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Corbett school board race

All four positions are contested


The Outlook asked candidates for East County school boards to complete a questionnaire with biographical information and details about their candidacy. These are the responses for Corbett School District candidates:

Director, Position 2

Nick Kerslake vs. Todd Mickalson

Kerslake

Nick Kerslake

Age: 51

Occupation: Farmer

City of residence and years in city: Corbett Oregon. 51 years.

Hobbies/ interests/ community involvement: My hobbies include restoring old tractors and other vehicles with my father and with my son. I love farming and animals. I have been involved in the Corbett 4th of July Fun Festival, Helping Hands at the Corbett Grange, and most recently the Corbett School District Facilities Committee.

To learn more, visit corbettoregon.com.

Questions

Why are you running, and if you are the incumbent, what do you think you have achieved during your time on the school board?

I’m running for the school board because I want to help improve the connection between the community and our school district. Our board must better represent the children and their parents who live in Corbett. When concerns are brought to the board, people should receive a response. That has not been the case for a long time. I hope to help change that.

What do you offer that your opponent(s) doesn’t (don’t)?

I am flexible, able to listen and open to change. I have lived in Corbett my whole life and I love this community and the families that live here. Offering a historical perspective on Corbett will help our board find respect and value of involving our community before making decisions. I have also gained a maturity that will benefit the board, which comes from successfully managing a Century Farm.

What is your political and budget expertise?

I am a current Corbett School District Facilities Committee member and a former member of East Multnomah County Soil and Water Conservation Board. I have budget expertise from running my own business. I have kept my family’s farm successful in a very difficult economy. This has taken a lot of creative problem solving and I plan to bring all these skills and experiences to my position as a new board member.

What are the three biggest issues facing your district and how do you intend to address them?

Budget: Our board must ensure that the District is on a path that is best for all our students and in the manner expected by our community. I will help provide fiduciary oversight in how we budget and spend our money. I will also look for ways to encourage more local partnerships with businesses and community members where appropriate and possible.

Communication: Our school board must recognize the division in our community. This has been created in large part due to the rate we have grown our district’s student population with out of the area enrollment. I will work to help bring our own community and tax payers back into the conversation. I plan to be available to answer any questions and I pledge to find answers and follow up if I don’t know the answer.

Facilities: We need to define what Corbett School District will look like in the future and plan for safe spaces for instruction. I will work to find the common ground between the “big dreams” being discussed in the Facilities Planning Committee now, with the realities of what our taxpayers will support and actually want. As history shows us, if Corbett is not part of the conversation about our schools, a bond will find little support.

Are there any particular initiatives you would like to see the district undertake?

I would like to see the district repurpose and recycle more. We could take our food waste and make it available for local livestock owners instead of throwing it away. We could also look into washable meal trays or biodegradable trays vs. Styrofoam, which are thrown away after each use. Perhaps looking into partnerships for locally grown or raised food for our meal programs, even if only seasonally.

Todd Mickalson

Age: 36

Occupation: Excavator/Operator at Perfect Climate

City of residence and years in city: Corbett, OR, 36 years

Hobbies/ interests/ community involvement: I have served in multiple volunteer capacities, but currently I am a school board member and volunteer coach. I like baseball and football, am a builder of both physical spaces and community relationships.

Link to a website: corbettcommunity.com

Questions

Why are you running, and if you are the incumbent, what do you think you have achieved during your time on the school board?

I have served formally on the board for four years and in that time, I have developed great respect for the commitment of the school's administration, community relations and the effects that budgets can have on one child's education. I want to continue to be a part of the success of the district that I and others on the board have helped bring about. I am excited about what this district is able to offer to both community families and students and hope to continue to be a part of that in such a direct role. Over the last four years, I have worked with a team of diverse people to significantly improve the communications between the district and the community, resulting in better partnerships, helped start a facilities planning process and worked to stabilized funding. 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 it's goals.

What do you offer that your opponent(s) doesn’t (don’t)?

