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Virtual Public Forum: Racism in Oregon Schools

Lauren Ibanez

Thank you to our panelists, and to everyone who participated in our public forum. You can view the program on demand here. 


KLCC has rescheduled its virtual forum on racism in Oregon schools, which will be held Thursday, October 1 from 6-7:30pm. 

Community members will be able to listen and ask questions about school racism. 


Staff members with the Oregon Department of Education, Lane Education Service District, and 4J and Springfield school board members will be present to listen and respond to concerns brought up by participants. Board members will be speaking as themselves, and not on behalf of the board. 

Participants can submit questions regarding racism in Oregon schools, in advance or during the meeting. Suggestions for providing a more equitable learning environment are also welcome. But please keep in mind that not all of the questions will be answered due to the limited timeframe. KLCC will also have a series of polls for audience members.

If you would like to watch this live, you may also view this on YouTube. But you will not be able to submit questions on the YouTube channel.

School board members will be speaking on their behalf, and not on behalf of their board or district. Panelists will adhere to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and are not allowed to publicly discuss a student’s personal information. Representatives are aware of trends in discipline, but they cannot become involved in specific instances of personnel matters or student discipline. Community member’s concerns may not be resolved during this meeting, but KLCC is facilitating this discussion so people are better prepared to address these issues in the future.

If you would like to participate in the zoom meeting, please click on the registration link. 

The following are some of the biographies of the panelists attending the public forum. To read their complete biography, please visit the KLCC Facebook page. 



Credit Colt Gill
Colt Gill, Director of the Oregon Department of Education and Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Colt Gill was appointed by Governor Brown as Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction (and as such serves as the Director of the Oregon Department of Education), and was confirmed by the Senate on February 12, 2018. He served previously as Oregon’s first Education Innovation Officer, a position focused on improving graduation outcomes. He has been an Oregon educator since 1989. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Oregon and has served on a number of boards and commissions relating to education and children’s health and wellness initiatives.











Credit Carlos Sequeira
Carlos Sequeira, Executive Director of Lane Education Service District

For 27 years now, Carlos has had the privilege to serve students and families in various communities as a classroom teacher of 12 years, a building principal/administrator for 8 years, and District Office Director for 3 years. These last 4 years, Carlos has served as Executive Director of School Improvement at Lane Education Service District in Eugene, where he leads with a team of dynamic, caring, innovative and passionate educators.

Carlos considers it a gift that over the years, he has served diverse communities in both urban and rural settings. Each of these communities has afforded him a great appreciation and practical understanding of the complexities of our educational system and the urgency to meet the needs of all our students. Carlos continues to grow in his awareness, respect and appreciation for the richness that diversity of culture, beliefs, ideas, and experience offer an interdependent community.









Credit Leah Dunbar
Leah Dunbar, Churchill High School Teacher, Lane ESD Part Time Specialist

Dr. Leah Dunbar interests lie in Ethnic Studies education, organizational and societal change, youth empowerment, generational healing, and dance. She is committed to educational justice and facilitates learning through what she terms (re)storying: engaging students in activities for community building; critical reflection and discussion with an emphasis on listening to understand and hope; and a rigorous examination of place and perspective. Leah understands this interdisciplinary work as the current iteration of the Civil Rights Movement and is the beneficiary of the tireless efforts of many brave, brilliant, and beloved ancestors, mentors, and colleagues; whose example she follows by bearing courageous witness to injustice in order to open doors for healing and change, and by demonstrating deep respect for the wisdom that young people possess.












Credit Holli Johnson
Holli Johnson, Coordinator for the African American, Black Student Success at the Lane County Education Service District

Holli Johnson, Coordinator African American-Black Student Success Program. Received BA in sociology from University of Oregon, earned master degree in adult education from OSU. I have been working in student services for over 20 years, mostly in the financial aid and scholarship field. I am a transplant from California and by way of Arizona. I Worked at the UO for 13 years before excepting my current job as the Coordinator for Lane African American-Black Student Success Program at The Education Service District in Eugene. My primary goal  is to keep the vision of equity and inclusion alive for all African American -Black students in Lane County.  I support all efforts that support our students. During my spare time I enjoy movie night with my family and any chance we get, we love to go camping and fishing!  


Credit Mary Walston
Mary Walston, 4J School Board Chair

Mary Walston has served on the Eugene School Board since 2009 and before that on its 4J Budget Committee for 10 years. Her career spanned over 35 years in public administration and public service through employment with Lane County, the State of Oregon and the City of Eugene.











Credit Judy Newman
Judith Newman, M.S., Associate Clinical Professor, University of Oregon, 4J School Board Vice Chair


Judy Newman founded and directed the Early Childhood CARES program, the early intervention and early childhood special education program for Lane County since 1992, and is currently the Senior Advisor for the program.  She helped establish Lane County’s Early learning Alliance, the early learning system hub for the county and serves on their Governance Consortium.   She currently chairs the System of Care Executive Committee for Trillium and Pacific Source.   Her over thirty years of experience includes direct service provision, administration, university teaching, participation in numerous research activities, and extensive work on state and local councils, committees, task forces and boards related to policy, systems and funding for education, human services and specifically early childhood concerns.  In addition, she consultants internationally with countries on the development and implementation of laws, policies and best practices in inclusion for students with disabilities and on early childhood intervention services and systems.   

Credit Jenna McCulley
Emilio Hernandez, Ph.D., Springfield Public Schools board member

Emilio was elected to the school board in May 2017. He has lived in Springfield for more than 45 years and is committed to helping all children gain a meaningful education and experience in our schools. Emilio has served on the district's Budget Committee and the Bond Oversight Committee and also served nine years on the state Board of Education. A former migrant worker, he has been actively involved in both area and national Latino organizations and is passionate about issues affecting families in poverty. With a PhD in higher education, he is currently employed working directly with at-risk youth through Direction Service, a Springfield agency the provides support for disabled children.


Elizabeth Gabriel is a former KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She is an education reporter at WFYI in Indianapolis.
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