School Board Endorsements 2017
After a thorough endorsement process with comprehensive candidate questionnaires and interviews, we have endorsed school board candidates across the state that will stand up for what's best for Oregon students.
We wish we had the capacity to review every school board race, but due to the large number of school board seats and candidates, we are unable to do so. If you do not see your local seat listed below, the omission is simply due to this limited capacity and our desire to review every race thoughtfully.
This year, we prioritized races where one candidate supported M98 in the 2016 elections, as school board members are critical to ensuring Measure 98 is implemented well. We also prioritized races where we work directly with school board.
Our Endorsement Process:
- Candidates are invited to participate in our endorsement process and complete our online questionnaire.
- Based on a candidate’s questionnaire responses and his/her track record (this only applies to incumbents), some candidates may be invited to a phone interview with staff, local chapter leaders, and our Statewide Endorsement Committee.
- Using the candidate endorsement criteria, candidates are evaluated based on their:
- Responses to our questionnaire;
- Record on our key issues (if applicable);
- Interview responses (if applicable); and
- Overall alignment with our priorities.
- After considering all the relevant information, our Statewide Endorsement Committee and our local chapters will work with Stand for Children staff to make an endorsement decision.
- Issue Alignment: Support for Measure 98 and a commitment to improving the district’s high school graduation rate by implementing the measure in the district; a strong focus on raising achievement for all students, especially students of color and low-income families; increasing family and community involvement; improving school funding; and ensuring our schools have effective principals and teachers. If they are an incumbent, they have a strong track record on behalf of our issues.
- Strong Personal Character: They're bold on reform, have a vision and make clear commitments. Candidates value citizen engagement and welcome meaningful participation by the public in the policy-making process. They can work well with the rest of the school board and strive for consensus but also can show leadership and support potentially unpopular policy changes if necessary to get results for children.
- Viability: They have a clear and viable strategy for winning their race.
To view our endorsements for your district and read their statements or biographies, click on the link below.
Portland Public Schools
Jamila Singleton Munson: I am running for the Portland Public School Board because I believe education is a pathway to expanding opportunities that put children on the path to achieving their dreams. As a graduate of Grant High School, an educational community that transformed my life, I feel compelled to bring my leadership to PPS to ensure every student is guaranteed an excellent education and a supportive community.
Growing up, my mother was a single parent of three who worked multiple jobs to provide for our family. In spite of any hardships we might have had at home, I could always count on the support of amazing teachers and advocates like David Lickey, Charles Hunter, Anthony DeLoney, Raina Beavers, Barbara Knox. Grant High School provided an educational environment that engaged my interests, fostered my aspirations, and challenged me to see beyond any limitations. It was this pivotal experience that inspired me to be a leader for educational equity, instilled a commitment to educational excellence, and motivated me to be an educator and an advocate for all students.
I understand the challenges our children, parents, and teachers face. As a former student of PPS, a former teacher, a former principal, and current leader of a teacher preparation institute, I know the critical importance of lived experience, leadership, integrity, outcomes, and vision. I have worked tirelessly to provide a transformative education for children in communities across the country and will bring that same commitment and dedication to this vital leadership role at PPS.
I believe in a strong PPS, and I have decided to stand up and take action to improve our school system here in Portland. I am running because I know that as an educational leader, I am personally invested in ensuring change and progress for our students, our schools, our community. I am running because I am willing to build bridges and collaborate with our school board members to achieve results and stand up for equity. And I am asking for your support to stand with me as I stand for our children’s future. Together, with courage and collaboration, we can build an education system for the future. Let’s stand together and use our voting power to create a board that will build a strong PPS!
Julia Brim-Edwards: Julia is a parent leader and volunteer for public schools, a former chair/member of the Portland Public Schools Board of Education, a PPS alum (Glencoe K-8, Washington-Monroe High School), and a parent of three children in PPS from 1998-2016, and a classroom volunteer.
