Voters this month have a chance to elect three of the seven members of the Portland Public Schools Board of Education.
The race for Zone 6 is a sure bet. Julie Brim-Edwards needs to be re-elected to continue her good stewardship of the district's money and policies.
The other two races depend on each voter's priorities.
Brim-Edwards, who is running against Matthew Margolis and Libby Glynn, has experience as an executive at Nike and as a staffer at the Legislature. Both of those roles have given her a solid understanding of budgets and policy. And her endorsement list is a who's-who of the region's essential leadership, including former Gov. Barbara Roberts, current and former school board members, and the entire Multnomah County Board of Commissioners. They know what voters should know: This last year has been one of the most challenging years in history for students, faculty and area residents. Having a seasoned, reasonable and intelligent leader like Brim-Edwards is a blessing and she deserves another term.
The candidates are Herman Greene, Margo Logan and Brooklyn Sherman — all newcomers to elected office.
Greene is a church pastor and longtime school volunteer with a background in nonprofit development. His four children graduated from PPS and one of his daughters is a teacher at Roosevelt High School. His key issues are pretty light on specifics. He said he launched his campaign because he wants to empower more people to take part in district decisions, and to see that all students have the same access and opportunities to education and enrichment activities.
His list of endorsers is impressive for a newcomer: Former Sen. Avel Gordly, Sen. Lew Frederick and Rep. Janelle Bynum, Multnomah County Commission Chair Deborah Kafoury and three current school board members.
Margo Logan should be a non-starter for voters. When she ran for seat in the Oregon House of Representatives in 2020, she borrowed a popular phrase from the crackpot conspiracy theorist website QAnon for her statement in the voters' pamphlet. In February, she lobbied fellow members of the Multnomah Republican Party to crusade around the city and go into businesses without masks, dubbing it the "mask free musketeer squad." She also claims she went around to several hospitals early on in the pandemic and observed "empty emergency rooms."
Anyone quoting QAnon and rubbish about being a "mask free musketeer" is the last person we need setting policy for schools.
Brooklyn Sherman is a Portland State University student who graduated from Jefferson High School in 2020 and who self-identifies as autistic. He said he's running for the Portland Public Schools board because special education students need representation on the board and better outcomes. That's a rock solid position. He's inexperienced, obviously, but he shows the potential to grow into one of the region's next generation of leaders. We doubt he's ready for this gig yet, but we hope to see him serve on some volunteers boards and commissions and to keep his eyes open for future races.
The candidates are Gary Hollands and Daniel Rodgers.
Gary Hollands was born and raised in Oregon and graduated from Benson Polytechnic High School. He previously served on the board of the Multnomah Education Service District. His wife works for Portland Public Schools as the director of diversity and workforce development. One of his daughters is now a teacher at Kairos PDX.
His three priorities: more career and technical education available to students; more diverse representation in decision making and staff; and a way to close the learning and achievement gaps for students of color.
We can't argue with any of that.
And his list of endorsers is almost longer than his résumé: current board members; members of the Portland City Council and Multnomah County Commission; leaders of the Portland NAACP and Coalition for Communities of Color, etc. That's beyond impressive.
Dr. Daniel Rodgers is a family physician and a newcomer to Portland, having spent most of his life in Pennsylvania. His key issue is the impacts of COVID-19 on education, and he said the safe return to full-time in-person education — possibly by this fall — is an issue he's passionate about.
We're with him 100% on that topic, but we're always wary of one-issue candidates. There's never been a more complicated time to serve in such a demanding position. Rodgers also lists no endorsers in the Multnomah County Voters' Pamphlet.
Full disclosure: The editorial board of the Portland Tribune did not bring in candidates for interviews this year, due to the pandemic. Opinions above are based on our news staff's reporting, on the Voters' Pamphlet and, in the case of Brim-Edwards, on our direct observation.
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