With a number of critical issues facing the district — including a post-Covid return to in-person learning, a looming superintendent search and managing a $75 million capital bond — voters will have their chance to weigh in on the composition of the Canby School Board.
Heading into the May 18 special districts election, there were four School Board members up for re-election: Chair Angi Dilkes, Vice Chair Sara Magenheimer, Tom Scott and Mike Zagyva. All four drew challengers before the deadline closed Thursday.
Scott is seeking a fourth term after 12 years of service on the board. He is a district parent as well as a lifelong resident and Canby High School grad, with a bachelor’s degree from Linfield College. He works in real estate investment and development for his family business, Scott Investments.
Scott told The Canby Current he is seeking another four years because he believes his leadership, knowledge and experience will be beneficial to the board and community.
“With the district’s continued work on the bond, return to school (post-Covid) and a new superintendent, I believe that my experience and knowledge will be an asset to the board over the next couple of years,” he said in an email.
If re-elected, his goals will be to ensure a smooth transition in the superintendent’s office, return students to full-time in-person learning in September and ensure bond projects are successful and stay on budget.
“I have a deep appreciation and passion for this community and our youth,” he said. “If elected, I will remain committed to making good decision for our students, staff and community.”
Challenging Scott is Olga Jimenez, a disease intervention specialist for Clackamas County Public Health as well as a Latinx liaison for the county’s emergency operations and a human service assistant for its weatherization program.
She is a Milwaukie High School grad who studied corrections at Clackamas Community College and a volunteer board member for Bridging Cultures Canby. She has no prior government experience, according to her filing paperwork.
In an email, Jimenez described her campaign as a “community effort,” saying she will work hard to lift up students and their needs.
“As a parent of four children in the Canby School District and an employee of Clackamas County, I see the importance of creating equitable, diverse and inclusive learning environments every day,” she said.
“Our Latino students make up 30% of our school population, and it is important for them to see leaders that look and speak like them. It is also important for our families to have a voice to express their viewpoints, perspectives and their diverse culture.”
The daughter of migrant farmworkers from Guatemala, Jimenez grew up in Wenatchee, Wash., where higher education was “always a dream that was just out of reach.”
“When I am elected to the Canby School Board, I will advocate for collaboration around shared values and the tremendous gifts that diverse life experiences have to offer our students,” she said.
Magenheimer is a lifelong resident of the Canby/Oregon City area who is seeking a second term on the board. She has spent much of her professional career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, serving in public and government affairs, and is currently self-employed as a property manager.
She is a district parent and a graduate of Oregon State University and Canby High School. She told the Current she is running for re-election out of her continuing commitment to “doing the work of the School Board for our community.”
“This has been a difficult year, most notably for our kids,” she said. “I believe we have a responsibility to use our strengths to serve, and I am committed to bringing my strengths of character, collaboration, and integrity to represent our community and our kids as a director.”
Magenheimer, who also served on the district’s bond committee and currently sits on the bond master planning committee, said she hopes to continue to have the chance to work on projects and enhancements that will benefit students, staff and the community.
If re-elected, her chief goal would be to work to bring people together and “collaborate for the success of our students.”
“I’m committed to continuing my work on the bond to improve our school environments and opportunities for our children,” she said. “Most importantly, I believe that we all must focus on identifying and fully addressing the needs of our students after this last year of primarily distance learning.”
Challenging Magenheimer will be Stephanie Smith, a district parent and apprentice electrician for the IBEW Local 48.
Smith is an Oregon City High School grad and holds a bachelor’s degree from Concordia University. She has no prior government experience, according to her filing paperwork.
Smith did not return a request for comment in time for publication.
Zagyva is a retired Canby School District teacher and principal who is seeking a third term on the board. He spent 30 years as an educator and coach at the middle and elementary school levels, also serving terms as president of the teachers’ union and athletic director.
He is also a Marine veteran of the Vietnam War and a 39-year member of the Oregon National Guard, retiring in 2013 as intelligence branch chief and state command chief warrant officer.
He holds a master’s in education and administration from Portland State University and a bachelor’s from the Oregon College of Education. In a statement to the Current, he cited his variety of experience as a reason for his asking Canby families for the chance to serve four more years.
“Our family has worked, lived, played and worshiped in the Canby community for almost 50 years,” he said. “Our children, and seven of our 10 grandchildren, attend or attended Canby Schools.
“With each situation brought to the board, I am able to view the issue with many different perceptions: parent, grandparent, elementary and middle school teacher, union president, coach, assistant principal and principal. I work hard at understanding the obstacles and how the solutions will impact all involved.”
He said he sympathizes with the challenges many parents and students have faced during distance learning — having experienced them himself first-hand.
“Two days a week, we have three grandsons over to help monitor, encourage and supervise them at ‘school,'” he said. “I see the frustration and, at times, anger regarding distance learning. I can only imagine the pressure this has put on parents who work outside the home.”
Challenging him is Sherry Smith, business manager of her husband’s local law firm, Tyler Smith & Associates, P.C. Her previous work experience includes Tektronix Inc., Intel Corporation, Cisco Systems and Boeing Military Aircraft & Defense Systems.
She is a graduate of Olympia High School and holds a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University. She has previously served on the budget committees for the Canby School District — including serving as chair — and North Marion.
Smith did not return a request for comment in time for publication.
Dilkes is a career government relations and public affairs operative who is seeking a third term on the board. She is a district parent and a graduate of Willamette University and Roosevelt High School.
She is vice president of Eames Consulting, a small government relations firm in Salem. Her previous work and governmental experience includes serving as deputy chief of staff and legislative director for former Governor Ted Kulongoski and political strategies director for former Governor John Kitzhaber’s Oregon Education Investment Project.
Challenging her is Shelley Vissers, owner of Canby Spine & Sport with her husband, chiropractor Michael Vissers. She is a Canby High School grad and holds a bachelor’s degree from Linfield College. She has no prior government experience, according to her filing paperwork.
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