Three school board seats on ballot in May election
In the May 16 election for three open seats on the Sherwood School District Board of Directors, two incumbents are running unopposed while there are two new contenders for the third seat.
Incumbent and board Vice Chair Eric Campbell is running for Position No. 2. Campbell, who works for Mentor Graphics as a member of its consulting staff, has a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the Oregon Institute of Technology.
For Position No. 3, two newcomers are running, including Michael Hiland, who is a software engineer with a bachelor of science degree in engineering from Marquette University and a master's degree in political science from East Tennessee State University.
His prior government experience includes serving on the school district's Budget Committee and Boundary Committee.
The other candidate for Position No. 2 is Amber Dahl, who has a bachelor of science degree in business management from Brigham Young University. She listed no prior governmental experience on her filing form and her occupation as a full-time mom.
Hiland and Dahl were asked some questions via email about their candidacies and gave the following answers:
Dahl replied, "I am running for our school board to ensure that all students in Sherwood receive the support and challenge they need to grow and thrive. Recently, my son participated in a math extension pull-out group. After leading the group for a few months, the instructional assistant was needed elsewhere.
"Wanting to ensure my son continued to be challenged in the classroom, I asked his teacher -- one of his favorites -- to help me understand how well the curriculum matched his math ability. The test scores she provided revealed that my son had only one or two concepts to learn during the entire unit. When I asked about his growth -- his opportunity to continue to move through the curriculum at his rate and level, she indicated that she simply did not have the resources to support his continued learning at a faster pace. Unfortunately, this experience with my son is not unique in our district. "Over the last six years, I have met monthly with Sherwood parents whose children are experiencing similar challenges -- often sitting idle while other students are working toward proficiency. I have talked to other parents whose students struggle with learning disorders and am familiar with their challenges in obtaining the needed support for their students.
"In my advocacy role, I have met numerous times with our district administrators, contacted our school board members, attended and given public comment at school board meetings, studied school board policy, invited district staff and school board members to meet with concerned parents, and discussed educational options with teachers and administrators in neighboring districts. These advocacy efforts have given me a unique perspective on how our district can be improved, and I am eager to apply that perspective by serving on our school board, in a role that can impact the learning and ensure the growth of all students."
In response to a question about the skills and experiences she would bring to the board, Dahl replied, "I have a bachelor's degree in business management with an emphasis in organizational behavior. Once elected, I will support district policies that incorporate efficiency, effectiveness and evaluation, while ensuring that teachers are empowered and supported in their efforts to reach each individual student.
"I have children in the Sherwood schools -- at the high school, middle school and elementary levels -- have served as a school volunteer and advocate over the last several years. I have also spent significant time serving in our community as a volunteer church teacher, leader and council member -- working to organize events, solve problems and teach and care for individuals. I am passionate about ensuring that every student in Sherwood "realize[s] their contribution to self and society." (Oregon Revised Statutes, 343.395)
When asked what issues Dahl would like to see the board tackle and deal with, she replied, "I would like to work with my colleagues on the school board to maintain a focus on the growth of each individual student -- ensuring there are robust curriculum options for students at all learning levels; be proactive in proposing and supporting policy improvements in response to information received from teachers, administrators, the superintendent and the public; ensure that members of the public have a clear avenue to communicate with the school board, and that the board has policies in place that ensure its responsiveness to their concerns; identify opportunities for improvement by reviewing successful school strategies from communities like ours; and effectively evaluate school programs, curriculum and strategies to ensure they are carefully selected and carried out, then accurately measured to ensure effective follow-through and positive results."
Hiland said he is running because "I have four children who are attending or have attended 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.
"The 2006 bond that built Edy and Laurel Ridge was very successfully implemented; it was on time and within budget. 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. 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."
As far as skills and experiences that Hiland would bring to the board, he replied, "I served on the boundary committee when Middleton was built. I worked on the last two bond measures (2006 and 2016). I have served on the Sherwood Schools Budget Committee since 2012 and on the board of the Sherwood Education Foundation since 2012, with the last three years as president.
"I am also a school funding advocate. I have worked with groups like Stand for Children, gone to Salem to visit our representatives, and spoken to community groups on funding issues. We need to have adequate and stable school funding, which includes a rainy day fund that will limit the severe cuts that typically occur when a recession hits."
As far as issues that Hiland would like to see the board tackle and deal with, he said, "Prioritize the things we have the most control over as a community; build a new high school that serves our long-term needs in capacity and prepares our children for the opportunities that lie ahead; transition the lower grades to the expanded new spaces that will become available; expand the technology and curriculum available to our students to prepare them for the opportunities that an increasingly technology-driven economy provides -- this includes expanding the resources available to our advanced and at-risk students; and giving the community a better understanding of budget issues and the constraints our schools face, so that we all can better serve as advocates for our children."
Hiland added, "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 see the dedication and hard work from our teachers and staff, the constraints that they work within and the support that the community provides. We have a lot going for us in Sherwood. I want to help build on that and help give our children the education and future that they deserve."
Incumbent Patrick Allen, who is running for Position No. 4, has worked for the state of Oregon since 1993 and is an agency director. Previously, he worked for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and for the prior 10 prior to that, he was in banking.
Allen has a bachelor of science degree in economics from Oregon State University and has served on the Sherwood Planning Commission and the Sherwood Urban Renewal Plan Advisory Committee.
Longtime Board Member Connie Hansen, whose term expires June 30, 2017, along with Allen's and Campbell's, is not running for re-election.