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The North Bend School District has four seats on the ballot, with three contested races. Below are profiles of the candidates, in their own words.

Note: Mary Schilling, Jim Jordan and Julie Thies did not respond to emailed requests for response.

Seat Sought: NB SD Seat 2

Name: Anna M Huit

Age: 45

Years in the area: 20+

Occupation: Mom, Advocate, Board member, Court Appointed Special Advocate, Former Polysomnographer 

Past political/civic experience:

United Way of Southwestern Oregon board member: 2018-Current, 1year as Board Chair; Head Start Policy Council Member 2014-2019; Oregon Head Start Association Representative 2015; North Bay PTO Vice Chair 2018-Current; Oregon Coast Community Action Board Member 2013-Current, 3 years as board chair; South Coast Regional Early Learning Hub Parent Leader 2018-Current; Newly Appointed Court Appointed Special Advocate 2021-Current; CoCoach of a local youth soccer team 2018-Current; Native Parent Education Committee 2019- Current; Point in Time Count Volunteer 2018-Current.

What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

Assist in setting clear vision for our district, using my unique perspective and experiences to help collaborate with fellow board members as a team.

Making sure that we use data, experience and community input to arrive at the best possible district wide vision. Times call for innovative thinking to meet the unique and shifting needs our district is and will continue to face. All children deserve an education. Figuring out how to meet that need during and post pandemic is so important.

What do you feel are the most important issues you’ll be asked to face if elected?

 I believe two things will be needed; First, Systematic changes are needed that allow all children equal education regardless of socio-economic backgrounds, development, learning style or post pandemic needs;  Requiring implementation of options that increase success. Online, Special Education, Certification Program, etc... We have a responsibility to set every student up for success. What that looks like is up to them and their families. Second, I see a possible need to move forward with a bond for expansion, due to capacity issues. Bonds are  a touchy subject and will require much research, advocacy, and outreach.

How would you address those issues?

Both these items will need data to make informed decision. Compiling data and gathering community input for a full review. Researching what is or is not working elsewhere is a good start. Overall, it would be my job to ask appropriate questions to gain insight prior to making decisions.

Why should voters trust you with their vote?

I have a 13-year history of dedicated volunteerism in our community focused on supports for our kids. I'm known to be ethical, respectful and proactive in my practices. My four boys are accessing an education here. I have worked with their teams to acquire services, sports, etc. I desire  improvement upon what is great in our district. Supporting all children, providing opportunities and celebrating success. They will one day be the hand raisers empowering this community that I love.

I am not a politician. I am a volunteer, Mentor, & Parent, with success and struggles which have assisted my desire to be part of the work done in our district and community. I will contribute my unique perspective and collaborate with other Members , building a team. A team that makes sure the community is heard. It is important to be transparent and keep our community informed about district progress and challenges. I will give 100% time, effort and heart because it's always a great day to be a bulldog.

Seat Sought: NB SD Seat 2

Name: Caryn Caswell Mickelson

Age: 43

Years in the area: 37

Occupation: Pharmacist- Director of Pharmacy

Past political/civic experience: North Bend School District Budget Committee, North Bend School District Bond Committee, Leadership Coos, Ford Family Foundation Leadership Institute, Oregon Health Authority State Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee, and Oregon Health Authority Clinical Innovation Fellowship

What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

I hope to be part of a committed group of school board members who work diligently to support our students, teachers, staff and administrators to cultivate a learning environment where all of our children feel safe and supported to realize their greatest academic and social potential. I want to ensure learning paths and programs exist for each student to have the foundation necessary to pursue their individual goals after graduation by expanding our Career and Technical Education offerings and ensuring our Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics programs exceed state and national standards at all learning levels. I want to ensure that expanded opportunities exist for students to explore music and the arts.

What do you feel are the most important issues you’ll be asked to face if elected?

An important issue I feel will need to be faced as a school board and community is the safe and successful transition of students back to full time in-person learning.

How would you address those issues? 

