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Desi Nicodemus: Kathy Wai, Mitzi Bauer and Tory McVay deserve support to retain seats on board

I urge members of our North Clackamas community to vote for Kathy Wai, Mitzi Bauer and Tory McVay this May in the school board election.

I view the upcoming election for North Clackamas School Board from several perspectives. I am a teacher in the North Clackamas School District with 22 years of experience in the classroom, an elected official in Milwaukie who often works closely with the board and parent to a child attending North Clackamas schools. The leadership of the NCSD School Board has an effect on my work, my home and the community I am so proud to represent.

Guiding a successful school system is challenging. The decisions of the board affect all of us, not just students and parents but grandparents, aunts and uncles, caregivers of all kinds working together to raise our kids. It's a great responsibility, and one that NCSD Board members must approach with care and integrity.

I have had opportunities to work closely with Katy Wai, Mitzi Bauer and Tory McVay. Mitzi is visible and connected to the community. I have watched her work first-hand. She sits down and gets to know families at our school and makes sure all voices are heard in our community. She is a mother, former teacher and longtime volunteer who has shown her dedication to the greater community. As a board member for five years and co-chair of bonds and levies, she has demonstrated acumen and creativity.

Tory is the only candidate from the west side, and geographical representation on the board matters to everyone. He listens to families and their needs and makes decisions that benefit the whole community. Tory's knowledge of fiscal duties and opportunities are exactly what we need coming out of the difficult year that we've had.

Kathy was there at one of the first meetings of the Educators of Color affinity group when we were getting established. She came, listened and learned about our experiences and our needs. She has shown up to offer advice and guidance to our group. While she has been on the school board, the district has seen an increase in hiring of educators, staff and administrators of color. I know Kathy will continue to keep recruitment and retention as a priority moving forward because all students — and especially students of color — need educators they can relate to.

Some of their opponents are saying since they don't have kids in school, they aren't connected or don't understand. I would argue that it's not a negative, but a positive. Meaning they can focus on all of the kids in NCSD as this is a big job that takes a lot of time, work and passion for ALL kids. Equity is of utmost importance as we need to remove all barriers and systemic practices. Desi Nicodemus

Now is the time for experienced, competent leadership. Our students, families and schools have made it through a tough year. It will take a steady hand to keep us heading in the right direction, and these candidates have all demonstrated that they are up to the task.

These are three different NCSD Board members with diverse histories and perspectives. The traits that they share are a mature, collaborative approach to the job and a clear commitment to always putting North Clackamas kids and families first.

Please vote for Kathy Wai, Mitzi Bauer and Tory McVay for NCSD Board of Directors.

Voters elected Desi Nicodemus to his first four-year term as a Milwaukie city councilor in November.


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