Keith Steele re-elected as chairman; Kristen Keswick elected vice chairwoman

The Aug. 19 meeting of the West Linn-Wilsonville School Board began with the swearing in of the board’s two new members, Rob Fernandez and Regan Molatore.

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: KATE HOOTS - Rob Fernandez and Regan Molatore take their seats on the school board.Board Chairman Keith Steele, re-elected in the special election held in May, also took the oath of office.

All three members promised to discharge their responsibilities as school board members “to the best of my ability,” with Steele adding an emphatic “very” as he swore to do his best.

Fernandez, Molatore and Steele took their seats on the board, joining two-year veterans Kristen Keswick and Betty Reynolds, to attend to the next order of business: electing board officers.

Steele easily won re-election as board chairman in an uncontested vote. Both Keswick and Reynolds were nominated for vice chairwoman, but Keswick won the vote.

Assistant Superintendent Kathy Ludwig delivered highlights of some community partnerships the district is developing, including a math studio internship at Inza R. Wood Middle School, developed in conjunction with Lewis & Clark College, and a program that may allow high school students in the district to earn college credit at Oregon Institute of Technology. The OIT partnership may be operational as early as this winter and should be available at minimal cost to the high school students.

Director of Operations Tim Woodley shared an update on the district’s petition to the Metro regional government to bring into the urban growth boundary a parcel of district-owned property, located just outside the Wilsonville city limits and known as the Advance Road property. Bringing the property into the UGB will be the first step in developing the property, where the district plans to one day build both a middle school and a grade school. Metro held a public hearing on the petition on June 27.

Woodley said the hearing officer’s formal report after that hearing recommended approval of the district’s petition. That recommendation was based on the district having presented sufficient evidence of its long-term need to add school facilities to meet growth projections. The next step will be a Metro Council work session Sept. 17, followed by two public hearings, on Oct. 3 and 10. The public will be allowed to comment only at the Oct. 10 hearing.

Next, Reynolds announced her interest in seeking election to the Oregon School Boards Association Board of Directors. Position 8 represents Clackamas County, and the seat is currently held by former Lake Oswego School Board member Linda Brown. Brown did not seek re-election to the school board, and her term with OSBA expires in December. Candidates for the OSBA Board of Directors must be nominated by a member board within the region. The board unanimously voted to nominate Reynolds for the position. An election will be held this fall, and the position has a Jan. 1 effective date.

School board members will attend a board retreat Aug. 28. Their next regular meeting will be Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. in the board room of the school district offices, located at 22210 SW Stafford Road. Members of the public are invited to attend.

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