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Election 2013: Two hopefuls step up to fill vacant School Board seat

Susan Greenberg and Jay Bengel faceoff in Zone 1 race


The Beaverton Valley Times asked local School Board candidates to complete a survey to help the community to learn more about them and their education perspectives.

The candidates responses have been edited for length and style. We hope this information helps you cast your vote in the May 21 election.

Zone 1

Candidate: Susan Greenberg

Age: 50by: TIMES PHOTO - Susan Greenberg

Family: She and her husband David Greenberg have two children, Seth, 16, and Zoe, 10.

Job and education background: She earned a bachelor's degree in public administration from Indiana University. She serves as a fundraiser for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Neighborhood she lives in: Garden Home

Length of time living within the school district: 12 ½ years

School involvement and community service experience: Beaverton School District Budget Committee 2012-13 vice-chairperson; Beaverton School District Budget Committee 2011-2012; International School of Beaverton — volunteer coordinator, president of Parent Organization 2009-present; Beaverton Chapter Leader Stand for Children; Congregation Neveh Shalom — board member; Montclair Elementary — PTO vice presdient, PTO president, volunteer coordinator 2004-2009; and Journeys of the Heart Adoption Agency — board president.

What skills, knowledge and experiences do you bring to the School Board? I have always been civic minded, and for 10 years have been particularly involved in my children’s school in leadership positions with parent organizations at Montclair Elementary School and the International of Beaverton. I am currently president of ISB’s parent organization. I have also taken volunteer leadership positions with the Beaverton School District. I am currently on the school district’s Budget Committee as vice-chair, and was on the levy committee for the 2011 levy on the November ballot. I have also been on the leadership committee for Stand for Children – Beaverton Chapter.

Why are you running? I am running because I care deeply about the students, and am concerned about the state of education in Oregon. There are too many children at risk of failure, and we have to catch those kids before it is too late. So many resources have been cut that are critical for our children to succeed. We need to find the resources to bring counselors, music, art, technology classes into the schools. Good education is about more than money, and we need leaders who understand that as well.

How should the school district prioritize spending? First we must focus on smaller class sizes. When more funding is available, focus on restoring the specials in the elementary schools, and returning counselors to the schools. At the middle school and high school level, make more electives available to the students. Too many students do not have access, and they need the resources.

What school issue have you tackled at a school building or district level? Have you worked to resolve or address a concern within the Beaverton School District? I was part of the Beaverton Stand for Childfren leaders who worked with Superintendent Jeff Rose and Human Resources Director Sue Robertson on the transfer issue in the Beaverton School District this year. Dr. Rose owned that there were mistakes made, and worked out a process with the union so that there will not be another year where teachers are transferred into classes where they do not have the expertise to teach. In addition, I have actively advocated for more funding through elections and with state legislators.

What’s one issue the School Board tackled that you wish had turned out differently? What went wrong? In the 2010-11 budget process, I felt the School Board should have been more proactive about the cuts to the budget. There were more drastic cuts made in the 2012-13 budget because they had pushed the cuts down the road.

What is an initiative you feel turned out well, and what made it work? The School Board has enhanced the Community Engagement Commitees, and there has been more community invlovement with the board and administration. Although it is a work in progress, there is an opportunity for more engagement from the community.

The school district faces a number of looming issues. What should it deal with now, and how? Which should be priorities for later? Immediate priorities: Reducing class size, increasing school days, adding counselors to high schools and improving displacement(bumping) practices. Priorities for later: Adding programs back and more enrichment for our students.

What should voters know about you? I am not just a talker — I’m a doer. If I make a commitment, it is done. I am a very passionate person who cares very deeply for our schools, students, parents, teachers and administration.

How do you plan to encourage citizen involvement/engagement within the district? I plan on being accessible with town halls every other month at a local restaurant. I will be accessible via email and cellphone. I will respond to citizens who contact me with concerns.

What distinguishes you from your opponent? Experience! I have been consistently active for over nine years at most every volunteer level. In the classroom as a volunteer, as a three time PTO president at Montclair Elementary and the International School of Beaverton, with Stand for Children lobbying the Legislature for funding for our schools, and as a member of the Budget Committee. I see the big picture, and I understand how to work together to get things done.

What is your leadership style, and how will you work with the superintendent, other members of the board and district staff? I am a bridge builder and have a proven track record of building concensus. I am a good listener, but not afraid to give my opinion.

Candidate: Jay Bengel

Age: 53by: TIMES PHOTO - Jay Bengel

Family: Married with a daughter at the University of Oregon and a son in the Beaverton School District.

Job and education background: Logistics specialist for Pacific Coast Fruit Company. Attended Pacific University.

Neighborhood he lives in: Raleigh Hills

Length of time living within the school district: 29 years

School involvement and community service experience: Classroom volunteer at Montclair Elementary, Whitford Middle School and Beaverton High School. Co-director of the One More Time Around Again Marching Band for the Portland Rose Festival (1999- 2011); board president/Finance Committee OMTAAMB 501c3; Honorary Royal Rosarian; and West Hills Soccer coach for boys and girls.

What skills, knowledge and experiences do you bring to the School Board? 20 years experience in Portland Public Schools, and significant leadership experience as a community band director and volunteer.

Why are you running? I would like to use the skills I have learned as a volunteer leader to bring a student-centered decision-making focus to the board and district. If we are to succeed in improving our schools, we must have leadership that will work collaboratively with our community to meet the needs of our children and youth.

How should the school district prioritize spending? The classroom and what has direct impact on students.

What school issue have you tackled at a school building or district level? Have you worked to resolve or address a concern within the Beaverton School District? I have worked to address anti-bullying at the school level; as well as helped to bring attention to the benefits of music education for all students in the district.

What’s one issue the School Board tackled that you wish had turned out differently? What went wrong? The budget decisions for this school year and the resulting teacher layoffs. The instability has hurt students and has resulted in teachers being placed in subject areas or levels that they are not prepared to teach. Both the public and teachers wanted more furlough days rather than the chaos that resulted from the layoffs and resulting teacher transfers.

What is an initiative you feel turned out well, and what made it work? Early College High School Program has been very successful. It met a student need.

The school district faces a number of looming issues. What should it deal with now, and how? Which should be priorities for later? Class size needs to be addressed and a plan to create stability for students needs to happen now. Working with the Legislature and our community to establish stable and adequate funding will need to be ongoing work. New district initiatives that do not address class size or bring stability need to be put on hold.

What should voters know about you? I am an excellent listener, am honest and treat people respectfully. My decision-making process is fact-based.

How do you plan to encourage citizen involvement/engagement within the district? By being personally available to meet with individuals and groups; and by involvement with individual school communities (e.g. PTOs).

What distinguishes you from your opponent? I have significant, relevant work-related experience, proven managerial and leadership skills.

What is your leadership style, and how will you work with the superintendent, other members of the board and district staff? I have a collaborative leadership style. I will listen respectfully and work cooperatively with the other members of the board and district.




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