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Warm Springs resident wants to ensure every student has equal opportunity to learn and be successful

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Lorien Stacona

Warm Springs resident Lorien Stacona has filed for Jefferson County 509-J School Board Director, Position 2. She faces incumbent Jamie Hurd in the May 18 special district election.

Stacona works as a case manager for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

"My main goal is to ensure that every student has equal opportunity to learn and be successful. I believe this means providing more support to teachers," Stacona said of her goals for the school district. "I believe that the path to student success is to work with parents and families and make sure they are given opportunities to provide input through multiple channels that work with their schedules and locations."

She believes the school district needs more input from the people who work directly with students – the teachers. The result, she said, would mean greater transparency for the district at all levels. Equal opportunities and adequate support lead to both equality and equity for all students. She feels that schools are vital in small communities and are central places to disseminate resources and build community.

"In order for our communities to be successful, we must invest in our youth, and education is the biggest investment we make into them," Stacona said. "I have attended and advocated for changes at previous school board meetings and haven't seen many results. I told myself if I wasn't willing to put myself out there and try to be a part of the change, then I didn't have a right to make complaints."

As a case manager in Warm Springs, Stacona assists community members with goal setting and connects them to local and regional resources that will help them achieve their goals. She also advocates for improved services for clients. Her position gives her a strong connection to resources in the Warm Springs and Madras communities, and she would like to provide families with additional support, at no cost to the school district, by bringing these resources to the schools.

Stacona lives with her fiancé, Gordon Scott, and three children. Her older children attend Warm Springs K-8 Academy and participate in various activities in Warm Springs and Madras. She is hoping to build strong schools for the next generation of students, which her 1-year-old baby will be a part of.

"My real inspiration for running was when I had to choose to pull my transfer request for my son to attend Jefferson County Middle School because I felt he would have more opportunities," Stacona said.

She thought how it was not fair to other families who may not have had the means to support their child transferring to another school or how hard it would be on her son to have to add another 45 to 60 minutes a day of commute time. She decided to keep her son at Warm Springs K-8 Academy.

Stacona has been active in advocating to the school board throughout her children's education but decided it was time to utilize her voice at the next level and advocate for all children.

"Representation is important, and I feel like my personal and professional experience has given me the ability to represent all students, not just one demographic," Stacona said.

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