I have demonstrated my commitment to this community and to the school district by volunteering significant time to coaching, the board and other projects. I changed jobs so that I could be closer to Corbett to be more accessible to both my family and the district. I have a good ability to listen well, and speak thoughtfully to the moment and respect those that I engage with no matter how different they may be from me. My experience as dealing with the big issues that the board must address gives me a definite advantage. I am a problem solver and build teams. My work in project management also give me a forward looking perspective –– a should we expect to happen next, type of thinking. My commitment to the students in this district is unquestionable.

What is your political and budget expertise?

Not only have I served on the school board, I have done so during a time of a more difficult fiscal situation and in the midst of difficult community relations. I assisted in creating a plan and a team of people to address the communications issues. Both as a project manager and as a school board member, I have handled large scale budgets and been successful at returning the school district to a place of stable funding without damaging the progress made by the district. Having operated offices and managed budgets that run between 10-15 million, These offices have been profitable, fiscally disciplined and successful.

What are the three biggest issues facing your district and how do you intend to address them?

I don't think it can be said enough that our ability to continue to provide options for community families and our students hinges on continuing to find ways to create stable funding, build safe and adequate facilities and to continue to work with our community and continue to create understanding within the board and outside of it.

Are there any particular initiatives you would like to see the district undertake?

Well, if it were just up to me, building a full sports facility built in the district would be wonderful! However I know our priorities are education and keeping limited funds in our schools while managing to find a way to build facilities that we so desperately need to upgrade. I'd like to see us do something great for all the students with that.

Director, Position 3

Charlie O'Neil vs. Janet M. Ruddell

O'Neil

Charlie O'Neil

Age: 58 years old.

Occupation: Self-employed, small business owner (manufacturer of wood garden markers)

City of residence and years in city: I have lived in Corbett my entire life except for about 3 years [mainly in U.S. Army]

Hobbies/ interests/ community involvement: My main hobby is woodworking and re-modeling. My interests include politics, athletics at all levels, and my community. I have volunteered a great deal in youth sports, high school sports, reading volunteer in grade school, many years on school board and budget comm., various OSAA committees, MESD budget comm., restoration of Springdale School, Jeff Lucas Memorial Stadium, and all the little things that are part of living in a small town.

Why are you running, and if you are the incumbent, what do you think you have achieved during your time on the school board?

In the 14+ years I have been on the board, we have accomplished a great deal.

• Our Middle school is the only Oregon school in history to be on the national schools to watch list.

• We have achieved 100% participation in the SAT exam among our 11th graders.

• # 9 in the nation in the Washington Post rankings which measures the number of AP tests per student.

• # 70 in the U.S. News list which measures math, reading prof., college readiness, and AP participation.

• # 25 in the Newsweek list which measures graduation rate, College part. among graduates, AP tests taken per student, average SAT score, and AP courses per student.

• Newsweek also has us ranked at #14 in the nation for transformative high schools.

What do you offer that your opponent(s) doesn’t (don’t)?

I believe that I can offer Corbett Schools a lifetime of citizenship and love for this community. Generations of my family have attended and are still attending our schools. I have seen the ups and downs and I will do everything I can to keep our schools going up. I also have the time and energy to volunteer, attend every workshop, attend OSBA training and conventions, board meetings, and budget meetings. I am running for the board so I can continue to pursue excellence for our schools.

What is your political and budget expertise?

I believe that in my tenure on the board I have shown a lot of political courage. We have made many changes that were not always popular. In time they have proved to be both effective and well received. I will continue to make decisions based on what will make our students achieve even more, not what is politically easy. I have been involved in Corbett's budget for 14 years now. I am also on the MESD budget committee. I have also run many small businesses successfully.

What are the three biggest issues facing your district and how do you intend to address them?

The 3 biggest issues facing Corbett now are the Charter School and lease agreements, improving our facilities and possible Bond levy, and the continuation and possible expansion of the open enrollment system. I will address these issues the same way I always do. The board will work with the Administrative staff with input from the interested community members to develop a plan that benefits our kids both academically and with regard to safety.

Are there any particular initiatives you would like to see the district undertake?

The initiatives that I am interested right now are the possibility of a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) school, and my interest in looking at our school year calendar. We are now, through our budget process and our schools task force, looking at the possibility of a STEM school. The school calendar issue has been brought up before and is important because of AP testing and also the long summer layoff for elementary kids. This is one of those issues that is not popular right now and would take courage to even discuss it.

