Two seek lone open Ridgefield school position

Board will be hiring new superintendent, among other tasks

By Tom Vogt, Columbian science, military & history reporter

Published:

 
photoBecky Greenwald

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photoChuck Green

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Ridgefield School District board candidates

BECKY GREENWALD

• Age: 38.

• Occupation: Owner and chief financial officer, Creekside Mortgage.

• Campaign funds raised: None.

• Major endorsements: School board members Scott Gullickson and Steve Radosevich.

Website

CHUCK GREEN

• Age: 54.

• Occupation: C-Tran bus rapid transit project manager.

• Campaign funds raised: $400.

• Major endorsements: Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt; Candy Bonneville, 18th Legislative District chairwoman for the local chapter of the Democratic party.

Website

Ridgefield School Board

• Term: Four years.

• Number of school board members: Five.

• Number of contested board positions: One; one candidate is running uncontested.

• What school board members do: They set the policies and hire the superintendent, who reports directly to the board.

• Compensation: Board members may receive compensation of up to $50 per day for attending board meetings and for performing other services on behalf of the school district, not to exceed $4,800 per year.

Ridgefield's new school director will get to weigh in on one of the biggest choices a board can make picking a new school superintendent.

Chuck Green and Becky Greenwald are running for the open spot in District 4, the only contested Ridgefield school board race. Julie Olson, currently the board president, is not running for another term.

Earlier this month, Superintendent Art Edgerly announced his resignation, effective at the end of the school year. Edgerly has been superintendent since 2007.

It shapes up as an attractive job, Greenwald said, and the district is "looking forward to getting many, many candidates."

Green said that the district needs to "understand the lessons learned by Battle Ground," which recently spent $400,000 to buy out the contract of its superintendent.

Incumbent Jeff Vigue is running unopposed in District 1.

Nobody filed for the District 4 position through the regular filing period, prompting a special three-day filing period. That's what brought Green into the race, he said.

"I made a decision several years ago," Green said. "If there ever was an important position nobody had filed for, I'd put my hat in the ring. Julie didn't file, and nobody else filed during filing week. Two hours later, it was Green vs. Greenwald."

Greenwald said her reasons for running include her family's long-term relationship with Ridgefield schools.

"I have four kids who are or will be in Ridgefield schools," Greenwald said. "My kids are 12, 9, 6 and 3. I'll be completely invested for years to come. I want to bring a mom's perspective."

Olson is the only woman on the current board.

"I just think a mom's perspective is important," Greenwald said.

While selecting a superintendent is the biggest item on the board's to-do list, it's not the only element in what Green calls "a landmark year for the school district." Contracts with a couple of employee groups will be up for renewal, with a new contract with the district's teachers coming up in 2015, Green said.

Common Core standards will be implemented by the state by the 2014-15 school year, "And we will need to work with that," Green said.

Greenwald said she is excited about a chance to help the district continue its momentum.

"We've made incredible progress," she said, including scores in the state's High School Proficiency Exam that were the best in the district's history.

Relationships

Greenwald also wants to make sure the district's 2,200 or so students have the learning technology they need. And, she is an advocate of more career and technical education.

"Not everybody is going to college — especially with the cost of college," she said. "There are plenty of opportunities that allow our students to succeed."

With their different backgrounds, each candidate can bring different strengths and relationships to the board.

Greenwald said she's been an involved parent and Ridgefield school volunteer for eight years.

"I've worked with students, teachers, parents and administrators," she said. "As a room mom, I've spent countless hours in school."

That volunteer service also has provided an inside look at district schools, Greenwald said: "In the classroom, you hear teachers talking about things."

Green said he's lived in the Ridgefield community for about 1.5 years, but he worked there for almost 10 years before joining C-Tran, the countywide public transit agency.

As a transportation consultant, Green took part in some major city projects. With his relationships with the county, the city and the Port of Ridgefield, "We can move forward so much better," he said.