Longtime community leader
Editor's note: This story is the third of three that introduce new members of the North Marion School District Board.
One of the newest directors on the North Marion School Board is not only a former City Councilor for Wilsonville — he's a local dad who's engaged to a current Aurora City Councilor.
Richard Goddard's four-year term on the School Board began July 1. Then he became one of three new faces to join the seven-member group. Goddard has been a professional engineer for over 25 years and carries more than a decade of experience serving on local governmental bodies, and he particularly values giving back when it comes to schools.
'A Voice for Families'
"I believe a School Board is there to represent and be a voice for all families and students in our community, including those that may not have a strong voice or be well represented," says Goddard, Renewable Energy Transaction Manager at NW Natural, a natural gas utility company. "I also believe it is important for the School Board to develop a clear mission and vision for the district, develop and implement a sustainable fiscal strategy, develop policies that support excellence in education and an environment where students can learn and be successful, and to support our Superintendent in carrying out their leadership responsibilities."
But Goddard doesn't just know how to lead a community, he's a part of it. He's a dad, a father to three adult sons, who is now pairing up with fiancée, Aurora City Councilor Wendy Véliz, to raise a 14-year-old daughter. When the family's not serving the community, they're enjoying a little time outdoors in their gleaming wooden canoe. When it comes to Goddard's leadership, his focus is on serving the community, especially students, and helping them grow.
"I am really looking forward to getting to know our North Marion students and families, seeing our students learn, grow, and succeed, and helping to create an environment where students and families can have a great educational experience," Goddard said.
In fact, Goddard is the type of leader people encourage to apply for committees, councils, commissions, and boards. When Véliz (an active Wilsonville community member), and others were seeking to encourage several qualified local leaders to apply to serve as a Wilsonville City Councilor, one of those they all sought out was Goddard.
At the time, Goddard was volunteering in the schools, coaching youth sports; and serving as the Chair of the Wilsonville Planning Commission offering policy recommendations on major projects, such as the Public Facilities Transportation Strategy and Parks and Recreation Master Plan.
'A Strong Sense of Stewardship'
Among his other appealing qualities as a local leader is his strong educational background, having earned a Master of Business Administration from Portland State University (with honors) and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Washington State University.
He is a certified professional engineer, entering the field in 1994. With all of that in mind, Véliz and several others encouraged him to apply, and he was appointed. She says he is the ideal community leader.
"The North Marion School Board is very fortunate to have him," says Véliz, who joined the Aurora City Council in January of 2021. "He has a very strong passion for supporting educational programs for youth and has a history of volunteering, so I think he's a great addition on account of that commitment and passion alone. But he also happens to be a really thoughtful and respectful leader in the over a decade that I've known him. So I have the highest regard for him and respect for him. I'm really pleased that he stepped forward to serve."
In a way, little has changed for Goddard since he applied for the City Council position. What he says on his 2010 Wilsonville City Council application still rings true for his service on the North Marion School Board: "I have a strong sense of stewardship and have a great passion for building a strong future for our community."
Goddard has served Wilsonville and the wider community via a range of organizations, including: Chemeketa Community College Foundation, Clackamas County Economic Development Commission, and Portland Metropolitan Leadership Council for The Oregon Community Foundation.
He's even been recognized for his devotion to the community with a President's Award of Merit from the Wilsonville Area Chamber of Commerce. His family moved to Aurora in 2015, and he's continuing his commitment to community service and leadership, but now in North Marion County.
"I have served in various volunteer positions focused on education and communities, and the NMSD Board position presented a great opportunity to apply my interest and experience in supporting communities and education," Goddard says. "I have experienced first-hand the positive impact that education can have for both students and their families, and I share a commitment to creating opportunities for learning."
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