City Club of Eugene: 4J School Board Candidates
From the City Club of Eugene:
On May 21, Eugene voters in School District 4j will choose between two incumbent board members and two new candidates. Jim Torrey and Martina Shabram are competing for position 5; Mary Walston and Deanna Chappell Belcher are competing for position 7. In Eugene, all voters get to cast a ballot for all positions.
Jim Torrey was first elected to the 4J board in May 2007 and has served continuously since then. He started out as a business owner and manager and served as the executive director of KidSports. From 1997 to 2004, he was mayor of Eugene. Jim has served in many volunteer and paid roles in civic work groups, boards, and commissions. These include Eugene City Council, Lane Workforce Partnership, and the Lane Council of Governments, to name a few. He was a member of the Oregon Juvenile Justice Commission and for two years he was vice chair. As mayor, Jim visited every county seat in the state to meet with school boards, chambers of commerce, country commissions, and city councils to lobby for support of additional state funding for education, including career and technical education. Jim’s four children, nine of his grandchildren, and one great-grandchild have attended 4j schools.
Martina Shabram is an educator who has been serving students in Lane Country since 2010, in K-12 and college classrooms. Since 2016, she has been the Youth Leadership Coordinator and
Community Educator for Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon. While working on a doctorate in English and disability studies at UO, she taught Composition and English at UO and was the Education Director for UO’s Summer Enrichment Program, an academic summer camp for Talented and Gifted youth. Since completing her PhD, Martina has taught in a variety of settings, from online college courses, to middle and high school humanities, focusing on special education. In her current position, Martina runs REV, the youth leadership program from Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon, and teaches supplemental health curriculum throughout Lane County. Through this work, she has taught in over half of 4J’s schools and mentored students from North, South, Sheldon, and Churchill high schools.
Mary Walston was appointed to fill a midterm 4J board vacancy in 2009 and has served continuously since then. Prior to her appointment, Mary had been a community member of the 4J Budget Committee for 10 years. During her tenure, she has served twice as board chair, and as a member of 4J’’s Charter School Council, Instructional Policy Committee, Finance Committee, and Vision 20/20 committee, and she represents 4J on the Lane Council of Government Board of Directors. Mary’s career in public administration spans 35 years in state and local government. After retiring from her public administration career, she worked for three years as a Resource Development Manager for United Way of Lane County. Mary’s community volunteer work includes leadership roles in the River Road Community Organization, Toastmasters International, Relay for Life, Greenhill Humane Society, and Lane Arts Council. She volunteers weekly in three 4J schools. She is a graduate of Emerge Oregon.
Deanna Chappell Belcher is a doctoral student at the UO College of Education. She has more than 20 years of teaching experience; her research interests include teacher activism, parent involvement, and equity work. She currently teaches courses in the foundations of American education and curriculum studies. Deanna is an active member of the Community Alliance for Public Education. She was the director of the Service Learning Program at UO and is an instructor in the “Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program.” At UO she coordinated projects that brought undergraduate students to Eugene public schools to provide free after school programming, community gardening experiences, and college counseling. Before coming to Eugene, Deanna worked at Columbia University (NYC) where she helped found an experimental lab school, and also served as community outreach specialist, a service learning coordinator, and admissions administrator. She was a school counselor in New York City public elementary schools, a career counselor for middle schoolers, and a diversity trainer in New York City high schools.
Program Coordinators: Mary Leighton and Katherine Schacht