Two candidates for Position 5 on the Culver School District Board of Directors have remarkable similarities. Besides being the same age, growing up in small towns in Western Oregon, and serving as volunteer coaches, they're also friends.
Brian Silbernael, 39, and Seth Taylor, 39, both of Culver, learned about the open seat on the board, and independently decided to run.
The position is currently held by Zoe Schumacher, who did not seek reelection. Although Position 5 is the only contested seat on the Culver School Board, incumbent David Slaght, of Culver, is running for Position 2, the seat to which he was first elected in 2011.
Silbernagel, who works at Bright Wood as the trucking scheduler, has lived in Culver since 2004, when he moved from Scio, where he had grown up.
A graduate of Western Oregon University, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice in 2003. As soon as he moved to Culver, he began coaching football at Culver High School, where he is currently the defensive coordinator.
Explaining why he decided to run, Silbernagel said, "There was an open spot on the board, and I've been around the Culver athlete side and I wanted to get to know the other side."
He and his wife, Rhian, have three children attending Culver schools: son, Jace, 12; daughter, Evan, 9; and son, Gage, 8.
"Obviously, I have a vested interest because I have kids in the district," he said, noting that they are in sixth, third and second grades.
"Since I moved to Central Oregon, I've always been in the Culver district. Where I come from, Scio, is a small school, very similar in size to Culver," said Silbernagel.
As a member of the Culver Booster Club, he said, "One of the big goals on the athletic side of things is to eventually have a sports complex that would service all our sports. The Booster Club has been raising money for that; we're getting close to starting to move forward on that."
Silbernagel has also coached Little League for past five years.
Taylor, who grew up in Newberg, moved to the Madras area in 2005 for his job, working for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
"I've worked as a machinist, a timber cruiser and have spent the last 15 years working for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife here in Central Oregon."
A 1998 graduate of Newberg High School, Taylor attended Mt. Hood Community College, where he earned a degree in fisheries.
Over the years, has been involved in youth outreach programs through Youth For Christ and with several churches in the area, in addition to volunteering for the past five years for Jefferson County Little League as head coach or assistant coach. He also supports FFA and 4-H.
"Having grown up in a smaller community myself and attended a rural kindergarten through eighth grade school, I desired for my kids to have the same experience," said Taylor. "So in 2012, we moved to Culver when our oldest was in kindergarten and she's now a middle schooler. Our two younger children attend the elementary school."
"Since we moved to Culver in 2012, my wife (Debbie) and I fell in love with the Culver School District and its small-town country feel," he said. "I believe that the teachers and administration do an amazing job with our children and I would love to see that continue."
"As we know, Culver is a growing community," he continued. "I want to make sure we keep the small-town feel and excellent education as Culver grows. I want to keep the checks and balances in place between our educators and the school board so that we maintain the standard of education that continues with our high graduation rates and parent involvement."
"I also want to ensure that our budget dollars are spent in the most appropriate ways to benefit our students, teachers and community," Taylor said, adding, "I'm ready to be involved in our school board for the next four years."
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