Ruddell

Janet Marie Ruddell

Age: 54

Occupation: Data Analyst/Student Placements, Enrollment & Transfer Center, Portland Public Schools

City of residence and years in city: Lived in Corbett for 13 years

Hobbies/ interests/ community involvement: Landscaping, Gardening, Traveling, and Bowling

Volunteer Activities: Facilities Planning Committee, Community Care Day, July 4th Festival, School House Supplies, Chaperone Field trips, and PTO Volunteer

Facebook page: Janet Ruddell for Corbett School Board

Why are you running, and if you are the incumbent, what do you think you have achieved during your time on the school board?

I’ve been employed by the Portland School District for more than 26 years and currently work for the Enrollment and Transfer Center. 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.

What do you offer that your opponent(s) doesn’t (don’t)?

As a data analyst and technical lead for the largest school district in the state, I have developed a wealth of knowledge including, but not limited to, enrollment balancing, intra-district and inter-district transfers and annual lotteries, and open enrollment through House Bill 3681. As part of my job I create and maintain relational databases that track student data, and act as a web master for the Enrollment and Transfer Center.

I believe my experience and knowledge will bring fresh and new ideas that will make our strong schools even stronger.

What is your political and budget expertise?

Ran for the Corbett School Board Director two years ago in 2011.

Appointed by Superintendent Trani to Corbett’s Facility Planning Committee.

Created and balanced budgets for large, private corporation for several years.

What are the three biggest issues facing your district and how do you intend to address them?

School Funding & Fiscal Responsibility – The Corbett School District continues to experience escalating costs and school funding issues. We should work with our representatives in Salem in an effort to increase state school support for our district.

Additionally, I believe our district should apply for grants to supplement our funding vs. increasing our enrollment each and every year.

Community Involvement/Communication – In the midst of these challenging economic times, effective communication and transparency will be key. I’d like to reach out to the community and receive their input before our school board makes major decisions about the future of our district.

Facilities & Safety – Many of our facilities are in need of repair or replacement including our district’s current middle school, gym, and bus barn. As an active member of facilities planning committee, I will continue to work tirelessly to make recommendations to the school board after seeking community input. And I’d like an on-site Safety Resource Officer to make our safe schools even safer.

Are there any particular initiatives you would like to see the district undertake?

Yes! I believe our district should create a community advisory committee and a mission statement. As a school board member, I’d like to hold informational forums every few months to better communicate and gather input from our community. I will advocate for making Advanced Placement (AP) courses optional vs. mandatory, and would like to partner with the Springdale Job Corps to offer vocational education classes to our students.

Director, Position 4

Carrie Evans vs. David Gorman

Carrie Evans

Carrie Evans

Age: 34

Occupation: Paralegal

City of residence and years in city: Corbett, 34 years

Hobbies/ interests/community involvement: Spending time with family and friends and traveling.

Facebook: Carrie Evans for Corbett Schools

Why are you running?

I am running for the Corbett School Board for my children and the children of the Corbett Community. The Corbett Community and the Corbett School District combined have the capacity to create great innovators and leaders. Our district has had high rankings and I will make decisions to ensure we continue to provide high quality education to prepare our children to be leaders of the future. If I am selected by the community for this position, I will be a voice for our community and all of my decisions will be made with the children's best interest in mind.

What do you offer that your opponent doesn't?

I have lived in Corbett my entire life and attended Corbett Schools. My family has had 5 generations attend Corbett Schools. I have a very good understanding of what the Corbett Community is about and the importance of engaging, listening and informing the community as well as the value of community support. 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.

What is your political and budget expertise?

I have no political experience, but working with lawyers has taught me how to prove my points and make sure you have all the facts before making a decision. My time in the legal field has also taught me that laws and rules are developed to protect people just as a board's policies and procedures are developed to protect the children of the school district. My budget expertise comes from my work and life experience. I know the importance of staying on budget and that planning, diversification and prioritizing are key components in balancing and maintaining a budget.

What are the three biggest issues facing your district and how do you intend to address them?

