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Guest Column: Vote for Demonstrated Transparency and Commitment

Student writing in notebook

Serving on a school board is hard work. It is a volunteer position. You are charged with every family’s most cherished gift — their children. To rise to that challenge, our community deserves future board members who have a demonstrated commitment to our students, families, and schools — and are committed to the transparency and integrity required to do the job well once in office.

That is why I am advocating for Marcus LeGrand, Janet Sarai Llerandi, Shirley Olson, and Carrie McPherson Douglass for the Bend-La Pine School Board in the May 18th special election.

Demonstrated commitment.

These four are parents and have actively worked professionally and as volunteers to improve our community’s educational system. In a campaign cycle, it is easy to make critiques and promises. But I find the best indicator of future work is past performance. These four have it in spades.

Marcus is the college and career success coach and an instructor at Central Oregon Community College — a true asset as the district continues to develop its career and college pathways ensuring all students have a plan for their future. As a volunteer, he sits on the district budget committee, helps to facilitate student town halls, and is a core founding member of the Black led nonprofit The Father’s Group, which is piloting a mentoring program in our high schools.

Janet is the administrative and finance Coordinator for The Early Learning Hub of Central Oregon and Better Together — a combination of financial knowledge and educational expertise that will further hone the focus on early childhood and the prioritization of funding. As a volunteer, she founded Mecca Bend — a nonprofit that responded to the needs of the Latinx community during this pandemic, through cash assistance for those disqualified from federal stimulus aid, distribution of food boxes in partnership with local food banks, and bilingual counseling and coaching.

Shirley has a 50+ year career in education as a teacher and administrator — a depth of experience that will provide an important perspective and grounding during these uncertain times. As a volunteer, she serves on the district budget committee, as a SMART Reader at Rosland Elementary in La Pine, and directing philanthropy for the Sunriver Women’s Club to address needs in south county.

Carrie is a small business owner who currently runs a national nonprofit supporting school boards around the country, as well as a former educator — from finance, to governance, to innovation in education, these are critical perspectives she brings to our board. As a volunteer, she currently serves on the Bend-La Pine School Board (and will be the longest serving member if re-elected), serves on the boards of several nonprofits, and actively works to support diverse candidates in seeking public office.

Transparency and Integrity.

Marcus, Janet, Shirley and Carrie are actively and transparently engaging with the public, helping them know who they are and what they stand for. Their four opponents didn’t even participate in the basics — not during the endorsement process with The Bulletin or The Source, not in the nonpartisan forum sponsored by the City Club of Central Oregon and the League of Women Voters. They were, however, slated to attend a $32 per person paid event on April 28th held at the Bend Golf Club. And one candidate, Maria Lopez-Dauenhauer has already self-funded over $27K of attack ads and mailers. Public forums and open conversations cost nothing; attack ads with no opportunity to respond require wealth. Our community deserved an honest conversation between candidates about issues — again, I find past performance a strong indicator of future work.

If you want candidates that will show up, be transparent, model integrity and do the work, please join me in voting for Marcus LeGrand, Janet Sarai Llerandi, Shirley Olson, and Carrie McPherson Douglass. They are willing to share their deep experience and demonstrated track record — that is a gift our students, families, and schools deserve.