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Zones 2 and 3 spots filled on July 12 from among five applicants to complete terms of Penner and Piros

The Newberg school board is whole once again after two residents were named to spots left vacant by the resignations of longtime directors Brandy Penner and Rebecca Piros in June.

Applicants for the Zone 2 positions were Mike Carey, Shelley Kolb and Scott Winter, while Scott Pine and Ron Rilee vied for appointment to the vacant Zone 3 position. In the end, the four sitting members of the board voted in favor of Kolb and Rilee at the body's July 12 meeting.

As part of the application process, the board created a list of 10 questions for the five individuals seeking appointment. The questions ranged from "What is the role of the school board?" to whether the applicants have or had children in the district, whether they plan on running for election to the board once they finish out their terms and are they up to the workload required as a member of the board.

The board also suggested the applicants answer an additional eight questions that spoke to the controversies that have surrounded the body over the past year. Included were whether applicants had had prior contact with board members or were recruited by a board member, as well as "Are you prepared for the public shots and rude comments that will come your way?" and "People will say lies about you and your family: Are you prepared to handle that kind of unfairness?" as well as "You will be called very hateful names that are completely not true but are still said. Can you handle this?" and "How will you approach a divided community?"

While all of the five applicants answered the initial 10 questions, none commented on the subsequent eight queries.

Kolb brings diverse experience

Kolb, who is co-owner of Kolb Vineyards, has resided in Zone 2 since 2016. She has bachelor's and master's degrees from San Jose State University, where she studied music performance in percussion, and has professional experience in administration, teaching, data and research, and general business. She kicked off her career in the arts, however.

"My first career was as a professional symphony musician in the San Jose Symphony," she said on her application. "Thereafter I worked for 30 years as a corporate salesperson in the legal research industry."

Kolb is a member of Early Bird Rotary, where she serves as chairperson for the annual Christmas auction and other miscellaneous projects.

On her application she touted her professional experience: "My greatest contributions include my analytical and problem-solving skills, which enable me to systematically access a challenging situation and develop creative solutions."

She commented that she sought a place on the board because, "I am interested due to my commitment to education, our public school system and wanting our youth to have the same excellent educational opportunities that I experienced as a girl from my local public schools."

She added that issues critical to the school district include enrollment-related budget cuts, staffing, COVID-related learning interruptions and enhancing community relations.

"To help find solutions to these complex issues, I would collaborate with other board members and stakeholders to define root causes, evaluate the best solutions and then begin implementation processes that are realistic, manageable and accountable," she said.

Rilee application succint

In contrast to Kolb's application, Rilee's comments on his application were brief and to the point. He said he has a high school education, had four kids graduate from Newberg High School and his career includes experience in administration, human resources and labor relations working for more than 20 years as a supervisor with a "major government bureaucracy."

He sought a spot on the board, he said in his application, for a simple reason: "After the years of being on the sidelines while our kids went through the NSD, it's time to get involved."

He added that the board's top responsibility is "Remembering that the best interests of the students is No. 1" and that the most critical issue facing the school district is "Matching (dollars) to priorities."

Ideally, he said, the school board will be structured as "A group with various experiences and strengths to mesh together cohesively."

His answer to the time requirements of a board member? "I would say less than the 60-hour weeks I used to work."

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