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Board also votes Sarah Pocklington as chair and Kirsten Aird as vice chair as Wagner bids farewell

On a bittersweet note, as the Lake Oswego School Board said goodbye to Chair Rob Wagner due to his resignation, it welcomed Neelam Gupta to fill position 2 at the meeting Monday night.

Gupta replaces Wagner, who is stepping down to concentrate on his role as Oregon Senate majority leader. School Board member Sara Pocklington was appointed as the new board chair; her term as chair and Gupta's as a school board member both begin immediately. PMG FILE PHOTO - Neelam Gupta at her house in Lake Oswego.

The board also unanimously voted to appoint school board member Kirsten Aird as vice chair, effective July 1, 2020, when Liz Hartman's term as vice chair ends.

Gupta was appointed by board members Hartman, Aird, Pocklington and John Wallin. She was selected from a pool of 24 applicants.

"You bring such passion and such knowledge to everything that you do ... I know you're going to make such a great contribution to the board," Wallin said at the meeting.

Gupta will serve on the board for the next school year. Position 2 will be up for election in May 2021 for a four-year term.

Wagner, who represents District 19 in the Senate, announced he would step down May 26, shortly after being named majority leader.

Gupta brings experience in the district and community with her 30-year history in Lake Oswego.

Most recently, she served as co-chair of the Lake Oswego School District's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee, alongside Lakeridge High School senior Mya Gordon.

Gupta was also co-chair of the Learning Levy campaign, co-treasurer of the Lake Oswego Junior High Parent Club and vice president of the Lake Oswego Schools Foundation.

Gupta was slated to serve as the president of the foundation, but will step down to serve on the school board.

"Gupta also volunteers with LO for Love, Respond to Racism, Hunger Fighters and National Charity League," a press release from the school district said.

Professionally, Gupta is a strategic health care leader who has made a career of advancing equity for diverse communities.

"Rob set the tone with his passion for equity and leadership in advocating for each and every one of our students. With the appointment of Neelam to the board, I am confident we will continue championing an equity mindset and advocating for the anti-racism movement in our LOSD community," Hartman said in the release.

Pocklington, the newly elected board chair, was elected to the board in May 2017.

She has served as chair of the LOSD Legal Budget Committee and board lead in the district's strategic planning efforts.

Aird, the new vice chair, was elected to the board in May 2019 and has served as the board liaison for the Long Range Facilities Planning Committee and the Boundary Review committee.

The School Board will not meet again until Monday, July 27.

This story will be updated.


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