She has a 12-year tenure at NIKE (Sr. Director, Global Operations, World HQ, Public Engagement; Government & Public Affairs) and a professional career that spans the worlds of business, education, and sports. Her volunteer service has been primarily focused on her passion for and work on behalf of public schools and students.
During her time on the Portland Public School Board, Julia helped:
- Stabilize district funding following the devastating effects of the recession in the early 2000s
- Establish the financial reserve policy, which built the district’s reserves and bolstered PPS’s ability to successfully manage through unstable economic periods
- Focus the district’s limited resources on the classroom by prioritizing classroom expenditures during the budget process and establishing the district’s internal performance audit function
- Set higher accountability standards by eliminating “golden parachutes” for senior central office administrators by creating a standard contracts policy for senior administrators that limited excessive payouts when senior administrators left PPS
- Rebuild community support for PPS
- Co-design and build an effective board governance system to accomplish the above, which resulted in a united and cohesive board
- Most significantly, join with teachers and other parents to lead in the successful community effort in the early 2000s to restore five weeks of school in danger of being lost due to state budget cuts. Portland would have had the shortest school year in the nation; Garry Trudeau’s “Doonesbury” cartoon devoted a week to highlighting PPS’s shortened school year.
Gresham-Barlow School District
Blake Peterson: Blake was born in the Rockwood neighborhood and grew up in Gresham, spent 11 years in Gresham-Barlow SD schools as a student, and graduated from Barlow High School.
Blake subsequently accepted an appointment to West Point, studying both at the Military Academy and at the prestigious École Polytechnique in Palaiseau, France. After graduation, Blake received a commission as an intelligence officer in the US Army.
After uniformed service—in which Blake held a variety of leadership appointments and included combat operations—he left active duty to become the first Executive Director at the Good News Community Health Center. There, Blake works with volunteer medical professionals to bring hope and healing to Gresham and East Multnomah County’s most vulnerable neighbors by providing administrative oversight, budgeting and forecasting, development, and strategic planning for its Rockwood-based clinic and associated outreach programs.
Blake lives with his wife, Stephanie, in Gresham, along with their four young children. They are active community volunteers, having coached and volunteered in youth sports, served as refugee resettlement assisters, tutors, and in church children’s ministry.
Carla Piluso: An incumbent on the Gresham-Barlow School Board, Carla is also a Democratic member of the Oregon House of Representatives, representing District 50.
Carla worked for the Gresham Police Department for 30 years, during which she became the city's first female police chief. She earned her B.S. from Willamette University and graduated from the Oregon Police Academy. She has lived in Gresham for many years and raised her daughter in the community.
Carla is a strong advocate for safe and well-funded schools. She believes in prioritizing education funding, knowing that hiring teachers and reducing class sizes is the key to ensuring that all of our students can compete in the global economy, as well as supporting high-needs students, English Language Learners, and students from low-income families.
David Douglas School District
Ana del Rocio: Ana is a mother of two, a former teacher, and current policy director for Multnomah County. The daughter of working-class immigrants, she attended the University of Southern California on a full academic scholarship at the age of sixteen. Upon graduation, she became the first person in her family to earn a college degree.
Ana is a strong advocate for the well-being of children and families, especially those from marginalized communities. Ana's passion for education has led her to diverse communities across the country, with roles ranging from bilingual special educator, community organizer, youth advocate, and co-founder of the award-winning Caracol Interpreters Cooperative. Over the past decade, Ana has been a voice for educational justice. She states, "I'm running for school board to fight so that every child, from every household in our community, will have a fair shot at receiving the great education they deserve."
As a mother, schoolteacher, community organizer, and public policy professional, Ana demonstrates the type of leadership that David Douglas needs now more than ever.
Multnomah Educational Service District
Jessica Arzate: Jessica Arzate is the Early Learning Manager for Multnomah County. She recognizes that at some point in a child’s life, their circumstances affect their opportunities to succeed. Jessica's proud to fight to help alleviate these conditions for children and their families in East Multnomah County. Jessica is a believer in quality public education and is devoted to serving East Multnomah County. This belief drives her work, as poverty continues to influence educational outcomes, and the disparities disproportionately affect children of color.
