CAMAS — Four candidates are vying for election to the District 3 and District 5 positions on the Washougal School District Board of Directors.
Sadie McKenzie, a stay-at-home mother and school volunteer, is challenging incumbent Donna Sinclair for the District 3 director position.
Sinclair, a board member since 2017, is a history professor at Washington State University Vancouver and Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Ore.
“I am running for a second term on the school board because I am passionate about public education,” she told the Post-Record. “I know how important public schools are because of my own background. I attended 12 different schools and was a first-generation college student at Clark College, Washington State University and Portland State University. I earned degrees while working and as a single parent of three, educational and personal experiences that prepared me to serve my community and on Washougal’s school board. I have advocated for students on multiple levels, from the legislature to special education, and I’m not done yet.”
Sinclair has written for the National Park Service, ran the Oregon Historical Society Oral History Program, managed major oral history projects throughout the Pacific Northwest and presented dozens of community-based and academic oral history workshops.
She has also curated exhibits for the Clark County Historical Museum and co-authored the memoir “Black Woman in Green: Gloria Brown and the Unmarked Trail to Forest Service Leadership.” She has a bachelor of science degree in social sciences from WSUV; a master’s degree in history from Portland State University; and a doctor of philosophy degree in urban studies from PSU.
“I ran for the board in 2017 because I had to go outside the system at significant cost to identify my grandchild’s dyslexia,” she said. “Not everyone has that option, and a child’s success in life should not depend on whether they have enough money to learn to read well or take the right test. That is why I am committed to educational equity. I have the passion, background, and experience to navigate the system and advocate for every single child in our district, including theirs.”
Sinclair said that “keeping kids in school five days a week and maintaining focus on their success should be our top priority as a district and a community,” work that entails “protecting students, staff, and community health through safety measures and protocols, despite the discomfort, as well as ensuring students receive much needed academic and mental health supports.”
McKenzie serves as the board secretary for Columbia River Gorge Elementary School and board member for East County Little League. Previously she worked as a dental assistant executive secretary. She graduated from Concorde Career College in Portland with accreditation from the American Dental Association.
McKenzie didn’t return an email from the Post-Record seeking comment. She wrote in the voters’ pamphlet that she’s running for the position “to improve student outcomes and provide better communication between the district and families.”
“I’ll make certain that parents’ voices are heard and that our rights as parents are never overlooked, ensuring they know when school board meetings are scheduled and what’s on the agenda,” she wrote. “Ever since the pandemic started, impactful decisions were made behind closed doors without parental input; that’s wrong. Parents deserve to be heard with a seat at the table. … As responsible citizens and parents, we must remove politics from our classrooms. Schools must get back to basics — teaching kids how to think, not what to think, so they have a great start at succeeding in life.”
Janice D’Aloia, the owner of a health coaching practice, is challenging incumbent Chuck Carpenter for his Washougal School District No. 5 board position.
Washougal School Board members appointed Carpenter to the board in 2020. He is retired from his work as a school superintendent, principal, and human resources director, corporate executive and attorney.
“I am running for the same reason I volunteer at Hathaway Elementary School every day — I believe in each of us doing what we can to help today’s children grow up to be happy and successful,” he said. “I also enjoy working with such an outstanding board and administration.”
He has a bachelor‘s degree from the University of Washington, a master’s degree from Seattle University and a juris doctor degree from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland. He is a member of the Washougal Business Association, Washougal Arts and Culture Alliance, and Columbia River Arts and Culture Foundation.
Carpenter approves of the district’s COVID-19 safety mandates and equity policy, two topics that have elicited strong pushback from some local residents. He also said the district must work to address its declining enrollment, “which could lead to loss of funding and curtailment of programs or loss of staff.”
“As one-fifth of the group that establishes policy for the Washougal School District, I will continue to be as objective, nonpartisan and responsive as possible,” he said. “I will continue to support our excellent staff, and listen to and represent our community to the best of my ability.”
D’Aloia owns and operates Health, Well Run, a health coaching practice, and serves as the executive director of Oracle Human Capital Management Users Group, a nonprofit organization that offers training sessions for Oracle products. She previously provided consulting and professional services for multiple corporations.
She graduated from California State University in Northridge, Calif., with a bachelor‘s degree in economics.
She has served as a board member for the Gauge Elementary Boosters and classroom volunteer at Gause Elementary School and Cape Horn-Skye Elementary Schools.
D’Aloia didn’t respond to an email from the Post-Record seeking comment. She wrote in the voters’ pamphlet that she’s running for the position “to make a difference for (the) kids.”
“I have a great deal of passion and motivation to create an effective and positive learning environment for all our students. It’s critical that a plan be put in place to close the gap in education that was created when our schools were closed,” she wrote. “If we continue the current path, many of our children will continue to struggle and be left behind. Priority must be placed on providing an exceptional education for students of all levels and capabilities from high achievers to those who have special needs rather than on including controversial critical race theory or political subject matter.”
Ballots must be mailed by Election Day, delivered to the Clark County Elections Office, 1408 Franklin St., Vancouver, by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 2 (Election Day) or dropped into one of the 22 red, permanent ballot drop boxes throughout the county by 8 p.m. Nov. 2.
People who wish to register to vote and receive a ballot must register in-person at the county elections office in Vancouver, also by 8 p.m. on Election Day.