Four of Central Oregon’s smaller school districts will see at least one contested school board race in the May 18 special election.
The most heated competition is in the Redmond School District, with nine candidates — only one of which is an incumbent — running for three seats.
The four incumbents for the Central Oregon Community College Board of Directors are all running unopposed. And due to a Crook County School District board member abruptly resigning last week, the deadline to apply for that seat was extended to March 24.
Redmond School Board
With Redmond School Board members Rick Bailey and Travis Bennett choosing to not seek reelection, Central Oregon’s second-largest school district will see at least two new faces come July 1. Bailey and Bennett served five and eight years on the board, respectively.
The lone incumbent running for reelection is Shawn Hartfield, a COCC instructor who was appointed to the board in 2015.
Her challenger is Stephanie Hunter — a behavioral specialist who works with children and adults with disabilities with Redmond-based nonprofit Opportunity Foundation of Central Oregon. Hunter also serves on Redmond School District’s equity task force, according to Deschutes County documents.
The board’s second seat has four candidates — the most for any school board race in Central Oregon this year.
The candidates are stay-at-home mom Lacey Butts, Bank of America Redmond assistant branch manager Michelle Salinas, flooring company owner Michael Summers and Michelle Visinoni, an office assistant and former preschool teacher. None of these four candidates has held elected office, according to county documents.
The third Redmond board seat has three candidates. One is Jill Cummings, the vice president and market development officer for Summit Bank. Health care administrator Lavon Medlock is also running, along with Ron Osmundson — co-owner of a day-care facility, assistant football coach for Ridgeview High School and a Redmond City Council candidate in 2020. He finished fifth in that race, out of nine candidates.
The seat of former board chair Tim Carpenter — who abruptly resigned from the Redmond School Board on Wednesday — was initially going to be filled by appointment. However, Deschutes County Clerk Nancy Blankenship ruled the seat must be filled by the voters in this year’s election.
Those interested in Carpenter’s seat must file by March 26, said school district spokesperson Sheila Miller.
Jefferson County School Board
With 12-year-incumbent and board chair Laurie Danzuka running unopposed, that leaves two contested Jefferson County School Board races in May.
Jamie Hurd, a Madras resident who has served on the board since 2017, will face Lorien Stacona, a case manager for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.
The third seat up for grabs was vacated by incumbent Tom Norton Jr, who did not file for reelection. Madras resident Jacob Struck, a construction superintendent for Skanska, and Warm Springs resident Jaylyn Suppah, a staffer for the Confederated Tribes’ Health & Human Services department, will face off for that seat.
If Suppah and Stacona both win seats, a majority of Jefferson County School Board members will be Native American. Despite the district’s student population being majority non-white, only one board member, Danzuka, is a person of color.
Sisters School Board
Sisters School District has two contested board races: one without and one with an incumbent.
Two candidates have stepped up to fill the seat of board chair Jay Wilkins, who did not file for reelection: Jenica Cogdill, manager of customer experience for Les Schwab Tires, and retired teacher Rodney Cooper.
Edie Jones, who was appointed to the Sisters School Board in February 2020, will defend her seat against architect Kevin Eckert.
Incumbent David Thorsett is running unopposed for reelection.
Culver School Board
Three of the four Culver School Board seats up for reelection are uncontested.
Barring a successful write-in campaign from someone else, incumbents Lindsay Cloud and board chair Scott Leeper will return to the board. Sabria Rios will take the seat of Bob Buckner, who did not file for reelection.
The one contested Culver race is between incumbent board vice-chair Mike Knepp and the challenger, residential appraiser David Bolhuis.