Poised to Lead

Dr. Evenson-Brady shows strengths

It is worth an hour or so of anyone’s time to meet, or re-meet, the educator who is about to become the first woman superintendent of Hood River County School District.

Dr. Pat Evenson-Brady looks upon the current state budget crisis as “a window of opportunity.”

“The budget situation is awful and it is not going to get any better. This is a window of opportunity. This is a chance to think carefully about our values. If there is one thing we need to do, what is it? If there are two things we need to do, what are they?”

Barring some unlikely problem as the school board reviews Evenson-Brady’s references, she will be appointed effective July 1. Evenson-Brady is no stranger: she lives in Hood River, and served as assistant superintendent for the district and earlier as Westside Elementary principal in the 1990s.

At Monday’s community meeting only one member of the public joined the teachers, principals and school board members to meet with Evenson-Brady. It won’t be the last such opportunity: another session is Tuesday from 4-6 p.m. at Wy’east Middle School to meet Evenson-Brady and ask her questions. Anyone doing so will meet someone with sharp humor and a can-do attitude in the face of great difficulty.

“The danger at this time in Hood River is we have to keep Hood River an excellent school system,” Evenson-Brady said, in a manner that expresses hope along with the wry experience of having done the tough work of cutting budgets. (ESD has seen half its programs cut over the past five years.) She looks at the big picture in terms of Oregon’s problems funding education and nearly all of its social service programs.

“The danger in Oregon is we could lose what we consider our quality of living,” she said.

The most encouraging thing about Evenson-Brady is her high concern with what happens with instruction. In answer to the suggestion that the district tighten its attendance policy, Evenson-Brady said, “How we respond as a system is important; not with attendance as an icon. To me it’s really important to change what’s going on in the classroom. What we need to say to those kids is ‘you are important. We do something in the classroom every day here that is important’.”

Though straight forward, Evenson-Brady did not pretend to have all the answers.

“What we’re told from the state level is that voters don’t believe that they are getting good value for their dollars,” she said. “The public has to believe they’re getting good value, so somehow at the same time we are asking ‘how are we going to survive’ we have to say, ‘we are doing great.’ And how do you do that? It’s not easy.”

The school board has not hired Evenson-Brady; it will weigh what feedback it gets from community and staff meetings, and reference checks and site visits are planned, in order to get a rounded view of Evenson-Brady’s work.

That said, Evenson-Brady appears to be exactly the right person at just the right time, given her knowledge of the district, the fact that she already lives here, has worked closely with the district while with ESD, and her evident high regard for the staff and students of the district.

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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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