Voters will be electing at least two new members to the Hillsboro School Board this year, and they have plenty to pick from.
After last week's filing deadline, nearly a dozen people have thrown their hats into the ring, hoping to fill four open seats on the Hillsboro School Board.
It's the most candidates to run for the school board in a decade, with 11 candidates filing to run for seats on the board.
Candidates run for particular seats on the board. Two sitting school board members are not seeking re-election. Janeen Sollman, the longest service active board member, has said she wouldn't seek a third term after she was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives. Three candidates have filed to fill her seat. Outgoing-board member Erik Seligman's seat will be decided in a four-way race.
One of the candidates running for Seligman's seat is Hillsboro resident Brian Lyles.
Lyles is a supply chain principal at HCL America, tasked with helping companies become more efficient in their work. He said he has seen ways to help teachers and students succeed.
"Looking at what I do for a living, how can I apply some of my knowledge to education and come up with a way to enable and help the education of our youth?" Lyles said. "Education is the most important thing for the future of our society. If I can do something to help make that better, that's time better spent."
Lyles filed to run on March 16, the deadline to file for the May election. Lyles said he had never thought about running for elected office before, but said he was compelled to run after finding several areas that the district could be more efficient.
Who is running for Hillsboro School Board?
Glenn D. Miller (incumbent)
Monte Akers (incumbent)
Lyles said he'd like to focus on raising the district's graduation rate through a series of smaller projects, such as sending parents email or text notifications when students miss assignments or skip class. He said he'd like to find out where teachers struggle the most and find ways to help them to make classroom time more efficient, and said that school counselors should have programs in place that help notify them when students need help.
"There is a 400-to-1 counselor ratio in the district," Lyles said. "If I'm a counselor and I have to tackle all these kids by myself, that's a very large job."
Lyles said he'd never thought about running for school board before, but came to the idea after working with Hillsboro High School to ensure that student athletes were focusing more on their studies than football.
"If we're going to impress on that this is important, than we have to make it important," Lyles said.
Lyles is the former president of the Hilhi Youth Football Association and helped coach football at the school. Hilhi has been rocked by a controversial decision to pull head football and wrestling coach Adam Reese from his coaching responsibilities after Reese allegedly had an altercation with a student. Reese remains a teacher at the school.
Reese's supporters have attended several school board meetings in an attempt to get the coach re-instated. Lyles' three sons all played football at Hillsboro High School under Reese, but he said he doesn't have enough information on Reese's situation, or the district's investigation, to weigh in on the matter.
He said he hopes the issues is resolved before the new school board is sworn in this summer.
"If you look at the timeline, this should be resolved long before I ever get elected, if I do get elected," he said. "…If I thought I could do something about it, I'd have done something long before now."
The last time 11 candidates ran for the school board was 2007. In that race, six candidates fought over a seat to replace outgoing school board member Monica Cordrey. That seat was eventually won by Beth Graser, who left the school board two years later to become the district's spokeswoman.
By Geoff Pursinger
Associate Editor, Hillsboro Tribune
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