Election 2019

School Board elections are underway for the West Linn – Wilsonville School District.  Ballots need to be filed by 8:00 pm on May 21st. Please remember to vote.

Positions 2 & 4 are both contested with two candidates running for each position.  WLAIC contacted all the candidates and requested their positions on five issues that are relevant to WLAIC goals and objectives.  Candidates responses are presented as selected quotes in this article, but the full responses from each candidate are on our website.

The two candidates for  Position 2 are Gail McSpadden Greenman and Chelsea King Martin. The candidates for Position 4 are Jordan Ferris and Christy Thompson.

Responses were received from three of the candidates: Jordan Ferris, Gail Greenman and Chelsea King Martin. Complete candidate responses can be seen at:

Issue 1: Please provide your views on the issue of teaching gender orientation and gender identity within the framework of West Linn-Wilsonville curriculum.

Ferris – “I was at the board meeting where this curriculum was voted on and gave testimony in full support of it.”

Greenman – “Understanding, compassion and inclusion in our schools is absolutely necessary. In order to create learning communities for the greatest thinkers and most thoughtful people for the world we must have school communities that embrace all children… I too, provided public testimony at the WLWV school board meeting regarding the adoption of health and wellness curriculum… the school district invited the public into the district office for any parent to review and learn about the curriculum. I took the district up on their invitation. I spent nearly two hours going through the textbooks and lesson plans to…understand where comments and concern were coming from. This is the type of board member I will be. I will spend the time and effort and approach each issue with the same care and compassion. I found the proposed (now adopted) WLWV health and wellness curriculum to not only acceptable, but commendable. I would encourage everyone who has questions about the adopted curriculum to do the same.”

“There is one piece I am most interested in…WLWV participates in a comprehensive statewide Oregon Student Wellness Survey and is given districtwide to 6th, 8thand 11thgraders. While I can see the state and Clackamas County results, the results for WLWV aren’t available to the public. I’m very interested in hearing what our students had to say and hope those results become accessible.” 

King Martin – …”we need to be teaching our students about gender identity and sexual orientation in a comprehensive and inclusive manner.” … “It is in our student’s best interest to learn that there are many ways that a person may relate to their gender…”

Thompson – Did not provide comment.

Issue 2: Please provide a statement concerning your views on equity within our schools, and the critical barriers to equity that you would seek to eliminate as a school board member. 

Ferris- “Equity is at the heart of my campaign and messaging.” … “When looking at racial equity I want to make sure that we do a deep dive into our performance measures and find out why our non-white students are performing differently than our white students.” … “In terms of gender equality, our girls’ sports teams deserve the same treatment as our boys’ sports teams.”… “Socioeconomic equity is another facet I promise to look at. Ideally, I would love to offer free breakfast and lunch to ALL students, regardless of income status. Kids cannot learn when they are hungry.”

Greenman– “All children deserve and are entitled to a quality education, it is also important to recognize that same quality education doesn’t look the same for every child.  We must ask how and why things are occurring for each individual situation. If we don’t ask why something is happening, we can’t begin to find a solution. I have had an outpouring of calls and conversations from parents that I hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting before, parents that I know casually to friends all who have entrusted me with their story of their own child. No two stories have been the same. In some cases, parents have shared that equity for their child is allowing them to be in a special needs classroom environment. In other cases, it was the desire to provide alternative accommodations within a general education classroom environment.”

“My own daughter has classroom accommodations… My husband and I worked with the school and school district to determine what those accommodations should look like.” …. “I too had accommodations as a child…I understand what it is like to feel different. The only sport my doctor would sign off on was swimming… I found peace in the pool. The school waived my PE requirement provided that I participate on the swim team. I have to think that is why even to this day, the pool is my safe place and the place I go to clear my head.”

“No two situations will look the same. We must provide parents the ability to work collaboratively with the school, think outside the box and try different approaches while also empowering our teachers with classroom resources and continuing education.”

King Martin- We know that students from diverse backgrounds are all capable of learning, growing and achieving. What some of our students face is an opportunity gap rather than an achievement gap. We close that opportunity gap by first being aware of the barriers we erect, and then decidedly removing the barriers.”

“There are two barriers that I would work to eradicate during my second term as a school board member. The first is the barrier to family-wage jobs. We know that not all students are on a college track, either due to their interest in academics or their family income, or both. I am interested in expanding opportunities for Career and Technical Education in our district high schools, so that all students can graduate with a diploma AND the skills they need for a family wage job. The second barrier to opportunity is access to professional care, such as mental health and medical professionals. During my second term I hope to create the conditions by which our district could open its first School Based Health Center. Access to medical and mental health professionals will reduce barriers to access, such as transportation and making time to attend an appointment when a student’s parent(s) work full time.”

Thompson – Did not provide comment.

Issue 3: What specific policy changes or additions would you pursue as a school board member to provide clarity to our students on the issue of addressing incidents of bigotry and hate within our schools?

Ferris – “Bigotry and hate have no place in our schools – period. I looked through both of the student handbooks for the high schools and while harassment, violence, and menacing are called out, there is no specific mention of racism, bigotry or “hate” fueled interactions. Neither are these terms in any of the middle school handbooks. That is where I would start.”

“Hate and bigotry could be lumped in with bullying but I absolutely do not think that they should be – hate and bigotry should be called out for what they are and be brought into the light.” 