I hope to address this issue to the best of my ability by being available to listen and understand the various needs of our students, their families, and our community. I am optimistic that my understanding of the health care system and community resources, along with my problem solving and collaboration skills will be an asset as we navigate a path forward. Expanding access to mental health services is critical at all times and will be especially important for students processing the transition back to in-person learning.

Why should voters trust you with their vote?

I was born and raised in North Bend. I graduated from North Bend High School in 1996. I completed my education at Oregon State University and OHSU in 2003. I returned to my hometown to raise my son, Sam, as a third generation Bulldog. I have deep roots in this community and a sincere commitment to the success of our schools. The relationships I have built through my years living in this community are foundational to the person I am today and the integrity to which I approach my work and volunteer activities.

 

Seat Sought: NB SD Seat 5

Name: Samantha Pierson

Age: 49

Years in the area: 9.5 years

Occupation: Library Director

Past political/civic experience: 4 years on the North Bend School Board, school volunteer, board member for Northwest Community Health Center

Q&A (please keep responses to 100 words or fewer per question!)

What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

I would like to continue the work started during my first term regarding enhancing CTE programs, student equity, providing more social/emotional support for students and supply as many opportunities as possible for all students.

What do you feel are the most important issues you’ll be asked to face if elected?

Some important issues within the school district are the budget, class sizes, graduation rate, and developing and retaining the best possible staff to work with our children. 

How would you address those issues?

   

It is important to work closely with the business manager and superintendent throughout the year to avoid any budget surprises.  State revenue and enrollment can shift creating budget shortfalls but with sufficient planning the negative impact to the district can be minimized.  While smaller class sizes are important at all ages, it is crucial in the younger grades.  Maintaining strong goals for the Student Investment Act money can help keep the classes as small as possible.  Graduation rates depend on so many factors.  It is important to look at the entire school environment. Students need academic support, emotional support and social support to be successful. 

Why should voters trust you with their vote?

I am a parent with children in the district so I have a vested interest in making this a successful school district. But beyond that, I want our district to help all students become as successful as possible so that North Bend can be a thriving community that people want to stay in. 

 

Seat Sought: NB SD Seat 6

Name: Julianna Seldon

Age: 52

Years in the area: 24

Occupation: I work in Student Services for Southwestern Oregon Community College

Past political/civic experience: I have served on the school board for 8 years.

What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

There are projects we have started as a board that I would like to see through.  They include supporting the equity work started by the district, passing a bond that will ensure that our schools are ready for the coming years, and ensuring we are giving the necessary support for our students to recover from the stress of the past year of distance and hybrid learning.  In addition, we have worked on a board project this year to improve board communication with our families and foster stronger relationships. Our plan will be put into action next year.

 What do you feel are the most important issues you’ll be asked to face if elected?

1.      Ensuring schools continue to move forward from COVID. Plans for a return next year should include safe and clean buildings, small class sizes to increase social distance as well as help teachers to provide extra support, and assist for students with academic and social/emotional needs.

2.      Budget

3.      Building on the equity work done by the district. All students should be provided a safe and welcoming space to learn.  The more we provide support for every student to learn at their best, the better all students will do and the district will succeed as a whole; research supports this.

How would you address those issues?

1.      I will support allocating funds to ensure the above and work with the superintendent to ensure its accomplishment.

2.      I will continue to learn about the budget process and make sound decisions about how the district spends what it needs to ensure student success while keeping the future in mind and making sure there is enough reserve to provide a cushion when needed. 

3.      I will support the superintendent in his leadership with equity work.  I will also make sure it’s a focus in board meetings when looking at data, discussing student success, and looking at budget choices.     

Why should voters trust you with their vote?

I have served on the school board for the past 8 years.  During that time, I have served on multiple committee and attended multiple trainings and workshops to ensure I have the best possible knowledge to serve the school district.  I have also served as board chair for the past few years.  I believe strong schools help make a strong community and I care deeply about North Bend and will work to ensure the schools have what they need.  In addition, I care deeply about all students and want to give them the best education possible.

Reporter Zack Demars can be reached at worldnews3@countrymedia.net.

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