She believes that children in Oregon have all the potential in the world to succeed. She’s also driven to be part of the system that continues to fill in gaps of services for students who have struggled or otherwise would not have had access to the quality education they deserve.
Beaverton School District
Donna Tyner: I am running for re-election to continue to fight for quality education. I have been serving on the school board for the past 4 years. I want to keep the momentum of restoring what was cut during the last economic down turn. It’s a shame that at this time of economic growth, we are faced with the potential of deep cuts once again to our budget. The 83% graduation rate we achieved in 2016 (the highest in 12 years) is at risk. I want to protect music, career and technology programs.
I have the right experience. My sons both attended Beaverton Schools from kindergarten through high school and went on to college. I was an active parent who volunteered in the classroom and on field trips. I was the team mom for countless sports and organized classroom activities. I served on the District’s Parent-Student handbook committee during the 2009 -2010 school year until my election to the school board in 2013.
Hillsboro School District
Erika Lopez: Those of you who know me personally know I love living and working in Hillsboro. As a child, I attended local Hillsboro public schools, and now delightfully watch my children thrive as proud bilingual HSD students. Now as an adult, I continue to seek opportunities to serve our community– whether it be in my work in finance with the City of Hillsboro, volunteering with local organizations, serving on HSD budget committee or dedicating time to empower community members to reach their potential. Given all the issues that affect our country, state and city, I feel now is the time to take that passion and commitment and run for elected office. I humbly share with you that I am running for Position 1 of the Hillsboro School Board. I hope that I can count on your support. It would be an honor to serve you and our great community.
Los que me conocen bien, saben que me encanta vivir y trabajar en la ciudad de Hillsboro. Recibí mi educación académica en las escuelas públicas de Hillsboro, y ahora orgullosamente veo a mis niños crecer y ser educados en el sistema bilingüe del distrito escolar de Hillsboro. Como adulto, una de mis pasiones es servir a la comunidad; ya sea por medio de mi profesión en el Departamento de Finanzas de la ciudad de Hillsboro; siendo voluntaria en diferentes agencias locales, formando parte del comité presupuestario del distrito escolar ó dedicando mi tiempo ayudando a miembros de la comunidad a alcanzar su potencial. Debido a los problemas que actualmente afectan a nuestro país, estado, y ciudad; siento que es el momento ideal para comprometerme con la comunidad y postularme como candidata para la Posición 1 como miembro de la Mesa Directiva de las escuelas de Hillsboro. Espero contar con su apoyo, será un gran honor servirle a usted y nuestra gran comunidad.
Jaci Spross: Jaci Spross is the proud mother of two Hillsboro School District students: her daughter graduated last year and her son will graduate in 2019. Jaci has spent the last 13+ years volunteering in our schools. In her tenure as Elementary PTA President/Treasurer, Middle School Booster President, High School Marching Band Booster President and Oregon PTA Region 1 Director, Jaci has learned the importance of taking time to listen, gather the facts, reflect and make the best decision possible for the kids.
Jaci believes every child should have access to an above-average education and that every student in the Hillsboro School District deserves an equitable chance to be successful in life. While the Hillsboro School District graduation rates have improved over the last few years, there is still a gap. Almost 20% of our students do not graduate on time and this needs to change - quickly.
Jaci supports measures the district has already implemented; funding for graduation coaches; and adopting a model where every student is known by at least one adult by name, strength, and need. These programs can be expanded as well to increase our outcomes. Jaci also understands the importance of extracurricular activities and their ability to engage and retain students. Integrity, compassion, and respect are the qualities Jaci brings to any position she holds.
Tigard-Tualatin School District
Maureen Wolf: Public schools are a rich fabric of diverse backgrounds and thought which communities view as an asset. Every child should be equipped with a core knowledge in English, writing, math, and science so he or she has a sense of curiosity to always ask “why?”. Every child should have an opportunity to pursue a passion or skill in the arts or career technical fields so he or she can graduate confident and prepared for the future.