Funding, facilities and community communications are the biggest issues the facing the district. The administration and board have increased student population to deal with the budget shortfall. We need to stop increasing student population from out of the district for it is not the best solution for our children, community and schools. We need: 1) many means to balance the budget; 2) community feedback and support in addressing the facilities; and 3) bimonthly or quarterly meetings to address community concerns, ideas and feedback. I intend to address these issues by actively engaging as much of the community as possible.

Are there any particular initiatives you would like to see the district undertake?

I would like to implement policy and procedures to improve community engagement and communications between the district, the board and the community members. Quarterly or bimonthly community meetings with board members would be one of the suggestions I would make to the board. I would like to have all board meetings videotaped and available to the public for review for those people unable to attend the meetings. I believe a well informed community that feels heard will be a supportive community to our schools.

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David Gorman

Age: 56 Years

Occupation: Professional Civil and Environmental Engineer

City of residence and years in city: Corbett, Oregon,18 years

Community involvement:

• Corbett Children’s Theater volunteer

• Corbett School District Budget Committee

• Corbett Athletic Booster

• Corbett Track volunteer

Hobbies and interests:

• Small scale farming

• Photography

• Hiking, Biking, and Canoeing

To learn more, visit: corbettcommunity.com/.

Questions

Why are you running, and if you are the incumbent, what do you think you have achieved during your time on the school board?

I am running for the Corbett School District Board (CSD) because I firmly believe in the value of a good education for all of our community’s children and the critical role that a strong public educational system plays in assuring equal access to education for all. CSD is providing a great public education to our kids now and I would like to help to keep it that way.

What do you offer that your opponent(s) doesn’t (don’t)?

As a member of the Corbett District School Board, I will be a strong proponent of public education and advocate for the student. I will bring a willingness to listen and constructive ideas to share. I am a creative thinker, proven problem solver, and decision maker. I will work to maintain the current high academic standards of the District, provide for adequate facilities to support academic and athletic programs, and maintain stable public funding for a broad range of educational opportunities.

What is your political and budget expertise?

As a member of the Corbett Old Schools Task Force, I worked to prepare recommendations to the School Board on potential uses for the Springdale School when it was vacated upon completion of the new grade school.

For the past 24 years of my professional career, I have successfully managed the budgets and operations of many small and large businesses.

I am in my second year of serving on the Corbett School District Budget Committee, assisting the Board with budget oversight.

What are the three biggest issues facing your district and how do you intend to address them?

Stable and predictable financing has been one of the biggest issues facing the district for about two decades. I intend to address this issue by maintaining the creative and flexible approach the District has used to achieve its current level of adequate funding.

Aging and inadequate facilities is the second biggest issue facing the District today. I will work with the Board, Facilities Committee, and the community to pass a bond to finance the facilities necessary to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for our students.

The third issue facing the District is a lack of full community support for the high academic standards and the school administration that promotes them. I will support the superintendent, faculty, and staff and work to gain similar support for them from the community.

Are there any particular initiatives you would like to see the district undertake?

I would like to see the District undertake an educational counseling program for all students with the goal to prepare them not just for graduation from high school, but graduation from college. I feel that this would benefit all students by expanding their options beyond high school, even if they do not attend college.

Director, Position 5

Karina Lande vs. Bob Buttke

Lande

Karina Lande

Age: 38

Occupation: Homemaker

City of residence and years in city: 9 & 1/2

Hobbies/ interests/ community involvement: The outdoors, community events, field trip volunteer when no sibling exclusions allow.

Link to a website: facebook.com/KarinaLandeForCorbettSchoolBoard.

Questions

Why are you running, and if you are the incumbent, what do you think you have achieved during your time on the school board?

I am running because I want to be a voice for our children and their families. I want to help insure every single child being served by CSD is getting the absolute best education possible. I hope my greatest achievements as a board member will be to see the rankings in our grade school and middle school reach the same excellence that our high school is so well known for. I also hope to achieve a new standard of community involvement by actively engaging our resident population on a regular basis.

What do you offer that your opponent(s) doesnt (don’t)?

