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School Board candidates Q and A:Kim Strelchun and Christian Honl

Incumbent Kim Strelchun and challenger Christian Honl are seeking election to Position 4 of the Hillsboro School Board. The text below is their answers to questions asked by the Hillsboro Tribune.

Kim Strelchun – Position 4 incumbent

Occupation?

Kim StrelchunArts Integration Coach with Young Audiences of Oregon

Briefly, why are you running for school board?

I am running for a second term to continue my service to this community.  I have been an advocate for education and children’s issues for over 15 years and believe my work is not yet done. The Hillsboro School District is gaining momentum, and I will not rest until every student in our district is positioned for success when they graduate.

Given the current budget outlook, what can the school district do to better meet the needs of all students, regardless of economic status, ethnicity, first language, learning differences etc…? 

Over the last couple years, the board has been strategic prioritizing our limited resources on programs we know impact student achievement.  We must also continue providing professional development for our staff to help them best meet the needs of the diverse learners in their classrooms.  We need to maintain programs like the CARE Team that help connect students and families with support services. We have developed partnerships with business, faith and public organizations like Intel, Nike, the City of Hillsboro and the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce.   These relationships will continue to provide not only dollars and resources directly to our classrooms, but volunteers and mentorship to our students.

Of interest:

I love creating fused glass art pieces in my free time.

Christian Honl – Position 4 challenger

Occupation?

Christian HonlEngineering Manager, Intel Corporation

Briefly, why are you running for school board and what would you do differently than the incumbent?

We have a lot of serious problems in the Hillsboro School District. Graduation rates are in the low 80ish percentile, we still have an achievement gap in our minority students, class size is in the high 20s/low 30s, and the state budget did not meet the basic need for sustaining the current level of education provided in the HSD. 

Incremental improvements have been made, but we are not moving fast enough. We need a fresh approach to these challenges. I bring 15 years of leadership experience working in an organization whose charter is to make engineers more efficient. This is done by pulling the right people together and building a collaborative environment to solve difficult problems. I can use these same techniques to bring the business community, parents, teachers, and HSD faculty together and help guide them to find creative ways to solve the problems of the district. 

With my technology expertise I will work with businesses and teachers to look for solutions that can enrich the education experience for our students. I will look for ways where technology can save money in the long run, touch students in new ways, and creatively address class size problems. I bring a combination of leadership and technology skills that will bring people together, and inject new ideas needed to solve the challenging problems of the HSD.

Given the current budget outlook, what can the school district do to better meet the needs of all students, regardless of economic status, ethnicity, first language, learning differences etc…?

The first thing that needs to be done is make sure the board has the right problem statement in front of them. We need to reach out to the community, teachers, and students to clearly understand the challenges of all students. We need to realize that the challenges facing one set of students may be different than those facing another. 

My leadership experiences have taught me that if you don’t have a clearly articulated problem statements you may not solve the right issues. Once we know the right problems to tackle for each student group, it is time to make some hard priority calls to address them given the budget constraints. I do this on a daily basis at work, and will use these skills to help make the hard calls on the board. The key is to have a vision and set of guiding principles to follow, and make sure that the decisions made are in line with them. Dealing with challenging problems, setting clear directions, and making tough calls are all the skills I have honed over my 15 years as a manager.

Of interest:

I play volleyball in the winters and softball in the summers. I love team sports as you get to have fun, get some activity, and interact with a great set of people.

Editor's note: A third candidate, Tim Reeves, did not respond to requests for information.

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