All four positions for Corbetts school board are contested

All four of the Corbett School District’s school board races are contested in the Tuesday, May 21, special election.

All board positions are four-year terms, through June 30, 2017. Extended biographical information and interview questions with the candidates is available on The Gresham Outlook’s website.

Here is the roundup of Corbett candidates:

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 but is vacating that seat after four years because he wanted the Position 2 race to have more than one candidate.

“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 ONeil

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 list of national schools to watch.

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 the district create a community advisory committee and mission statement.

Position 4

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.

Evans would also like to initiate quarterly or bimonthly community meetings to ensure the community feels heard.

David Gorman

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

“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,” Gorman said.

He sees stable and predictable financing, aging and inadequate facilities and a lack of full community support for the high academic standards and school administration that promotes them as the three biggest issues.

He would like to see an educational counseling program for all students with the goal to prepare them not just for graduation from high school, but graduation from college.

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. 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.”

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 and wants to be a voice for Corbett families.

“I feel I offer a willingness to listen to the people, to really hear and empathize with parents or others whom bring forth concerns,” Lande said. “As a board I feel we need to ensure we are truly listening, in order to make our schools the absolute best experience for every single child in our district...”

Lande believes the board needs transparency and accountability, with the ability for the public to submit concerns and receive responses. She wants to help the community feel included in district decisions through community information.

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