Two candidates will advance from Aug. 6 primary to the general election in November
VANCOUVER — Precious few days remain before the Aug. 6 primary election. Ballots were mailed out to voters on July 19 and they need to be turned in by 8 p.m. on election day.
In individual races with more than two candidates, voters will narrow the field down to two candidates who will advance to the November general election. In the races for the three vacant positions on the Vancouver School District’s Board of Directors, four candidates have filed in each race.
In the race for Position 5, the battle is between Tracie Barrows, Scott Dalesandro, Jennifer Hawks-Conright and Chris Lewis. Here’s a brief look (in alphabetical order) at the candidates’ profiles offered in the voters’ pamphlet:
Barrows has 12 years experience as a school psychologist, currently in the Evergreen School District. She also has experience in school-based behavioral health and as a paraeducator in special education. Barrows also served as a trainer for Nonviolent Crisis Intervention courses and has been a small business owner.
She earned a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology and Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Her community service has been as a school volunteer, in children’s ministry at church, as a volunteer for children in foster care, community outreach for early learning resources, staff for summer youth camp, volunteer teacher for English courses overseas, and has led a counseling seminar an orphanage/school in Africa.
“As a school psychologist and wife of a teacher, I know firsthand the opportunities and challenges that teachers face in providing academic learning, while also meeting the increased emotional and basic needs of our students,’’ Barrows said in her statement. “Our schools are tasked with equipping our students with the resources and skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century. My job every day is to support students, families, and teachers in these efforts, and that is exactly what I promise to do on the school board.
“VPS has shown success with their Family Community Resource Centers, increased counselor support, and other initiatives for supportive schools,’’ Barrows added. “I want to continue to advance this mission by making sure that the comprehensive needs of our students are being met.
“By prioritizing our budget appropriately, we can ensure our classrooms are safe places of learning and academic growth,’’ Barrows said. “My expertise and experience working in schools gives me the necessary insight to set policies, identify priorities, and best determine how our tax dollars should be spent to meet the diverse needs of all of our children.’’
For over 40 years, Dalesandro has held management positions working for Boise Cascade, International Paper, James River, CSX and most recently as general manager for Columbia River Logistics.
He earned a degree in Business from The Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor in Business Administration from Robert Morris College in Pittsburgh, majoring in Accounting and Transportation. He has also served as a member of the Clark County Railroad Advisory Committee (2011-2016).
“I have lived in Clark County for the past 15 years and for the past six months I have been a regular attendee at the school board meetings trying to figure out why my property taxes have increased so much,’’ Dalesandro said in his statement. “I learned little from those meetings about taxes but what I saw excited me.
“I saw the next generation of our society, eager, full of ambition and a caring group of young people,’’ Dalesandro said. “Where did they get this enthusiasm? From their parents, of course, but the teachers, councilors and administrations played a huge part by giving them some of the best tools available.
“How can we continue to provide this high level of education when people’s paychecks are being stretched every which way but loose?’’ Dalesandro asked. “We need to get very creative in how we spend our dollars and must continue to push our legislators to do their job and fully fund education. I have for many years been very successful, creative and diligent in my budget and management decisions, both unions and management have been happy with my results.’’
Hawks-Conright has served two terms secretary/treasurer of Harney Heights Neighborhood Association. She also served as a compliance officer for the Australian government during their co-deployment with the Netherlands to Afghanistan; as an adjunct professor at Central Washington University; instructor at Clark College; and 10 years in nonprofit development.
She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology at Portland State University; a Master of Arts degree in International Relations at Webster University; and a Master of Law degree in International Law at Leiden University.
She has been a member of Leadership Clark County, Class of 2018; former commissioner on Solid Waste Advisory Commission; former Chair of Legislative Subcommittee (SWAC); and a member of the Nonprofit Network of SW Washington.
“It is with the greatest of understanding and appreciation for all of our students with varying backgrounds, abilities, and needs that have made me determined to adhere to our state’s funding increase for special education, and to hold those opposed accountable,’’ Hawks-Conright said. “In order to create a budget that has minimal impacts on programming and ensuring our students have the tools to succeed in the competitive job market and higher education, I will start looking for sustainable revenue alternatives.
“I would like to see our school district incorporate renewable energy with all facilities so that they sustain themselves, as has been successful in San Francisco, saving the school district millions of dollars that could be focused on more programming and increased employment,’’ she said. “I also believe it to be paramount that both our students and staff are in a holistically safe and inclusive environment that may foster the best opportunities to excel. With these principles at the forefront of my decision making process, I believe that full transparency and public engagement are key to making the changes that are necessary to make students first.’’
Lewis has been a Certified Public Accountant for 16 years and he is currently owner of Lewis Group CPAs. He is a graduate of Battle Ground High School and has a degree from Washington State University in Accounting and Finance.
Lewis has been a Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools board member and finance committee member; a WSU Vancouver Business Growth mentor; a Ridgefield High School volunteer in Business and Marketing classes; a Hazel Dell Little League baseball coach and treasurer for 5 years; Salmon Creek Little League softball coach; Lake Shore Elementary PTA member and a parent volunteer.
“If elected, I will bring the same passion to this position, as I have in my life as husband, father, and business owner,’’ Lewis said in his statement. “All three of my children are students in the Vancouver Public Schools; I am a true stakeholder. I am also a business owner and CPA with 16-plus years of experience working with budgets and finances. I will apply my experience in helping to develop a transparent budget that works for the community, the staff, and most importantly, the students.
“I want what is best for all students and believe that we need to continue to attract and retain the best teachers and staff we can find as they are working hard to make this an award-winning school district,’’ Lewis said. “VPS has a high degree of variability in socioeconomic status between individual schools. This can, and should, be utilized to provide outstanding opportunities for lower income students in our district. Lastly, we must insure all taxpayers in VPS, whether or not they have children in the district, receive an excellent return on investment.’’
CVTV coverage of League of Women Voters Candidate Forum
Here’s a link to CVTV’s coverage of a League of Women Voters Candidate Forum held on July 16 with candidates vying for positions on the Vancouver Public Schools Board of Directors: