Newcomers lead in Molalla school board races
Out of four open Molalla school board positions, it appears three will likely be filled by newcomers, according to the latest election results.
Two candidates ran unopposed and secured enough votes to win the positions they sought. With 1,777 votes as of Monday, May 24, incumbent Mark Lucht looks to hold onto position 3. With 1,720 votes, newcomer Terrie Stafford will fill position 5 presently held by Craig Loughridge, who opted not to run for reelection.
In the other races, results show Michelle Boren in the lead for position 2 with 1,637 votes over incumbent Calvin Nunn with 535 votes and M Ryan Mutchler with 209 votes. Amy McNeil is holding onto her lead for position 6 with 1,240 votes over incumbent Jennifer Satter at 1,124 votes.
Lucht, a Molalla alumnus, works as an information technology manager at Benchmade Knife Company. He has held position 3 since 2012.
Lucht said in his pamphlet statement that as a board member, he strives to listen and make sure all viewpoints are heard. He supports conservative financial management that has allowed options and a full academic calendar for Molalla students.
He now looks ahead to partnering with new board members.
"I am pleased there was increased interest by community members in running for open positions, and I welcome Amy, Michelle, and Terrie to the Board and congratulate them on their campaigns," Lucht said. "Calvin, Jennifer, and Craig were valued members of our school board and sacrificed a significant amount of time in service to the district – I am grateful for their service, wish them the best, and hope they will continue to stay involved in the community."
Stafford works at Central Coast Medical Billing Services, LLC and has been a part of the Molalla community for many years. She will now take on her first elected position in government.
Stafford said in her pamphlet statement that she strives to ensure all voices are heard and that expectations are met. She wants to see a school system that values its teachers and staff, is fiscally responsible, promotes parent involvement and forges strong community partnerships.
Now Stafford said she is looking forward to what this new adventure brings.
Boren is a local business owner with some prior government experience, having served as president on the Canby Area Chamber of Commerce board, and she worked with city government and legislative committees to keep local businesses informed and to stand up for small businesses.
"I couldn't be happier to serve our community," Boren said. "I'm sure the next four years won't be easy, but I'm up for the challenge. I want to thank everyone for their vote and their trust in me. It's truly an honor."
McNeil is a lead project coordinator with government experience as a Clackamas County Precinct Committee Person. She has been active in Molalla for years.
McNeil said she ran for the position because at the time, no one else was.
"I thought to myself, 'If I don't stand up, who will?'" McNeil said.
She and Satter filed to run on the same day, not knowing they would face opposition.
McNeil said her favorite part of campaigning was going door to door. She and her team didn't knock, but they did hit 1,400 houses and encountered many voters who were outside and willing to share their concerns about the schools. McNeil said she shares some of their concerns.
"I'm confident though, that with the other board members, current and newly voted in, we can make a positive change to shift the focus back on the academic success of our students," McNeil said. "Also, this district has a great group of qualified teachers and faculty, and if we want to maintain this, we'll need to gain back the trust of parents to get our enrollment back up."
McNeil said she is 100% for having kids back in school full-time for in-person learning.
The newly elected school board directors will assume their positions in July and serve four-year terms.
This story has been updated with the latest results.
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