New member joins Evergreen school board

By Jacques Von Lunen, Columbian staff writer

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The Evergreen school board on Tuesday appointed Julie Bocanegra as its newest member.

The appointment became necessary after former member Troy Thomas resigned for personal reasons in January. State law provides that school boards appoint replacements to serve out the departed member’s term. Bocanegra will hold her seat until the end of 2013. She can run for re-election next year.

The 39-year-old manages two branches of the Columbia Credit Union. She also is a former chair of the Battle Ground Chamber of Commerce, former president of the Evergreen Little League and a lifelong Vancouver resident.

Bocanegra and her husband have a son, Zach, who is a freshman at Heritage High School.

She said her professional management experience has equipped her with leadership qualities. Having been on multiple nonprofit boards before means she understands how boards work, Bocanegra said. She is an alumna of Prairie High School in Battle Ground and a graduate of Clark College.

Bocanegra does not intend to stir things up as the newest director of Evergreen schools.

“The work of the board has been awesome,” she said. “It has had a good direction since the early ’90s.”

Close friends who are parents of Evergreen students urged her to apply for the position, she said. Nobody from within Evergreen schools had been involved in her decision to apply, she said.

After the district in January announced it would accept applications for Thomas’ seat from residents in his boundary, seven people heeded the call, said board President Joan Skelton. Evergreen board members represent the geographic area they live in.

Board members are entitled to $50 per meeting to head the district of nearly 26,000 students. Not all board members claim the small compensation.

Of the seven applicants, four were interviewed in a public meeting two weeks ago. On Tuesday, the current four members voted 3-1 to appoint Bocanegra.

Michael Parsons voted for another candidate Marie LaManna. After the meeting, Bocanegra said she saw no problem working with Parsons despite his preferring another applicant.

“That doesn’t bother me at all,” she said with a big smile.

Working on the Evergreen school board represents the “next level” of community involvement for Bocanegra, after being on other boards in the area, she said. She said she knows a lot of people in the community, and that many come to her for advice.

“I’m the voice of reason,” Bocanegra said.

Jacques Von Lunen: 360-735-4515; jacques.vonlunen@columbian.com;http://www.twitter.com/col_schools.