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home : education : schools June 24, 2016

4/30/2013 1:29:00 PM
Hedrick running for a second term
Current school board chair Don Hedrick is running for a second four-year term in the May 21 election. photo by John Griffith
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Current school board chair Don Hedrick is running for a second four-year term in the May 21 election. photo by John Griffith

By John Griffith

Current school board chair Don Hedrick is running for a second four-year term in the May 21 election.

Hedrick said, "One of the reasons that I hope to get reelected is to maintain some continuity on the school board. If I am not re-elected then Andrew (Gorayeb) will be the senior board member with only two years' experience, everyone else will have less. I don't think that is good for the board or the school district."

Despite tight financial conditions, Hedrick is pleased with the current course of the district.

"Things have been going pretty well in spite of the financial difficulties. I would like to keep the ship going on an even keel, and support Jim (Golden, superintendent) because I think he is doing a really good job for us. Most of the problems are due to the financial situation. It would be great to be on the board when you don't have to cut programs and teachers.

"I'm hoping that the economy will improve and that Senate Bill 822 will pass; this could mean around $300,000 for Sisters schools," said Hedrick. "We need to put more money in our contingency account. The last budget took the contingency funds to near zero."

Fellow board members speak highly of Hedrick's ability to run an effective meeting and, in his words, "not mess around."

"I think with my experience I still have something to contribute," Hedrick concluded.

After nine years as a teacher and 25 years as administrator, first in Illinois and more recently in Oregon, school board chair Don Hedrick said, "no more meetings," when he and his wife moved to Sisters in 2002.

Hedrick retired from education in 1991 and did a variety of "other" jobs, including becoming a licensed and bonded contractor to build houses with his son-in-law. The Hedricks also ran a bed-and-breakfast in Garibaldi for 10 years before moving to Sisters to "really retire."

Five years ago, concerned about the number of rapid superintendent changes, Hedrick began attending board meetings with the thought that he could help in some way. He was soon drafted to moderate candidate's night for an upcoming school board election.

Next, he was picked to chair a 20-member long-term facilities task force put together by the board. The Sisters High School biomass boiler project was a direct result of that effort.

Four years ago, as the district headed into the current budget crisis, Hedrick won the seat left open when Mike Gould opted not to run again.

Hedrick shared his view on the current status of Sisters schools.

"By any measure that anyone wants to use, Sisters (School District) is better than any of the schools in Central Oregon, and is one of the best-performing districts in the state," said Hedrick. "With all the budget stuff, we are just having trouble keeping what we have, let alone adding new programs."

Hedrick said, "I would like to see more vocationally oriented classes, particularly at the high school. The (current) emphasis is on academic achievement and that is fine; we need that. But not every kid wants to or should go to college. We need some additional vocational offerings. Right now we don't have a lot to offer."

One of Hedrick's top priorities was to secure a contract extension for Superintendent Jim Golden, and that was completed last year.

"Stability of an administration is very important," said Hedrick. "We want to keep Jim Golden around for a while. He is doing a great job, and we know he could move tomorrow and make a lot more money."

Based on the knowledge gleaned from his stint running the facilities task force, Hedrick also plans to continue to find ways to upgrade the facilities at the schools.

"We have been able to do that for the most part up till now," he said.

Don is a native of the Northwest. Born in Spokane, he moved to the Chicago area when he was 5, only to return to the Northwest in 1992 to serve as an administrator in Klamath County and then in the city of Tillamook.

Speaking to his choice of teaching as a profession, he points to the fact that his grandmother taught at a one-room school in Illinois, and both his parents were teachers.

"Education was a family tradition. I didn't have a chance," he quipped. Hedrick's wife, Shirley, is also a retired teacher.

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