I feel I offer a willingness to listen to the people, to really hear and empathize with parents or others whom bring forth concerns. As a board I feel we need to insure we are truly listening, in order to make our schools the absolute best experience for every single child in our district. I am willing to go the extra mile to bridge the gaps that currently divide our community, in order to insure our kids and schools are fully supported.

What is your political and budget expertise?

I don’t believe in games in politics or otherwise. I don’t believe in sugar

coating the facts. I will tell it like it is, nothing more and nothing less. I

will fully research every issue, and endorse complete board transparency.

I have been successfully budgeting for a family of 5 in tough economical times,I know how to prioritize the necessities from the wants. I am constantly finding creative ways to make things happen financially for my family, this creativity will carry over into my duties as a board member. It's the same concept just a on a larger scale.

What are the three biggest issues facing your district and how do you intend to address them? Are there any particular initiatives you would like to see the district undertake?

If elected my goals and priorities that address many of the concerns facing CSD are as follows:

Checks and balances of financial priorities

Regular reviews and improvements to teaching philosophies

Monthly measured student progress reports

Create an informed and involved community

Insure new safety practices are implemented to protect our children

Keep information publicly available and regularly maintained

Add public Q & A sessions to board meetings

Require mandatory board response to patron concerns

Hold Community Information Nights three times a school year

Buttke

Bob Buttke

Age: 60

Occupation: Small Business Owner, General Contractor – Commercial Project Manager, Consultant

City of residence and years in city: Troutdale address, 20 years.

Hobbies/ interests/ community involvement: Current School Board Vice Chair, Corbett Education Foundation Treasurer, assisted with management and construction of Jeff Lucas Memorial Stadium which hosts home games, Family activities and Home Projects.

Link to a website: corbettcommunity.com

Questions

Why are you running, and if you are the incumbent, what do you think you have achieved during your time on the school board?

I am running to continue the stability of the district that has been attained over the last 12+ years. We have a great administration team and staff and as a board member I want to be able to continue to facilitate the work that they do, and help continue to offer students the best education possible. I believe in the AP available to all philosophy of the district and see it as essential to being able to offer students choices for their future. As a board member, I have successfully partnered with community members, administration and with my fellow board members to take Corbett School District from a once struggling institution to a Nationally ranked school district where kids graduate with opportunities that weren’t available to most when we started this change, and still aren't available to many other kids in other districts.

What do you offer that your opponent(s) doesn’t (don’t)?

My track record of working to improve the district and the lives of students. I have been a problem solver both on the Board and in my business, and will continue to be an asset in working with the other members of the Board, the Community and the School Staff. I am adept at assessing and managing larger scale budgets. I have a good sense of what the numbers mean currently and for the future, good and practiced judgment to determine what actions are needed, project and partnership management in personal as well as school business. I have been team oriented, results driven, creating a smooth working and learning environment for everyone in our district and focused on the larger picture and a tireless advocate for students. I have demonstrated my commitment by volunteering to shape and improve the district in multiple capacities over the years.

What is your political and budget expertise?

I have been involved in both political and budget processes for the last 12 years both as a school board member and as a business owner. I have many good relationships in Corbett and am familiar with Corbett's political environment, why things are as they are or why some perceive something one way and others another. As a board member, I have managed the district, including State budget issues and managed to increase the educational experience for kids, despite budget cuts and helping to address the multiple needs of an advancing school district.

What are the three biggest issues facing your district and how do you intend to address them?

As I'm sure you'll hear from multiple school board members, state funding is the predominate issue. Corbett is no different, the biggest issue continues to be State funding, which of course directly affects the other two largest issues in the district - district budgets and facilities upgrades and planning. These need to be effectively addressed by a team of dedicated people in order to continue to facilitate the good work of the district and continue the ability to be a community gathering place.

Are there any particular initiatives you would like to see the district undertake?

My goals for the next four years are to build on our strengths, help Corbett students continue to be among the most successful in Oregon and help preserve the interests of the community. I'd like to see Corbett continue to be a district that expands opportunities for students, rather than taking them away. Additionally, I'd like to use my professional expertise to continue helping develop the Districts Facility Improvement plan and be a part of moving to the next level of educational experience at Corbett.




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