News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

2000 graduate running for school board

Hilary Saunders is running for the Sisters School Board in the upcoming May election.

Saunders has a longtime connection to Sisters and its schools. She went through all three schools as a student and graduated in the class of 2000 — a class of 78 students. Saunders swam competitively in high school. Her mother, Isolde Hedemark, taught at the schools, so Saunders has always been connected to the Sisters School District (SSD), which is why she wants to be on the school board.

“It all stems from my experience in the SSD; it’s almost like a relationship, the experience is like a good relationship or family member,” she said.

Saunders is still very close with several of the people she graduated with, highlighting the connections made in a small graduating class and how lasting friendships are made when going to school in the SSD.

“Providing all the experiences for all the kids is super important,” she said. “There are so many things that we had and that I want to make sure the uniqueness is still there that kids have an amazing opportunity to learn and change the world. There is a passion instilled in the Sisters schools, passion in yourself and in others and I want to make sure that my kids and all other kids can experience that.”

Saunders, her husband Stephen, and their twin three-year-old daughters moved back to Sisters from San Francisco in 2020, during the pandemic. Saunders began her professional career in San Francisco in real estate litigation, and co-founded Side Inc, where she is still working as a chief broker officer. Side Inc. is a broker’s platform that allows a realtor/team to build their own brand as a Relator.

Since her move back to Sisters, Saunders works fully remotely for the company as does most of her team, operating from 10 different states across the country.

With her job being remote, Saunders came to a season in her life that she felt like she had the ability and the bandwidth to commit to something.

“I sit on our local HOA board because I want to help, and there is a lack of people that have the time and ability to do it. With my job and local family situation, I have the bandwidth to do it,” she said. “When my kids are in the school system, they’ll be lots of opportunity to help in the classroom, but right now I can start the shaping of it and make sure those programs are there.”

One thing she wants to focus on is having the school board work with the educators themselves in the classrooms.

“I really want to make sure that the teachers are supported and heard, because at the end of the day they are the ones providing the education,” she said.

Saunders has a website for her election campaign at

As stated on that website, she says: “Sisters students deserve to experience the best education in the state. That includes having access to the same opportunities as their peers to broaden their horizons and expand into dreams of their future. We need to include attention to mental health and belonging within the student body. Technology is a key factor in setting our kids up for success in addition to many other levels.”

The school board election takes place on Tuesday, May 16. April 25 is the last day to register to vote, and ballots will be mailed to voters on April 26.


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