Three seats on the Springfield School Board are up for election on May 21. All are contested. Laurie Adams and Todd Mann are running for Position 1; Naomi Raven and Jessica Adams are running for Position 4; and Michelle R. Webber and Karen Hunter are running for Position 5. City Club has invited all candidates to come to the May 2 meeting and explain their views and how they will continue to improve Springfield Schools. City Club hosted a candidate forum on May 2.
The audio of the forum is available on the Springfield City Club Facebook page. Her we include profiles of each of the candidates.
Professionally, Laurie has been a realtor and an insurance agent for more than 30 years. She previously served on the Springfield Board of Education from 1985 to 1997. Laurie was re-appointed on July 15, 2002, and elected to that position in the spring of 2003. Her current term runs through June 30, 2019. Laurie is passionate about kids, especially her granddaughters, and she loves Springfield.
Todd Mann was born and raised in Springfield, Oregon. Like many children in Springfield, Todd was challenged at home with many hardships including the loss of a brother, the incarceration of his father, and the resulting lack of financial resources. In this time of need, the Springfield community, his teachers, his coaches, and his friends, stepped-up and helped his family to overcome this adversity.
Naomi was appointed to the school board in August 2018. She and her husband have lived in Springfield for 10 years and have four children in Springfield schools. Her roots in education are deep – as a licensed teacher whose parents were both educators, she cares deeply about helping every child succeed. She has taught at multiple levels, including substituting in Springfield, and has volunteered on a number of committees at both at the school and district levels. As a teacher, she is especially interested in providing meaningful, hands-on learning experiences for students, and in the design of special education programs. She is committed to fully understanding the needs of the district, and to ensuring that all students are valued and respected. She hopes to help encourage families to become active participants in their children’s education.
Jessica also wants to take her boots-on-the-ground experience from volunteering in the district to a position on the board.
“Being in the schools as much as I am and working with the faculty and the students, you have conversations that I think a lot of people don’t normally hear,” Adams said. “You get information, concerns and issues in a casual setting, as opposed to other things that you can bring to the board that you can address.”
She raised concerns about overcrowded classrooms and advocated for action at the district and state levels. She also said that she wants every district school to have at least one counselor at all times. Her biggest asset to the board, Adams said, is her ability to “bridge the gap” with her volunteering experience.
She also advocated supporting CTE, citing her husband’s decision to become an electrician at 25. She is in her second year as the vice president of the Springfield High School Booster Board and has two kids in the district.
Michelle was appointed to the school board in June 2018. The parent of a Springfield High graduate, Michelle has been volunteering with the district for years. Michelle is especially interested in increasing student engagement and encouraging parents to work collaboratively with their students to ensure both student safety and success. She believes strongly in supporting families so that every student is ready to learn, and in providing personalized learning opportunities for students. With a long career in banking, Michelle is currently an assistant vice president at Columbia Bank.
I have lived in Springfield for 45 years and my husband and I have four children attending Springfield Public Schools. For 10 years I have been spending several hours a week volunteering with students and building relationships with kids and teachers.
My children are in high school, middle school, and elementary school. Having kids in all levels of our schools, in addition to my volunteer service, has given me first hand knowledge and understanding of the challenges facing kinds and teachers. I strongly believe that we need school board members who are in the trenches, actively helping inside our schools and committed to understanding those we serve.