The Salem-Keizer School Board will have at least three new faces this summer following a May 18 election.
Eleven candidates have filed to run for four open seats on the board, and only one current board member is seeking re-election. Friday was the deadline for candidates to file.
Though candidates must live in the zone they want to represent, voters in the district have a say in all four races. There's no primary election, and the candidate who gets the most votes on May 18 wins the seat.
School board seats are nonpartisan, but local races have become increasingly expensive and polarized in recent years. The newly elected board will oversee the full-time return of students to classrooms and weigh in on the future of school security and mental health support following Superintendent Christy Perry's decision to end the district's school resource officer program.
Below is a list of candidates with a summary of the biographical information on each candidate's filing statement.
Zone 1 (West Salem)
Osvaldo Avila - Grant administrator at Oregon's Higher Education Coordinating Commission, and a former bilingual academic advisor at Western Oregon University
Richard Riggs - Regional director for Oregon State University extension service, former Chemeketa Community College Board of Education member
Ross Swartzendruber - Sheep farmer, former owner of Black Sheep Advertising
Kari Zohner - Realtor, substitute teacher and former coach in Salem-Keizer School District
Zone 3 (South Salem)
Ashley Carson-Cottingham - Deputy director, Oregon Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, former candidate for Marion County Commissioner in 2020
Linda Farrington - Retired nurse, former member of the Salem-Keizer School District budget committee
Zone 5 (Southeast Salem)
Jesse Lippold Peone - Current school board member, real estate broker
Karina Guzman Ortiz - Partner engagement specialist at Oregon Department of Education, Early Learning Division and former Salem-Keizer School District substitute teacher
Michael Slagle - Aerospace inspector and manager at Westpro Lab, Salem football and basketball official
Zone 7 (North Salem)
Maria Hinojos Pressey - Operations director, Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN)
Liam Collins - Vehicle acquisition manager, Enterprise Holdings
As campaigns kick off, we'd like to hear from you about how you'd like Salem Reporter to cover these races. What issues do you want to see candidates address? How important is it for you to know who a candidate's major donors are? Email Rachel Alexander at [email protected] with your suggestions or questions.