Editorial: Douglass, LeGrand, Olson and Llerandi for Bend Schools | Notice
Editor’s Note: The title of the online version of this editorial has been corrected to correctly spell Janet Sarai Llerandi’s name.
Let’s be clear from the start who you should vote for Bend Schools: Carrie McPherson Douglass, Marcus LeGrand, Shirley Olson and Janet Sarai Llerandi.
The League of Women Voters held a debate. McPherson Douglass, LeGrand, Olson and Llerandi were in attendance. Their opponents did not.
The Bulletin’s editorial board attempted to interview all applicants for Bend-La Pine schools. We had no trouble interviewing McPherson Douglass, LeGrand, Olson and Llerandi. The other four did not respond or respond, then did nothing.
Bulletin reporting staff attempted to interview all candidates. McPherson Douglass, LeGrand, Olson and Llerandi all responded. Maria Lopez-Dauenhauer, who races against Douglass, and Wendy Imel, who races against Marcus LeGrand, also responded. Gregg Henton and Jon Haffner didn’t.
Note that a candidate on the ballot declared to have withdrawn from the race, Cab Burge.
Why were Lopez-Dauenhauer, Imel, Henton and Haffner less committed than others to making themselves available to voters? We can speculate, even if we don’t know
We can tell you what this means for voters. Voters do not know enough about who they are and what they stand for. In the school board, you have to listen to your voters. You have to make yourself available to the voters. They showed that they weren’t as interested in it. Does that mean that if they are elected they will not engage with the voters? No, but you have four great choices that have been opened up on who they are and what they stand for.
McPherson Douglass is an incumbent. On a board with a lot of turnover, this is important. It is far from being his only qualification. She works with school boards across the country to improve them. She was born and raised here which helps. She understands business and finance. Douglass has worked hard to reopen schools and keep children and school staff safe. It required working together, not diktat. And she is committed to ensuring that the district serves all students well.
LeGrand is black and has worked for the past 11 years helping students from a counselor’s perspective, building relationships and helping them overcome obstacles. He is a career and college success coach at Central Oregon Community College, and a board member of The Father’s Group, a Bend nonprofit primarily run by black fathers. He is ideally placed to know what makes a student ready for college and / or other advanced training and how to work with students who may fall through the cracks.
Olson spent her career in education – 38 years as an administrator and school counselor. She said that one thing her experience has taught her is that school board members will not necessarily have the answers. They have to ask the right questions. They have to listen to the community. She is very concerned about the learning loss students have suffered during the pandemic and wants to work with the district to overcome this.
Llerandi is Latino and works as an administrator for two local education organizations, Better Together and the Early Learning Hub in central Oregon. She is also the Executive Director of Mecca Bend, a Latin American-focused nonprofit. Llerandi is the parent of two Latino students who face many challenges that other Latino students face. She said there was no foolproof way for the district to make sure it served all the students. She would work to make sure that was the case.
McPherson Douglass, LeGrand, Olson and Llerandi for Bend-La Pine Schools.
And to sum up other approvals in some local races, we have already approved:
- Martha Lawler for Deschutes Public Library Board.
- Nathan Hovekamp, Zavier Borja and Deb Schoen for the Bend Park & Recreation District Board of Directors.
Whatever you decide, please vote.