in a superintendent,” she said.

Citing that teachers will be the most impacted by the shift in leadership, McCarty explained that she would greatly value their input on the search for a new superintendent.

She said that even if she is not elected, she still plans to participate in the search for candidates.

To navigate the district’s tough economic issues, McCarty stated, “We’re going to need a strong leader.”

“The budget is always a looming issue for Estacada. We’ve always had to deal with a deficit it feels like,” she said.

McCarty was not comfortable discussing cuts Estacada principals had proposed to their buildings at a Budget Committee Workshop earlier this month.

She explained that the board would not know their actual budget for another month.

“It’s all speculation until we see the dollar amounts,” she said.

McCarty noted that with all of negative discussion surrounding the proposed cuts, she wanted to take a moment to value the work teachers and educational assistants have been doing in the face of steep challenges.

“They do an incredible job with our students. I just don’t think they hear that enough,” McCarty said.

“Education has always been a huge part of my life,” she said.

In addition to her other duties as project coordinator of DEFY, McCarty does presentations in health classes about the consequences of alcohol and drug use.

Earlier this year, when DEFY’s youth coordinator went on maternity leave, McCarty stepped into that role as well.

In that capacity, she has mentored the Estacada High School Youth Coalition, Above the Influence.

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