Last Thursday, another successful school year ended in Lake Oswego.

Summer has begun. As a community we have so much to be thankful for and be proud of. We graduated more than 500 seniors from Lakeridge and Lake Oswego high schools this month. The accomplishments of these young men and women gives me great hope for our future. Their outstanding scholastic achievements and strong activity profiles compete at a national level and will serve them well as they embark on their next journey.Wendland

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. All of our schools in our district are exceptional and have realized many great achievements both academically and otherwise all while we settled into a different configuration this year at the elementary and junior high schools. By all accounts, the transition was well executed and school communities are thriving with activity and renewed energy. 

It worked in large part because our students work hard and are led by a talented and professional staff. The dedication of our administrators, teachers and support staff, the active and engaged involvement of our parents and the support of our community are what make our schools exceptional. It is not easy and should never be taken for granted. Each day brings opportunities and challenges and this year was no exception.  But with resolute determination, we continue to move forward making improvements and adapting to change, striving to make our schools better each and every year. That is a widely held belief valued and expected by our community.

And just as summer has begun, it will soon be the end of another school board term. As outgoing chair this year, I want to thank two very special people who have served our community in so many wonderful ways. Linda Brown and Teri Oelrich will be retiring from the school board at the end of June.

Linda has served for the past 12 years on the board and has been involved in so many things in Lake Oswego it would take paragraphs to list. But what many people don’t know is that Linda has been selflessly advocating for children in Oregon for years in Salem. Between legislative hearings, OSBA committees, talking to legislators and state officials and lobbying for schools, Linda has tirelessly worked to make a positive difference for kids.

Teri has served the past four years on the board and before that she successfully led our local option renewal during the depths of the recession. She has also been engaged in many charities and organizations, too many to mention. Teri has a special gift advocating for the human spirit with heartfelt purpose.

Linda and Teri’s significant contributions to our district are many and deeply appreciated and they will both be missed. I cannot even begin to express enough gratitude for these two outstanding individuals. 

We live in a very special place called Lake Oswego. One common thread throughout our community is that we value education and we support creating the very best possible conditions for our children to succeed. On behalf of the board, I want to thank the citizens of Lake Oswego, the businesses that donate their time and treasures, the many organizations we partner with and our great city, for helping make our schools outstanding. It does make a difference!

John Wendland, Lake Oswego, is the outgoing chair of the Lake Oswego School Board.

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