Currently, the Corvallis School District Board is set to make facility decisions that will impact the community for decades—which means 509j will need leadership with a track record of building constructive relationships with parents during public process. Our view is the current field of candidates offers excellent choices for the moment the District finds itself in.
A caveat, fairly or not, among the advantages incumbents have when seeking reelection is the depth of knowledge they gain grappling with issues hands-on during their past tenure—minus major calls for a directional shift, nuts and bolts experience carries some weight. With some notable exceptions, we believe the District has been generally well-governed up to this point.
Position 1: Sami Al-AbdRabbuh (pictured)
Choosing Sami Al-AbdRabbuh seems like a no-brainer. He is already serving as the incumbent, having been appointed to a midterm vacancy—we think for good cause. Al-AbdRabbuh’s community involvement experience spans multiple boards and committees. He is widely respected as a deep-thinking, hardworking leader that seeks to include diverse views in decision making. He is passionate about art in elementary schools and dual language immersion programs. Competitor Al Hutchinson, while admirably community-involved, does not have Al-AbdRabbuh’s level of experience or readiness to lead. Competitor Brandy Barrnett is not actively campaigning.
Position 4: Vincent Adams
For Position 4 we are backing Vincent Adams. Call this another quite clear choice as Adams is the only elected member of the board running for re-election. An educator through the Oregon State University Extension Service, Adams is already well-versed in the upcoming facilities work the district will be doing over the next year and considers this one of his main priorities. We think he’s done a swell job up until this point, and think he is a better fit for the position than his less experienced opponent, Michael DeSalvo.
Position 5: Jay Conroy
Both Jay Conroy and Terese Jones are solid, qualified, and articulate candidates that are focused on equality for all students throughout the 509J district. This was a reluctant and tough call to make, but Conroy has an outstanding record of educational experience that cannot be taken lightly. Conroy’s experience includes being a high school teacher for 10 years, and a school administrator at various schools for a combined total of 18 years. He knows how schools operate at the most basic level and is aware of what needs to happen to bring about changes within the district as a whole.
Position 6: Ed Junkins
Ed Junkins’ dazzling resume makes him the frontrunner for Position 6. Junkins is a pediatrician, and the dean of academic affairs at Western University of Health Sciences’ Lebanon, and has held a school board position at another area in the past. Add the bonus past-held position of Dean of Diversity and Inclusion (making him an expert in teaching cultural competence to a broad spectrum of audiences), and you have a valuable talent the school district could definitely put to use. His opponents Carlos Lopez and Andy Roberts are stand-up candidates on their own, but neither of them have quite the experiences and qualifications that Junkins demonstrates.
Position 7: Gerry Kosanovic
With ties as deep in the district as Gerry Kosanovic has, it is hard to even consider another candidate. With five of the seven seats open, it will be important to consider someone that has experience in the public sector as well as previous school board experience. Kosanovic boasts 14 years of uninterrupted administrative experience with Corvallis Schools, which provides context and an understanding on an institutional level that can be beneficial to making board decisions. Sarah Finger McDonald has some excellent experience and would be an ideal choice if not for her more qualified opponent. Her heart is decidedly in the right place, so if you want to vote for her—please go right on ahead and do so.
Kenneth RunningCrane-Real, who is also on the ballet for Position 6, has passed away.