School board members are essential to making a school district run and accountable to the interests of the public.

Being a school board member is a volunteer gig. The hours can be long and always in addition to the responsibilities of other jobs or occupations, family, friends. It’s a labor of love driven by a sense of mission for a good, quality public education system.

When the days and tasks seem too long and unrewarding, stop by a school and see the great work done in classrooms and student services done every day. They are great places to regain a sense of purpose and inspiration. Not the school your own child or grandchild attends, but other schools in other age groups and other parts of town.

It can help with reputation and build rapport and contacts with students, educators, and volunteers and can re-energize and inform the meetings.

It is not advisable, if serving on the school board is a way station for future public offices, to attack unionized educators as overpaid. That’s a tactical error. Poll after poll shows an overwhelming majority of the public views educators as under-paid and under-appreciated. Striking an anti-educator position may earn a few atta-boys or atta-gals on the radio or among cranky online commenters, but that’s not where the voters are at.

If you keep doing that, people will notice. People will notice if your conduct changes depending on the location. Pro-educator and pro-union in one place, and anti-union and anti-educator in another. People will notice you’re not representing their interests anymore.

Read “Reynolds Recall Effort Underway” at

The Oregonian's photo about the Reynolds school board recall effort