News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Thorsett running unopposed for school board

David Thorsett is running unopposed for Position No. 2 on the Sisters School board. He has held the seat since being appointed to the board in 2019.

The Nugget profiled candidates for the other two open positions in previous weeks. Ron Cooper is running against Jenica Cogdill for Position No. 1 and Kevin Eckert is challenging incumbent Edie Jones for Position No. 5. All three positions up for vote are for four-year terms.

Thorsett, an orthopedic surgeon, his wife Sarah, and their four children, moved to Sisters in 2011 from the Willamette Valley — very intentionally.

“Our primary motivation for the move was the search for a community and school district that we felt had the potential to provide the best environment for raising a family,” said Thorsett. “Sisters had all that including a small population with diverse backgrounds, schools which traditionally have enjoyed widespread community support, experiential educational approaches including ECOS and IEE, and an outdoor-oriented environment.”

Thorsett’s professional career has been entirely in the Willamette Valley. He started in a group private practice in Salem after his residency in Madison, Wisconsin, finished in 1996. In 2007, he moved his practice to Silverton and then last year, to Santiam Hospital in Stayton to help set up a total-joint-replacement program for them.

While the school board position is his first publicly held office, Thorsett has served at the hospital level professionally as medical director of orthopedics as well as orthopedic department chairman on several occasions for terms ranging from one to four years.

Regarding his motivation to serve on the school board, Thorsett said, “I ran for the Sisters School Board initially in an effort to ‘give back’ to the community that has been so vital to my children’s lives over the past 11 years.

I saw it as an opportunity to be a part of the group helping to guide the district through current and future challenges.

This has been rewarding on many levels and has proven to be more challenging than I expected.

Becoming familiar with district policies, state mandates, and budget limitations is an eye-opening process.

This has given me an awareness of how special our situation is here in Sisters.

I find myself surrounded by individuals with a passion for our students and am repeatedly amazed by the expansive vision of our administrators, many of the teachers, support staff, and parents.

It has been an honor to be a small part of this process.”

During his time on the board, Thorsett has been part of a focus of a relatively new initiative in Oregon public education called the Student Success Act.

He said, “As a board we have been spending a significant amount of time and energy at the board level helping to craft and support the roll out of the Student Success Act and particularly the Student Investment Account by working to improve student’s social and emotional support, reducing and maintaining small class size, and improving equity across all demographics, particularly the historically underserved population. I am excited to continue these efforts in earnest as we navigate the challenges brought over these past 16 months by COVID-19.”

Regarding the upcoming May 18 vote on the local school bond that will fund a new elementary school to replace the current facility, Thorsett said, “We have been fortunate to have a supportive local community. I believe that with continued open communication presenting the proposed plan to people with an open, honest approach will prove successful. Like many, I am excited to see the vision unfolding for a common campus encompassing all three schools to improve flexibility and opportunities for all grades. In addition, I believe moving forward with this is essential as our community growth continues in order to serve all students as well as possible.”

When asked what else he would like the voter to know and understand about him, Thorsett offered, “I have been and will continue to be open and honest about my thoughts and opinions related to the challenges that we face. I will continue to be as transparent as possible and will continue to work hard to provide an environment that is collaborative and nonjudgmental, both in public and executive forums.”

Ballots are expected to be mailed to registered voters on April 28.


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