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She aims to remain fiscally responsible while expanding opportunities for students

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Laurie Danzuka

Jefferson County School District 509-J Board Chair Laurie Danzuka is running uncontested for position 1, a seat she has held since July 1, 2009, during the May special district election.

"My 'why' continues to be the kids," Danzuka said of her reason for seeking re-election. "Bottom line, I want to give them what they deserve – the enrichment programs, sports, after school activities, access to cultural classes, and opportunities to excel after they graduate from high school."

Danzuka works as a cannabis project coordinator, leading project development and planning for production and retail components. She was born, raised and resides in Warm Springs.

She has volunteered on several boards and committees in Central Oregon and the state that are related to education, youth services and the underserved population in poverty. She currently serves as an Oregon School Board Members of Color Caucus Board member, NeighborImpact Advancement Committee member, Central Oregon Regional Education Network Board member, and National Indian Education Association member.

She has developed a network that allows her to advocate for and on behalf of the children and families in the communities within Jefferson County.

"I can bridge the gap and create connections to allocate resources to serve the families in Warm Springs," she said.

She continues to work toward creating a seamless transition from preschool to public school in a way that strengthens family engagement and involvement.

"I understand the community's values and needs in the schools spread throughout the district," Danzuka said.

It is not a requirement for the school board to have tribal representation. All five positions are considered at-large and not determined by geographic boundaries. However, position 1 has had a tribal member for the last 34 years, Danzuka pointed out.

Her immediate family includes two nieces, a nephew and a grandson, and she has numerous extended family members in Madras, Culver and Warm Springs.

Danzuka says her experience and history as a board member will assist with the 509-J superintendent transition and will carry forward the successful programs that have been put in place.

Her goals include addressing learning gaps from online learning and providing professional development for staff to boost learning recovery for students, especially the high-risk population. She also recognizes the need to prepare students for the workforce and vocational/technical careers.

"Most importantly, it is my goal to remain fiscally responsible and work with the district leadership to allocate resources where most needed to best fit the needs of staff, students and families," Danzuka said.

During her 12-year tenure, the 509-J Board has aligned district curriculum, created Professional Learning Communities for teachers to collaborate, and began offering different pathways to graduation. She said getting the systems in place and exploring options for students was hard and it took a toll on staff and leadership, but the rewards are apparent with rises in test scores and graduation rates.

"The construction of the Warm Springs K-8 building was a huge milestone. Warm Springs has the highest attendance on family engagement nights so that is a testament to the importance of that school," Danzuka said.

She noted that the district has faced many challenges this school year, but commitment from parents, families, staff and students has enabled the district to be open full time to all students.

"I am confident that I can continue to work in collaboration with community partners and work towards the goals I have outlined," Danzuka said, noting that this work does not happen with one person, but a community that values education and continually works toward improvement on behalf of the kids.

"In my role, I will continue to provide fair, thoughtful, and consistent leadership with a growth mindset. I am passionate about this work and continue to advocate on behalf of the families I serve," Danzuka said.

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