Brian James Position #1 ( Incumbent )
1) Why are you running for the CSD school board?
After serving our community as a member of the Corbett School District #39 Board for the past eight years, I have experienced firsthand the overwhelmingly positive impact that the Corbett school experience has on our students. My primary goal in running for another term is to continue providing the determined support needed to maintain and grow the exemplary educational program established in Corbett – a program defined by highly exceptional students and teachers. The primary job of the board is to do everything within our power to prepare our children for a future marked by high expectations in a rapidly changing global marketplace. From my first two years serving on the budget committee, to the past eight years on the board, I believe we’ve been able to support the creation of a school environment that has exceeded our expectations. By supporting our teachers and administrators in the development of our current educational system our schools now produce extremely well rounded, critically minded graduates poised for success in whatever direction they seek after leaving Corbett Schools.
2) What impact do you hope to have on the board?
The greatest impact a board member can have is to provide a unique perspective to fellow board members while ensuring that the needs of our students are paramount. I have always endeavored to make a positive impact on the board by doing everything within my power to directly impact the quality of the classroom experience. During my tenure I have remained steadfast in doing everything necessary to give our graduates a head start in meeting their goals. While we have achieved a great deal, we must sustain this momentum by supporting our administration and staff in their efforts to improve process and further engage the many communities that comprise Corbett. We’ve survived one of the most tumultuous years in Oregon’s educational history, all under the calm direction of our new Superintendent, Randy Trani. Unfortunately, he has spent a tremendous majority of his time and resources working to manage our crisis. With much of our budgetary issues in check, we must now work with our Superintendent to support his initiatives to engage our communities at a level that we all seek. Though weighed by trying circumstances, Mr. Trani has made great strides in bringing new policy to bear. Working to create dialogue between the district and our communities, he is currently seeking board support for a new community relations initiative, marked by the launch of an all-new community education program that will provide opportunities for all of Corbett. This comes on the tail of another first for Corbett, when Mr. Trani worked with the board and our community to deliver our first-ever collaborative community information night. This event saw board members, teachers, administrators and community members engaged in constructive dialogue to better understand our budget issues and funding options. Throughout all of this, I have remained committed to supporting this administrative innovation, which has enabled our small district to shine.
3) What new ideas might you bring to the position you are applying for?
Board members work with the district to address new challenges in every meeting. Every year we face a new set of budgetary hurdles, including rising fuel and utility costs, increased insurance fees and PERS costs, aging facilities and more. The District has to continually face the effects of Murphy’s Law, and with each new challenge I bring the unwavering resolve necessary for the board to navigate new challenges. The board has continually shown our ability to help the District accomplish more with less, while maintaining a high quality, structured learning environment. The challenges facing our District and the board are many and through my tenure I have maintained my commitment to supporting the quality we see in our classrooms today. Each day you encounter new challenges as a board member, you must work hard to discover new and innovative ways to meet these challenges. New ideas for new problems come in many forms, from many places. In addition to adding my own proposals, I also maintain committed to considering insightful suggestions from my neighbors as well. A strong board member encourages and cultivates these ideas in a way that benefit us all.
4) What are the strengths you have to bring to this position?
I believe my greatest contribution to the board has been my commitment to honesty and integrity in seeking the best path to supporting our schools. One of the top reasons that our children have found success in Corbett is the quality and commitment of our teachers. My desire to build strong, meaningful relationships with the faculty and staff at our schools has helped provide the insight and perspective needed when tough decisions have to be made. Unfortunately, these relationships are sometimes tested due to the powerful circumstances that the board must navigate. I’ve been a part of cuts that have impacted my friends directly, and these have not been easy cuts to bear. Part of being a valuable board member is to value and respect your relationships while still maintaining a keen eye on the prize: providing the best possible education for our children.
5) Closing Statement
My wife and I have called Corbett home for more than 12 years, shepherding three of our six children through graduation from Corbett Schools. The remaining three —a senior (class of 2011), freshman (class of 2014) and a sixth grader (class of 2017)—benefit every day from the choices that our community makes together, in support of our schools. I have served our schools and community with dedication and commitment for ten years, working two years as a member of the budget committee prior to being elected to the board. Our children have been given an unprecedented opportunity to attend one of the most highly successful schools in our nation; this success is measured by the trajectory of our graduates, who continue to climb to heights this district never knew. If you ever question the policies and practices of our schools, simply look to our graduates to see what is possible. From playgrounds where our children can run, swing, play basketball, ride their bikes and skateboards; to a veteran’s memorial stadium facing a postcard background, our schools are the hub of our community. On clear summer nights you can lie on the field and watch meteor showers, and from Sunday through Saturday you can usually find the bustle of community groups meeting in the buildings. The school is our community and my record on the board has displayed my commitment to both our students and their families, for the betterment of all. For continued support for all that is the foundation of our community, please vote for Brian James to the Corbett School District #39 Board, Director, Position #1.
Each candidate has been invited to participate and share their personal statements and answers to five questions. If you would like to see the list of candidates invited to participate and that are running for the CSD schoool board, please select here.