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East County school board elections ramp up

All four positions for Corbett's school board are contested, with one contested race in each of the other districts


Of the school board races in East Multnomah County, all four of the Corbett School District positions are contested, and one of the positions in the Gresham-Barlow, Centennial and Reynolds school districts are contested.

The special election will be held Tuesday, May 21. All school board positions are four-year terms, through June 30, 2017.

Extended biographical information and interview questions with the candidates will be available on The Gresham Outlook’s website.

Centennial School District

Position 7, at-large

Ernie Butenschoen

A retired middle school teacher from the David Douglas School District, Butenschoen is the incumbent candidate who has lived in the Centennial district for more than 20 years.

“It’s vitally important to prepare our students for the competitive world that they will soon enter,” Butsenschoen wrote in the voters’ pamphlet.

He cited the district’s five-year non-negotiable academic goals enacted in the 2010-11 school year as a priority. Butenschoen has budget and bargaining experience from seven different David Douglas certified contracts, the East County Bargaining Council and the Multnomah Education Service District Budget Committee.

Jeff Nelson

A semi-retired owner of Nelson Wasp Control, Nelson lists in his candidate filing a background in transportation, sales management and logistics consulting.

He lists his government experience as a campaign manager for Multnomah County commissioner and the state Legislature; a board position with the Portland State University branch of OSPIRG; a member of the Gresham Transportation Committee; vice presidency of the Southwest Neighborhood Association; and a member of the Beaumont Grade School Citizen Advisory Committee.

Nelson did not have a submission in the voters’ pamphlet and did not return emailed questions and multiple calls from The Outlook.

Corbett School District

Position 2

Nick Kerslake

A farmer, Kerslake was born and raised in Corbett. He is running because he wants to “help improve the connection between the community and the school district.”

“Offering a historical perspective on Corbett will help our board find respect and value of involving our community before making decisions,” he said.

Kerslake is on the district’s facilities committee and a former member of East Multnomah County Soil and Water Conservation Board.

Kerslake said the budget, communication with the community and facilities are the top issues facing the district. He also wants the district to repurpose and recycle more, and look into partnerships for locally grown or raised meals.

Todd Mickalson

An excavator and operator at Perfect Climate, Mickalson has lived in Corbett all his life. He is a current school board member in Position 4.

“I want to keep asking the tough questions, help manage non-student population numbers and minimize impacts to the community while helping the district achieve its goals,” he said.

Mickalson said options for students and families hinge on finding ways to create stable funding, building safe and adequate facilities, and continuing to create understanding between the board and community.

He would love to build a full sports facility for the district but wants to keep the focus on limited funding in the classroom.

Position 3

Charlie O’Neil

A Corbett resident almost his entire life, O’Neil is a small-business owner, an avid volunteer and a current board member, with 14 years of budget and committee experience.

“I believe that I can offer Corbett schools a lifetime of citizenship and love for this community,” O’Neil said.

During his time on the board, O’Neil has seen great accomplishments, such as national rankings. The middle school is the only Oregon school in history to be on the national schools to watch list.

He sees the three biggest issues facing the district as the Charter School and lease agreements, improving facilities and a possible bond levy, and the continuation and possible expansion of the open enrollment system. He is also interested in the possibility of a STEM school.

Janet Ruddell

A data analyst for the Student Placements, Enrollment and Transfer Center of Portland Public Schools, Ruddell has lived in Corbett for 13 years.

“I believe I have the knowledge, experience, commitment and passion to serve the Corbett School Board as well as the students, staff, administration and community,” Ruddell said.

Ruddell ran for the Corbett School Board two years ago and was appointed by Superintendent Randy Trani to Corbett’s Facility Planning Committee.

She sees school funding and fiscal responsibility, community involvement, and facilities and safety as the top issues facing the district. She wants to see a community advisory committee and mission statement.

Position 4

David Gorman

A senior program manager at AECOM Technology Corp. and Corbett resident of 18 years, Gorman has served on the district’s Old Schools Task Force and budget committee.

“My goal as a school board member is to work with the community to continue to provide the best possible educational opportunities for our students within the constraints of the budget,” Gorman wrote in the voters’ guide.

Carrie Evans

A senior paralegal with Greene & Merkley P.C., Evans, a lifelong Corbett resident, has no prior government experience.

“My education and work experience in the legal field has taught me that it is important to hear and consider all sides before reaching a decision and to not accept the persuasive words of others without going to the governing source to verify the truth,” she said.

Her top issues are funding, facilities and community communications, and she would like to improve community engagement and communications between the district, the board and community with videotaped board meetings.

Position 5

Bob Buttke

Buttke is an incumbent board member and small business owner-general contractor who has lived in Troutdale 20 years.

“I am running to continue the stability of the district that has been attained over the last 12-plus years,” he said.

Buttke sees state funding, district budgets, and facilities upgrades and planning as the top district issues. He would like to expand student opportunities and help develop the district’s facility improvement plan.

Karina Lande

A mom with a background in preschool teaching, Lande has lived in Corbett almost 10 years. She has no prior government experience, but she is passionate about her children’s education.

“I believe Corbett is more than solely its schools,” she said. “Corbett is a way of life, something that is sacred and needs to be recognized and preserved.”

Lande believes the board needs transparency and accountability, with the ability for the public to submit concerns and receive responses.

Gresham-Barlow School District

Position 6, at-large

Dale Clark

An East County resident for more than 25 years and supervisor at PGE, Clark has served on the school board since 2006, as chairman the past two years.

“In my time on the board we have had to deal with numerous budget issues,” Clark said. "I think we have handled those as well as we could, but certainly laying off over 20 percent of your staff and cutting programs leaves an empty feeling.”

Clark said following the motto “Every student prepared for success,” funding and the capital bond on the November ballot are the biggest issues facing the district.

Alan Baird

A Gresham resident of 15 years, Baird is a social studies and language arts teacher at Parkrose High School.

“I can work to heal the rift that has grown between our district administration, our teachers and our parents,” Baird said.

Baird sees the budget shortfall, “stress fractures” from contract disputes and a certified staff strike, and capital improvements through the November bond measure as the top issues facing the district.

He advocates support systems to assist students most at-risk, in poverty, with special needs, out of homelessness or from a tough family life.

Reynolds School District

Position 4

Jake Woolsey

A real estate broker with RE/MAX Equity Group, Woolsey is a 2012 Reynolds High School graduate who has lived in the Fairview-Troutdale area for 13 years.

“I want to breathe new, young, and enthusiastic life into the district by making it a place where people want to be and are proud to call their own,” Woolsey said.

Funding, closing the achievement gap and re-creating a culture of collaboration between the board and staff are his priorities.

Woolsey wants to increase school safety, enhance after-school programs and gain back middle school sports.

Joe Teeny

A Troutdale resident for 12-1/2 years, Teeny is the Internet and fleet sales manager at Alan Webb Nissan. He has served in Position 4 of the district board since 2009.

“I bring the hope and optimism for a better tomorrow and a school district that can and will be the 'move to' district,” Teeny said.

He wants to improve high school graduation rates, improve the achievement gap, complete a stadium project at the high school and pass a bond to improve schools’ safety and technology infrastructure.




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