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Election 2013: Wolf seeks re-election to Position 5 on School Board

The Times asked Tigard-Tualatin School Board candidates to complete a survey to help the community to learn more about them and their education perspectives.

The candidates responses have been edited for length and style. We hope this information helps you cast your vote in the May 21 election.

Position 5

Incumbent: Maureen Jefvert Wolf

Age: 49

Wolf
Family: She and her husband Bryan have two children, Emma, a sophomore at Tigard High School, and Jake, an eighth-grader at Fowler Middle School.

Job and education background: She earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from Indiana University and master's in business administration from Purdue University. She also held an Indiana licensure as a certified public accountant. In her professional life she served as a project manager/controller for E3-Employers for Education Excellence, a nonprofit created by the Oregon Business Council, from 1998-2004; a School-to-Work liaison for Portland Public Schools; senior financial analyst for Intel Corporation; a graduate assistant at Purdue; and has experience in public and corporate accounting.

Neighborhood she lives in: Hillshire in Tigard

Length of time living within the school district: 15 years

School involvement and community service experience: In schools her service includes: chair and past vice-chair of the TTSD School Board, past president of The Foundation for Tigard Tualatin Schools Board of Directors, member of the TTSD Budget Committee and Visioning Advisory Committee, Tigard High mentor, co-chair of Fowler Middle School's PSO Fundraising-Box Tops, and past treasurer of Mary Woodward Elementary PSO and past chair of its Site Council. She has also served on the city of Tigard's hiring committee for city manager and the Transportation Advisory Committee.

What skills, knowledge and experiences do you bring to the School Board? Professional skills: financial and analytical expertise; ability to build consensus among those with opposing views. Knowledge: over a decade of volunteer service within our schools and district-wide. Experience: Responsible for TTSD’s $100 million operating budget that retained a reserve throughout the most unstable years of state funding while maintaining school days, music and physical education in the elementary schools and a breadth of elective programs in our secondary schools.

Why are you running? Vibrant public schools are essential for any community. I learned that from my father while he served on the board in my rural Indiana school district. Public school funding and community diversity have changed quite a bit in Oregon. I want to continue being part of the TTSD leadership team that ensures we spend our money effectively and that delivers the best education for our students.

How should the school district prioritize spending? Directing dollars to our classrooms must always be the priority. According to the 2011 Open Books Project, TTSD directs more General Fund dollars toward teachers and students when compared to the state average and is unbeaten by our neighboring districts. We have restructured our bus routes resulting in net savings of $60,000 and over the past four years have reduced our utilities expenditures by over 20 percent or a total savings of almost $500,000. Voter-approved bonds have allowed for capital improvements, new curriculum adoptions and technology purchases outside of our General Fund.

What school issue have you tackled at a school building or district level? Have you worked to resolve or address a concern within the Tigard-Tualatin School District? Our district had been limited in offering specialized programs for our students as well as meeting the needs of our English language learners. Last year we launched the Spanish Dual-Language program at Metzger, and it has been very successful. The program has seen little turnover for the second year enrollment and has families on a waiting list. We will see our second Dual-Language program begin at Bridgeport this fall. Additionally, we opened our online program last spring and now have 150 students enrolled at Tigard Tualatin Online Academy. The students benefit from teachers on site as well as the online instruction.

What’s one issue the School Board tackled that you wish had turned out differently? What went wrong? My first year on the board we implemented the combined CPM/Holt secondary math program. Teachers have been challenged with combining the curriculum and parents frustrated not knowing how math instruction would be taught between the two programs. As we have moved forward with new curriculum adoptions, engaging parents and building consensus with staff and community members have been priorities of the process.

What is an initiative you feel turned out well, and what made it work? Our 2008 Visioning Process identified technology as a future focus for the district. During our Smart Sustainable Schools community process in 2011, we noted that technology was one area that had not moved forward as hoped. We successfully secured our 2011 bond in order to rapidly expand the use of technology within our schools. Now our district leads in classroom innovation by incorporating tablets and laptops in writing, science, math and special education.

The school district faces a number of looming issues. What should it deal with now, and how? Which should be priorities for later? Newly established teacher/administrator evaluations, state mandated proficiency-based grading and our new student information system, Synergy, will be implemented this coming year. Common Core and its related statewide assessments must be implemented in 2014-15. We don’t have the luxury of prioritizing for later. It is critical to have a board that is knowledgeable about these issues so we can hit the ground running next fall.

What should voters know about you? I will always be a positive voice for the children in our community. I am becoming more involved with advocacy work in Salem and believe that being engaged at the state-level is vital for local success.

How do you plan to encourage citizen involvement/engagement within the district? Community involvement has always been highly valued within our district and a priority for me. Our community expects to be involved, and it is a tremendous asset for our students. During my four years on the board, we have engaged our citizens in many initiatives such as: Financial Oversight Committee, District Time Study, Long-range Facilities Planning, Smart Sustainable Schools (S3), Partnership for Academically Successful Students (PASS); Curriculum Adoptions, Five-year Strategic Plan Review, District-wide Site Council Trainings and our Superintendent Search Committee.

Looking ahead, I am optimistic we are at a turning point in school funding. Working in conjunction with our new superintendent, Ernie Brown, we must all come together and set our course for the future. It is essential to meet graduation requirements while delivering rich elective programs for our students.

What distinguishes you from your opponents? I have been actively involved in our schools and district for 11 years and have a broad understanding of their operations. As a board member, I strive to be open-minded and accessible to staff, district families and community members. I care deeply about the success of all our students and work hard to find solutions that help students achieve in academics, athletics, activities and the arts.

What is your leadership style and how will you work with the superintendent, other members of the board and district staff? People describe my leadership style as collaborative and that I led with integrity. I have mentioned before that I seek input from multiple perspectives and am open to hear student, staff or community concerns. I believe that Rob Saxton, Roger Rada and Ernie Brown would say I hold high expectations for our district and am willing to dedicate tremendous energy and hours toward achieving results.

Editor's note: Challenger Michael Bednarek did not return a completed candidate survey. His responses will be added to this story when they are submitted.



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