“Also, let’s get the student body involved. If they are asking for guidelines, policies, and clarity, then let’s give it to them and allow them to be a large part of the process.” 

Greenman– “Knowledge is power and when we educate kids that no two people are alike magic happens. Celebrating our differences and learning from each other is perhaps one of the greatest gifts we have as human beings. My own daughter was on the receiving end of anti-Semitic rhetoric. As a parent of course I was upset, but I also had to place faith in the fact that this was a mistake. Asking for forgiveness and forgiving is a tenant of my Jewish faith…Mistakes are blessings in disguise because this is how we learn.” 

“It is important to remember that bigotry and racism comes in all forms, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical features and the list goes on.  Opportunities for learning are endless and all around us that need to be cherished and embraced.”

“Holocaust and genocide legislation are being discussed at the state legislature right now. We are in our final years of being able to hear first-hand from Holocaust survivors that live close by. Let our kids learn from them, let our kids absorb what they have to say. I have been given the blessing of never not knowing a survivor or the story and it has most definitely shaped the person I am.” 

King Martin– “Our schools are microcosms of our communities. When hate and bigotry exist in our culture, it will exist in our schools. In West Linn-Wilsonville, we are working hard to eliminate this type of behavior, in the classrooms, in our hallways, on our buses, and in our commons. We have curricula to address this and professional learning communities who are unpacking the concepts. We bring in speakers, show films, facilitate conversations and more, in effort to eliminate this type of behavior. We have anonymous tip lines, and anonymous comment boxes. We have student organizations and equity consultants.” 

“It is my hope that in partnership with our communities, our schools can be a place where our students are free from hateful speech and behavior.” 

Thompson – Did not provide comment.

Issue 4: What else can the School Board and District administrators do to address the social problem of racism and bigotry, and build individual character evidenced in how students treat one another?

Ferris – “The board can only enact policy and procedure, I think that empowering the student body to make change, to force change, is where the majority of the momentum for this will come – as it did for the health and wellness curriculum changes.”

Greenman– “A tenant of my candidacy is to establish a student board member to the WLWV Board of Education. What an amazing gift it would be to the community to be able to bring a student board member to our board.” … “As a board we must use our most valuable resource, our community. As a board we must work to provide those kinds of experiences for our students. I know from my own experience our students will carry the gifts we give them today for a lifetime.”

King Martin– “I will advocate that we continue to bring in our parents to do the learning and have the conversations that we want our children to engage with. It will take all of us, in addition to our teachers, students and administrators, to do this deep work.” 

Thompson – Did not provide comment.

Issue 5: Black History Month is not officially observed at the district level and is not visibly recognized or consistently included in curriculum or student activities in West Linn-Wilsonville schools. Would you support a more visible and inclusive recognition of Black History Month district- wide? Please explain your answer with specific reasons. 

Ferris – “I would absolutely support a more visible and inclusive recognition of Black History Month. There is plenty of room in our curriculum for more teaching on Black leaders and influencers. Ultimately, I would like to see an ongoing rotation of the different heritage months – Latino, Black, Women, Asian Pacific – there are so many more cultures and histories than just white. There is so much that we can learn.”

Greenman– “As a parent and community member, I’m embarrassed that Black History Month is not officially observed in our district. As a kid who went to public schools of great diversity, it gave me the opportunity to learn about traditions and customs of all different backgrounds. Black History Month is a time dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments and contributions that African Americans have made to America and the world. It is also a time when everyone should take pause and recognize that this is our history as Americans. As painful as it is, it is more important than ever that we learn from that pain.” 

“Our children are growing up in a time that is more polarized and violent that I have experienced in my lifetime. People of Jewish faith often say “Never Forget” when speaking about the Holocaust.  The same applies to Black History Month. We must never forget. We still have time left to learn from civil rights activists who were on the front lines of some of our darkest moments as a country. We must give our children the chance to learn from the very people who can share their stories first hand.”

“WLWV has a vision theme, “Learning is what we’re all about. We pose a question to ourselves that helps us think about our mission and our goals: How do we create learning communities for the greatest thinkers and most thoughtful people… for the world?” How can we possibly expect our kids to become the greatest thinkers and most thoughtful people if we aren’t willing to recognize and pay homage to such a central, fundamental and important piece of our history?”

King Martin– “I want our students to learn to celebrate the histories of all groups, and understand the unique dynamics that have shaped the stories we pass on. I would support a formal recognition of Black History Month” …  “what I am more interested in than formal recognition of a history month, and what I believe would be more effective at implementing change, is weaving the stories of African-American culture, Latinx culture, Women’s contributions, the Labor Movement, the LGBTQ movement, into our regular conversations. The choice of curricula, the texts we read and the films we show, the speakers we bring in, the music we perform, the art we study… all of these decisions shape whether or not we are honoring the histories of the many groups who contributed to building this strong nation. I do not oppose honoring these month long celebrations, I simply believe that a more effective way to do this work is to continue to integrate the stories and histories of all our communities into our daily studies. We do need distinct recognitions, and we need full integration.”

Thompson – Did not provide comment.

WLAIC is a non-partisan group, we do not endorse any political party or elected candidate, although we advocate for issues that align with our mission, as permitted under law for non-profits.