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Gladstone resident Jeremy Shaw sworn in to district representative role on Sept. 8

COURTESY PHOTO: GLADSTONE SCHOOL DISTRICT - Jeremy ShawBeaverton Police Officer and Gladstone parent Jeremy Shaw has been selected as the newest member of the Gladstone School Board.

Shaw fills a position vacated by former board member Greg Lind, who resigned the day after he was sworn into office for a second term.

Shaw was selected out of nine applicants who were screened by the board through public interviews on Aug. 31 and was later sworn in on Sept. 8, the board announced in a press release.

"I'm honored to be on the Gladstone School Board," Shaw said. "My goal is to help foster a safe learning environment for students and staff while holding to the highest standards of education. I'm excited to see what the next few years will bring."

A Gladstone resident since 1999, Shaw currently serves as an officer for the Beaverton Police Department and has also served as a volunteer firefighter, youth soccer coach and volunteer for a middle school robotics club.

In 2018, Shaw was one of three dozen officers nationwide recognized by Nextdoor, a private social network that connects neighbors with each other and with police.

Asked during the public interviews how the school board can prioritize the well-being of students and staff, Shaw suggested practicing an "open approach to listening."

"It's a people business," Shaw said. "There's a lot of stakeholders out there, from not only our students, staff, but we have a community, the City Council... and depending on the decisions that are made here, it can affect other things within the city."

During the interviews held in-person at Gladstone High School, candidates answered questions one-by-one in a roundtable sequence.

Asked what methods he would employ to influence or persuade fellow board members on an issue of great importance to him, Shaw emphasized the importance of founding one's statements in factual information.

"I think it's extremely important to come back to the things that are concrete, that could help educate if not everybody is up on a particular subject that I may be up on," Shaw said.

As a follow-up, candidates were asked how they would handle failing to achieve a consensus among their fellow board members.

"What matters to me may not matter to everybody else," Shaw said. "People believe in things differently. For instance, after delivering the facts, if for some reason, everyone is like, 'No, there's no way we're going to do that,' then I haven't really done my homework."

Asked what issues he would like the board to address and why, Shaw said he prioritizes ensuring students are not falling behind in their academics amid alterations to traditional in-person instruction in compliance with COVID-19 protocols.

"I think our kids lost a bit of education last year," Shaw said, adding that it is not the fault of anyone in particular. "What I'd like to see is some sort of plan to catch these kids up educationally."

He added the emotional well-being of students and staff is another priority of his as they navigate a world he described as "ever-changing."

"We've got masks, we've got social distancing, vaccinations, cleanings... and it is so anxiety-ridden for kids and for parents that I think this this board has to address that in some way," Shaw said, adding hat he was anxious himself about his own children returning to school for these reasons.

Candidates were also asked how they would actively support Gladstone School District's Equity Stance, which begins: "Skin color, race and racial identity should never limit children's opportunity to fulfill their highest potential. However, the reality is that they have a daily impact on Gladstone students' academic achievement, social inclusion and self-esteem." The district's statement outlines Gladstone schools' commitments and approaches to mitigating the systemic issue.

In response, Shaw said he begins by putting on his "color-blindness glasses" to identify who needs help, before proceeding to analyze whether or not there is a problem with the system.

"I start with putting on my color-blindness glasses; I don't see color," Shaw said. "And then, I look for who needs help. We identify those kids, no matter where they come from their background, their color, their disability... we address that."

"And then if we take our glasses off," Shaw continued, "we can look at it at systematically and we can say, 'Is there are a problem with the system based on what we see now? Are we treating people with a disability differently? Are we treating races differently, (cultures) differently and then we can really reflect on the system to see if there's something broken with the system and if we identify things broken the system, then we need to take active steps to fix the system."

Shaw is expected to appear on the May 2023 ballot, when he will have to be selected by voters in order to stay on the Gladstone School Board for the remaining two year's of Lind's term.

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