Forest Grove residents will not see competitive school board races on their ballots this spring.
Three-term incumbent Kate Grandusky and former city councilor Kristy Kottkey are running unopposed for Positions 4 and 5, respectively, on the board.
Grandusky has served on the school board since 2011, and Kottkey is fresh off the council, where she served from April 2020 until December 2022.
Kottkey was appointed to the position after the death of predecessor Ron Thompson but chose not to run for reelection once the term she was serving out expired.
Kottkey will likely replace incumbent Narce Rodriguez, a retired Pacific University employee who is currently the school board’s only Latina director. Rodriguez did not file for a second term.
Both Grandusky and Kottkey are experienced educators.
Grandusky is a retired special education teacher, working for both Forest Grove and Hillsboro school districts. She also served as facilitator in the Forest Grove School District. Grandusky also attended higher education locally, earning her bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in education from Portland State University.
In the 2019 election, Grandusky defeated Chelsea Shotts, an educator who successfully sued the Newberg School District last year over its ban on political symbols in the classroom.
Like Grandusky, Kottkey worked in the Hillsboro School District for decades, teaching middle and high school students. Now semi-retired, she is currently filling in as a language arts teacher at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School in Roy.
In the past, Kottkey has served on Forest Grove’s library commission, Committee for Community Involvement and Community Policing Advisory Committee. She’s also acted as a local forestry liaison and served on the League of Oregon Cities women’s caucus executive board.
Kottkey said one of the reasons she’s running for school board after decades of immersion in local education is to support the current directors’ vision for the district.
“That’s why I’m going to step in,” she said. “If there was a different philosophy in place, I probably would have waited. With some healthy debate, I approve of the direction they’re headed.”
Kottkey said she was asked by multiple people to consider running, ultimately setting aside another potential stint on the council to campaign for the school board.
“I’ve been following the school board and I’m excited to see where it’s headed,” she said. “I know Superintendent David Parker from time in Hillsboro, so I felt like I could jump on board and continue with the work the district is doing now.”
Kottkey said that due to her time as an educator and a council member, she has a good understanding of the district’s needs and the city’s current direction, allowing her to be a liaison and a bridge for the community.
She said that while she would like to focus on improving math and reading skills in the district, as well as allowing teachers to be more flexible with their curriculums to meet the specific needs of their students, if elected, she would primarily focus on supporting plans and programs already in place.
“I want to maximize those outcomes,” Kottkey said, specifically lauding the district’s focus on improving career-technical education programs and identifying and supporting kids at risk for dropping out.
Grandusky did not respond to a request for comment in time for the publication of this article Friday, March 17.