In the race between Stuart Young and Richard Asadoorian for the south county Bend-La Pine school board spot, we must preface by saying that it was exceedingly difficult to choose between these two candidates. That's a good problem to have in any race. Experienced educators are able to set sound, experience-based educational policy.
Both men, now retired, have spent their careers committed to education, both have served in administrative roles, and both come armed with extensive knowledge about the role of a school board. Richard Asadoorian is a former teacher and school principal, was the school president in a diverse district of more than 1 million people in Contra Costa, Calif., and now sits on the board of a charter school in California. He's also been a CASA volunteer and has extensive experience in the legislative process.
Incumbent Stuart Young, appointed to the board in 2014 upon the resignation of Mike Jensen, is also a former teacher and principal with more than 20 years of experience as a superintendent in Creswell, Ore., and in international schools worldwide. He's also a supporter of the CASA program.
While neither spent their careers in the Bend-La Pine school district, it's fair to say that both men's depth and breadth of experience would be beneficial in our growing district. Both candidates also share our values of equity, and both support more contraceptive options offered at school-based health centers. Each supports an "education first" model in funding from the state Legislature, and each advocates for a collaborative approach in solving statewide funding issues as they relate to education. While we weren't impressed with the board—which included Young—deciding to come out against Measure 97 during the 2016 election cycle, we'll be looking toward the new board for leadership in advocating for school funding at the state Legislature. On that topic, Young says he "struggled a great deal" with the board's position on Measure 97, and that were an education funding bill to come forward that is more clearly written, he would even "go door to door" to support it.
Were we to have the option, we would recommend that both men be able to serve on the school board—but that's not the way things work. While we believe Asadoorian would come with skills and experience—and a charming personality—that would benefit the board, Young, with very similar skills and experience, is already in the seat. We see no reason to unseat him and face the requisite onboarding that comes with every new board member. The Bend-La Pine school board needs strong, informed leadership as it moves forward in setting policy and advocating for our area schools. Knowing that we'll get that with either candidate sets our minds at ease in this race. In the upcoming election, vote Stuart Young for Administrative School District 1, Zone 4.