The Corvallis School Board narrowed the field of candidates for an open board seat from 14 to five during its Thursday meeting.
Based on a tally count, the board chose Dan Dowhower, Deb Mott, Sadie Slocum, Shauna Tominey and Luhui Whitebear from a batch of applications to replace former board member Brandy Fortson, who resigned their position in November.
The board is expected to conduct interviews and select a new board member during its meeting scheduled for next Thursday.
A look at the candidates:
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• Dan Dowhower holds a doctorate and master's in public health and a master's of science in industrial/organizational psychology. In his application, he said his training allowed him to work within the systems to improve a community's mental, physical and social well-being. One of his children is a Corvallis High School graduate and another is currently in the district. Dowhower wrote that his family has learned to navigate the Corvallis school system and that he has been involved in academia his entire career.
• Deb Mott is currently the director of the Memorial Union at Oregon State University. She has created and managed budgets, she said, and has been a part of several large construction projects on campus. She shares two children with her partner, both of whom attend schools in the district, and said she applied for the position because the school board “serves a critical role in defining the long-term action plans of the district while representing all students equitably.”
• In her application, Sadie Slocum noted that at age 18, she is “definitely the underdog in this situation.” She moved to Corvallis in 2017 and said she wants to serve on the board because she believes she can make a significant impact on students, the board and community. She felt the two most difficult issues facing the district are “letting students become ‘lost’ or overlooked because of the high number of students in most schools” and school lunches.
• Shauna Tominey, an early education teacher and researcher with 20 years of experience, said she's learned Corvallis is a special place. She said the district has a dedicated staff and administrators as well as challenges, including ensuring that all students succeed and managing limited resources. Tominey noted that she has undergraduate degrees in music and psychology and a masters degree in family studies and human services. She’s previously served as the director of early childhood and teacher education at the Yale Center for Emotional Attendance and led the development of social and emotional learning programs as an assistant research scientist. She currently works as an assistant professor of practice at OSU in human development and family sciences.
• Luhui Whitebear said in her application that the primary reason she wanted to serve on the board was to “work with other members of the community who hold a shared interest in working towards what is best for the students and families served by the district.” She noted that there was work to be done in local schools related to equity, diversity, bullying and homelessness. “I view myself as an advocate for positive social change and being a member of the board would allow me to bring my perspective and experiences to do so in the local district in ways that positively impact children and families in the community,” she said. She has three children in the district and said she's already invested in the district in various capacities.