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Lake Oswego schools have faced multiple challenges in recent years, and district leaders have worked hard to keep our programs stable. Voters this spring will have an opportunity to bring new ideas and a fresh perspective to our school board. Recently, I filed for one of the three open school board seats in our community. I would like to ask for your input, support, and especially for your vote in the May 21 special district election.Sarah Howell

I have great respect and admiration for the current board members, all of whom care deeply for our schools, as do I. But I will offer a distinct perspective: All current board members have children who are either in high school or have graduated out of the school district. My husband, Andrew, and I are parents of three young children, two of whom currently attend Lake Grove Elementary School.

This does not mean I am not aware of the issues facing our district at all levels. I have attended school board meetings for the last five years and have paid close attention to how to keep our schools — all of our schools — as strong as possible. After all, my children will be part of the public schools for the next 15 years. This makes me profoundly aware of the impact that today’s decisions will have on future generations. This school board will hire our next superintendent; that decision will impact the district for years to come.

I know that our schools will have a bright future if we continue to innovate, spend our money wisely and market our district well. I have long been an advocate for programs that will draw new families and students (and therefore new funding) to the school district. Many of you may know me because of my leadership role in introducing a world language program in our local schools. I am very proud to have accepted an Unsung Hero award from the city of Lake Oswego on behalf of this group as it reflects my commitment to programs that strengthen our district and our children’s education.

I am honored to have received endorsements from several current and past Lake Oswego School Board members, including Teri Oelrich, Deb Lopardo, Bill Swindells and Curt Sheinin. Lake Oswego Schools Foundation leaders have endorsed me, including past presidents John Stirek and Mary Solares. In addition, I have received endorsements of more than 200 other community members.

As your school board member, I will work to encourage sensible innovation, fiscal responsibility and continued excellence in our schools. This comes from leveraging the best ideas from other college prep districts and education experts nationwide. Our schools must provide a top-of-the-line education to empower students to enter and succeed in the college or university of their choice. Technology plays a central role in the achievement of these goals. Technological advancements can increase efficiency and offer valuable job skills for students. We should find sensible ways to enhance STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) programs for students at all grade levels.

I welcome your ideas on how we can maintain our record of excellence and offer a world-class education to all students in our community. Visit SarahforLosd.com to learn more. Please mark your ballot for Sarah Howell this May.

Sarah Howell, Lake Oswego, is a candidate for Lake Oswego School Board Position 2.

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