My vision for public education is a call to action for all who believe deeply in public education. Serving as a board member affords me the opportunity to make the vision a reality. I am active in my community and at the state level advocating on behalf of Tigard-Tualatin children as well as students across Oregon. I have a strong background in finance and accounting and care deeply about fiscal management and adequate state funding.
Lake Oswego School District
Liz Hartman: Public education should address the needs of all students, and each student should have the opportunity to learn, collaborate, graduate and become a contributing member of the public that gave the student these educational opportunities.
I am running for a second term to complete the work of passing a district facilities bond, oversee that the bond goes forward as planned when it passes, and continue planning for the future needs of the Lake Oswego School District. I bring four years of research and board experience, more than 13 years of school district volunteer work, years of community volunteerism, and a lifelong commitment to learning and education. I have completed all levels of Oregon School Board Association leadership training to continue productive board working relationships.
The Lake Oswego School District continues to improve response to intervention procedures and put in place interventions for students at every level and class need. I want to see the commitment to individual student growth continues with resources in place for the teaching profession.
Bend-La Pine School District
Cheri Helt: Cheri Helt has served on the Board of Directors for Bend-La Pine Schools since 2010. Helt’s government level work in support of education is extensive. She was elected in January 2011 to be a part of the Oregon School Boards Association Legislative Policy Committee, currently serves on the PERS Legislative Advisory Committee and is an OSBA Legal Assistance Trust Board Member. Helt has advocated on a state level to make education Oregon’s number one funding priority.
Cheri is married and a mother of three children, all of whom attend school within the district. She has been a classroom volunteer for many years and has served as a board member for the Bend-La Pine Schools Education Foundation since 2008.
As a board member, she aims to make sure the board is doing everything they can to ensure all students receive a world class education, which includes skills in communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.
Eugene 4J School District
Anne Marie Levis: Anne Marie Levis is a two-term school board member in the Eugene School district who is running for a third term. She is passionate about public education and what it means to our democracy. She is the proud parent of two students, she is a small business owner, and she is described as an incorrigible community volunteer.
She has an MBA from the University of Oregon and uses her expertise to understanding funding models to work towards a sustainable budget for the district. She is most proud of the work to pass a $170M bond to build four new schools; the two-time renewal of the local option levy; and her work on behalf of equity for the children in the district. She is currently on the Audit and Finance and Budget committees. She was on the Equity Committee, the Eugene Education Foundation, the Vision 2020 Strategic Planning committee and several ad-hoc groups to work on behalf of the district’s students.
Evangelina Sundgrenz: I am running because these challenging times require a board member with experience, budgetary knowledge, and leadership skills. I believe in public service and my experience, dedication, and qualifications will help 4J navigate the revenue crisis we are facing. I have served in Eugene School District leadership committees for the past five years, and I currently chair the Budget committee.
I’m the proud parent of a preschooler. I believe that public education is the great equalizer, and that depends on educational equity. Too often members of diverse communities do not have equitable access to be a part of the public decision-making process. I seek to be a voice at the table for those parents and individuals who want and need to share their life experiences as a part of the public process.
I’m running because we can never take public education for granted. It is the hallmark of democracy and the future.
Judy Newman: Judy Newman was the clear choice of Stand leaders for the Eugene 4J School Board, position 3. A highly respected community leader, Judy has the background and incredible skills to help our students succeed. Judy is best known for bringing people together and achieving real solutions; leading education support at the United Way of Lane County for 10 years; and leading advocacy in Salem to support children, among other work.
Judy offers decades of education experience right here in Lane County: she directs Early Childhood Cares, a large public education organization, successfully, even when budgets are tight. She has taught at the University of Oregon College of Education for 30 years, with great expertise in Special Education - a perspective our School Board needs.
