Evenson-Brady talks teaching

Lone Superintendent finalist meets the public again on Tuesday

This is how Dr. Pat Evenson-Brady “introduced” herself to the public on Monday:

“My passion is with instruction and how I can be helpful that way,” said Evenson-Brady, the lone finalist for the job of Hood River County Schools superintendent. In a career spanning more than 20 years, she has taught at level from Kindergarten through graduate school.

Evenson-Brady spoke to 12 people who came to a community meeting at Hood River Middle School, taking notes as she answered — and asked — questions to the group, comprised mainly of teachers and principals.

Many of them already knew Evenson-Brady, who had served as assistant superintendent and Westside Elementary principal during the 1990s. She left Hood River schools in 2000 to become superintendent of Region 9 Education Service District, which serves Wasco, Hood River, Gilliam and Sherman counties.

The public will have another chance to meet Evenson-Brady, on Tuesday from 4-6 p.m. at Wy’east Middle School.

The board could reach a decision as early as March 12, when it meets at Parkdale Elementary at 7:30 p.m., according to Jan Veldhuisen Virk, school board chair.

Last week the school board named the Evenson-Brady the sole finalist by the school board. Five other semi-finalists were interviewed, but the board felt strongly that Evenson-Brady was the person it wanted to hire, according to Veldhuisen Virk.

Monday night, Evenson-Brady fielded questions widely ranging from bilingual education to budget cuts.

She pointed to the high rankings Hood River received in the state School Report Cards, and said, “we’ve got to get the word out about that. I think we have to create a plan for doing that. It has to be all of our responsibility to do that, not just mine.”

She noted that the district has had six National Merit Scholarship finalists in the past four years.

“That’s knock your socks off,” she said.

She said she would be highly visible at the schools, and pledged to visit every classroom within the first two years. Leadership, she said, is a balancing act.

“I’ll try to help people see the wisdom of my ideas, but sometimes the superintendent gets paid to direct,” she said. “There is a balance between site-based management and district needs,” she said. “You are always moving back and forth between site-based management and cohesion among the buildings.”

She said the district must find ways to keep Hispanic students — 40 percent of the population — motivated to learn at all ages. Much of this requires engaging their parents, she said.

“Staff, myself included, need to pursue Spanish language and become more culturally comfortable,” she said.

On the budget situation, Evenson-Brady said the district faces some “hard, hard choices” between programs, personnel, and possibly instruction days to be cut.“Whatever we do we’ll do with enough depth to make a difference,” she said of the programs to be retained. “It will be some combination. We’ll have to look at multiple solutions.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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