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Soapbox: Matheson understands value of education, influential teachers

David Matheson is running for the Position 3 seat on the Tigard-Tualatin School Board.Based on family and personal experience, I understand the impact of education on individuals, family generations and communities, as well as the challenges and rewards of teaching. This understanding, together with my professional experience and commitment to the Tigard-Tualatin School District, enable me to contribute immediately as an effective and active School Board member.

My full name is David Scott Matheson. David Matheson was my great-grandfather. Scott Matheson was my grandfather. David was born in Scotland. Childhood disease stunted his growth and diminished his hearing and sight. He sang Scottish songs as a child in the pubs to earn money and worked as a school janitor after immigrating to America. He and his wife had 12 children. My grandfather was the 11th child. Scott’s parents intended to send his older brother to college, but the brother declined. Scott ended up as the only family member to continue beyond eighth grade. He obtained an undergraduate and a law degree, taught high school, practiced law and was later appointed as a state U.S. attorney. (Perhaps the greatest benefit of his schooling was meeting my grandmother as co-leads in a school theatrical production.)

Scott Matheson’s example of pursuing education benefited his children and grandchildren. Scott had three sons and one daughter. The three sons all earned graduate degrees and were a lawyer, college professor and a dentist. Scott’s daughter attended college until marrying a decorated World War II pilot and starting a family. Each of Scott’s grandchildren earned an undergraduate degree and many pursued additional studies. The grandchildren include an astrophysicist, a college professor, a federal judge, a helicopter mechanic, lawyers, an emergency room doctor, an environmental advisor to a governor, a high school teacher and varsity basketball coach, a U.S. congressman and an electronics engineer.

It was by chance that my grandfather had the chance to develop his abilities through additional schooling. It was through his direct and indirect example that he influenced future generations.

Students in the Tigard-Tualatin School District include family educational pioneers like my grandfather as well as downstream generations following prior educational examples. What we must keep in mind is the vast potential these students possess. This includes not only potential to benefit the students’ lives while attending school in our district, but also to spark desire for continuing education or vocational development and to open doors to future possibilities for them and future generations.

These sparks often take place in the classroom, as the result of an interested teacher or engaging class subject. The spark also may be provided through band, theater, speech and debate, robotics, sports or another elective or extracurricular activity.

Based on my experience as a son and husband of past elementary school teachers, I understand the day-to-day challenges and stresses facing teachers. I also understand the lasting, incredible impact diligent and caring teachers can have on students. My wife, Lynn, taught third and fourth grades for six years. Lynn taught on a limited budget in a crowded, portable classroom. Her classrooms often included multiple students with severe emotional and learning challenges. Lynn emphasized effort, academics and respect. She started her workdays early and continued grading papers and preparing for the next day long after the final bell rang. I helped grade my share of classwork. Over the years, we occasionally have met former students. Their affection and appreciation for Lynn reflects the impact she had on their lives. This is the same response I have heard from former students of my mother, who taught first and second grades for over 20 years. It is also the way Lynn and I feel about many teachers who have taught and supported our four children across all grade levels in the district.

Perhaps as part of a family tradition started by my grandfather, Scott Matheson, I have been a corporate attorney for over 20 years. I routinely advise boards of directors about their duties and deal with complex business, legal and financial matters. This experience qualifies me for the oversight role of the School Board and to understand the business aspects of running the district. In addition, the listening, analytical, problem-solving and communication skills I have developed will make me an effective board member.

The work of our district in reaching out to students, sparking their interest in education and helping them realize their potential is vital. It starts in the classroom with motivated and dedicated teachers, and requires a team effort from parents, administrators and School Board members. Our combined efforts will benefit current and future generations, as well as our communities.

I ask for your vote as a School Board candidate to help partner with you in this effort.

Get on your soapbox

The Times offers a soapbox to stand on every week in our Opinion section. The soapbox is a guest column written by any reader on any local issue of public interest. They should be no longer than 800 words (about three double-spaced typewritten pages) and should include the signature, address and phone number of the writer. Soapboxes are due Mondays at noon and can be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .



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