Judy is a recognized and effective voice in Salem for school funding and progressive policies. Judy is not just talk, but real deeds.
“I’ve known Judy for 20 years. She has worked tirelessly for social justice: she walks the talk. I wholeheartedly endorse Judy Newman for the 4J School Board.” – Nancy Golden, former Chief Education Officer of Oregon
Springfield School District #19
Emilio Hernandez: Emilio Hernandez is a proven champion for all children and brings a thoughtful and much-needed perspective to the Springfield School Board. He has served on the board since September. He has lived in Springfield for more than 45 years and is committed to helping all children gain a meaningful education and experience in our schools.
Emilio has served on the district's Budget Committee and the Bond Oversight Committee and also served nine years on the state Board of Education. A former migrant worker, he has been actively involved in both area and national Latino organizations and is passionate about issues affecting families in poverty. With a PhD in higher education, he currently works directly with at-risk youth through Direction Services.
Erik Bishoff is a leader in the Springfield community and in Stand for Children. Springfield parents and teachers are excited to endorse Erik for school board because of his years of commitment to our public schools.
He has been a School Board member since 2015, an active volunteer in his childrenʼs schools, a leader in the successful 2014 Bond Measure campaign, and a Bond Oversight Committee member keeping our dollars well-spent.
Erik is also a Hamlin School Design Committee member and a founding member of Stand for Children in Springfield. He's committed to fight for fully funding public schools.
Salem-Keizer School District
Kathleen Harder: As a young girl, I was an only child of a single mom who fled an abusive relationship. We had no resources, and my mom worked long hours to try to provide for us. If it were not for the dedicated public school teachers who recognized potential in me, I am convinced I would never have had the confidence or ability to succeed. Thanks to them, I have had the privilege of being a physician for the past 25 years.
We face tremendous challenges in our school district: a persistent achievement gap, crowded and inequitable facilities, and a teaching staff that is tasked with doing so much more than teach. I am convinced that through strong leadership, innovation, and collaboration, we can work together as a community to address these issues and be sure that all students have the chance to achieve their potential. I believe passionately in the promise of a quality public education. Our students and community deserve nothing less.
Levi Hererra-Lopez: I'm running for School Board because I want to ensure that every child in our district has a chance to succeed. As a member of the School Board, I want to increase community engagement with the Board, support a high quality education for our children, and ensure our schools are safe and welcoming to all.
Sheronne Blasi: Salem-Keizer schools need leadership with experience, a heart for service, and proven commitment to our community, and I believe we can break the cycle of poverty through quality education – because I have lived it. My priorities are simple: give voice to children and their families, fight for equal opportunity, and facilitate greater focus upon graduation and workforce preparation. I am committed to ensuring ALL students get the tools necessary for lifelong success.
Sherwood School District
Michael Hiland: I have four kids that have grown up through the Sherwood schools. My wife and I have spent many hours volunteering in the schools over the years. I worked on the last two bond campaigns, but passing a bond is only the beginning of the work. Working on this latest bond made me want to finish the work and successfully build a new high school for Sherwood and transition the lower grades over to their new spaces. This is the long term fix we need for our overcrowding schools. The bond will also allow us to do deferred maintenance, important security upgrades, and upgrade our curriculum and technology so that our children are prepared for the opportunities that lie ahead. I want to honor the faith that the voters have put in our schools, serving on the board will give me the best opportunity to do that.
I serve on the Sherwood School Budget Committee. I have seen how difficult it has been to expand our programs, the constraints that the schools operate under, and the hard work and dedication that our teachers and staff bring to the classroom. As a community we need to strengthen our advocacy for adequate and stable funding to provide the investment in our future that our children deserve.
I also serve as president of the Sherwood Education Foundation. Community support from groups like SEF, give our schools the extra support they need to innovate and create an environment of educational excellence.
Schools are the largest single local investment that a community makes. They define a community and make it a place where people want to live. I hope to serve on the board to help keep that investment strong in Sherwood.