Hood River County Schools

Member at Large

Rich Truax

Rich_TruaxI am currently serving on the Hood River County School Board and am committed to working for continued and improved educational programs and successful outcome options for all students. My primary decision-making focus is that “the kids come first”.

I was appointed to serve on the School Board in February 2017 following interviews of five candidates. I have eight years of volunteer experience with HRCSD committees including the Budget, Financial Advisory, Bond Oversight, Bond Campaign, and the Facilities Assessment Committees. Before becoming a Board Member, I attended more than 20 HRCSD Board meetings as a volunteer citizen, as well as leading a grass roots lobbying effort to the Legislature in support of K-12 funding. I am keenly aware and experienced with the issues and challenges facing our school district.

I am a licensed professional engineer with 30 years of engineering, office management, and human resources experience and currently run a successful engineering business here in Hood River. I understand planning, budgeting, program and fiduciary responsibility. I have also volunteered for youth sports, serve on the Port of Hood River Budget Committee, and local Boy Scout activities. I have two children, one graduate and one current student at HRVHS; we have been a proud and thankful Hood River County family for over 11 years.

Thank you for your consideration to vote for my re-election as a member of the School Board!

Position 2

David Russo

russoheadshot2-750xx551-734-25-0I am seeking re-election to a second term on the school board. As a life-long advocate for public education, and a proud parent of a second-grade May Street Elementary School student, I’ve seen first-hand the benefits that come from an engaged, well-functioning public school system. Quality public education programs prepare our children for prosperous careers and help them become engaged citizens. Our public schools are prized democratic institutions and essential for lifting children and families out of poverty.

Hood River county residents and businesses are steadfast supporters of their community’s schools. This is evident through direct support, in-kind donations, volunteerism, and revenue from our local option and bond levies. As an incumbent Director, an established community member, and a small business owner, I’m committed to ensuring that the resources allocated to our schools are used to the maximum benefit of students.

This is both an exciting and challenging time for our schools. Following the passage of our local bond levies and other tax measures, it is more important than ever that our District is both disciplined and diligent in its operations and planning. If re-elected to serve an additional term, I will continue to be a strong voice for local control, accountability, and academic excellence for students and families served by our school district.

benj_sheppardBenjamin Sheppard

I am a third generation resident of the Hood River valley, a 2006 graduate of Hood River Valley High School, a father, and a social worker in the area of developmental disabilities.

The motivating force behind my candidacy for school board is a desire to see improved social equity, especially where access to education is concerned. I believe that our public education system has become a cornerstone of our society, and that the highest quality of education should be available to everyone, regardless of income, or disability.
My goal is to be a conduit for my community in general, and especially where the representation of the special needs community and its families are concerned.”

Position 3

Corinda Hankins Elliott

Hankins_ElliottChildren are the focus of my life—from my job to my volunteer work to my three children. I have served on the Hood River County School Board for the last 9 months after being interviewed and appointed to the Board. I am running for Position #3 to ensure that we continue to strive to find the best for all children in our community by following our budget closely, further advancing our curriculum, and seeking equity and excellence in our education system.

I have worked as a pediatrician in the area for the last 14 years. Currently, I work at One Community Health, where I work hard to keep the children in this community healthy. In addition, volunteer work with children has always been important to me. I have spent countless hours volunteering throughout our school system and in community education.

When position #3 opened, I studied and observed the School Board and it seemed the perfect way for me to further serve the children of Hood River County. I want to help all children have the best chance to achieve all that they can in school — including children with disabilities and learning difficulties. With my own children in the school system, I also have a personal interest in keeping our schools strong, equitable and transparent.

I have learned much about our County and School District, and I am invested in being a steward for our children’s future.

Joanna (Jo) Smith

Jo SmithI am excited to be running for Hood River County School Board, leveraging my decades of teaching to serve my community. Early in my career, I spent time in Australia as a high school English teacher, where the school system emphasizes writing rather than multiple choice tests, a reminder that our education system can foster critical thinking skills and creativity rather than rote memorization and standardized tests.

In my current role teaching in the University of Oregon’s College of Education, I train teachers, school leaders, and district administrators to create and implement effective interventions that address the specific needs of their students and communities. My professional expertise is in education policy, with a focus on the links between policy, leadership, and the improvement of schools and school systems.

As a Board member, I’ll contribute a systems view of education change and instructional excellence to the dedicated cadre of HR school supporters, including teachers, school and district leaders, parents, community members, and business stakeholders, who work to improve educational outcomes for our students. As we face the challenges of reduced funding for local school programs and uncertain federal mandates, I look forward to the opportunity to collaborate on our common goal of providing public education that meets the needs of all Hood River kids, not just to succeed, but to excel. If elected, I’ll bring a lifelong educator’s perspective, and a shared love of this community.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>