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home : education : schools April 29, 2016

5/7/2013 12:54:00 PM
Pronold makes bid for school board
Eric Pronold. photo by John Griffith
+ click to enlarge
Eric Pronold. photo by John Griffith

By John Griffith

Growing up on a small Wisconsin dairy farm, four years in the Marine Corps, and having a father with 28 years of service on the school board has given Position 1 candidate Eric Pronold a strong, clear vision of what service means - and of what he would like to see in the schools.

The Forest Service field tech and father of two small boys, two and five, expects his kids to graduate from Sisters schools, so he has a vested interest.

"This is the first time of me running for any kind of office," he told The Nugget. "My dad was on the school board for 28 years. He just always urged me to be active and get involved. This takes me out of my comfort zone a little, but that is good. A lot of people just have their opinion, but they don't actually step up and serve and put themselves on the line. I just want to serve our community."

Speaking of the high level of parent and volunteer involvement in Sisters schools, Pronold said, "The Sisters schools offer the perfect blueprint of what makes a quality school district; the parents give a lot, and not just in money, but in their time."

Eric cited two areas of concern with the district's offerings: "There is large sector of the vocational arts that I feel is underfunded. From growing up on the farm I see a need for more offerings that will teach kids how to fix things, and how to problem-solve on their own in the real world.

"I see the PE program stretched too thin. I'd like to see us get the kids moving around more, with rigorous expectations. I see value in exercise for their emotional well-being, it gives them confidence in themselves.

"From my experiences as a volunteer with the Little League and Young Life, I think I can make a difference as a member of the school board," he noted.

Pronold's route to Sisters was circuitous.

He left the family's Wisconsin farm to attend college in Nebraska. At the end of his first year he signed up for the Marine Corps Reserves with the idea that this was a good way to pay for college and to serve at the same time. That was two weeks before the September 11 attack. His four years of reserve service turned into two tours in Iraq.

While he was serving in the Corps, his future wife moved to Salem and finished her degree at OSU. When Eric got out of the service they drove to Corvallis from Nebraska, and he fell in love with Sisters on the way through - especially the trees and the mountains.

Pronold finished his degree in horticulture at OSU. Combining his love of golf with his passion for Sisters and the outdoors, he took a job as the assistant superintendent of the Black Butte Ranch golf courses, where he worked for four seasons.

The seasonality and volatility of the golf industry led him to move to the Forest Service when an opening that fit his training came up. Pronold cites the need to balance competing interests vying for an advantage in the application of the Forest Service multi-use policy as good training for the school board.

Mail-in ballots started arriving at households on Friday, May 3. To be counted, the ballots must arrive back at the county elections office no later than 8 p.m. on May 21. Ballots can be mailed to the elections office, or dropped off at Sisters City Hall between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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