Longtime resident seeks school board seat
Last updated 4/18/2023 at 6:16pm
Jayne Simmons, candidate for Sisters School Board, has been in Sisters for over 27 years. Her sons attended Sisters schools, and now her grandchildren are in the schools.
"We have a long connection with Sisters, back in the days you could go up one street and down the other, and someone would know your kids, and that's what is so great about a small town," she said.
Simmons comes from a diverse background having formerly held a teaching credential in English and social studies. She also worked as a stockbroker with a banking institution before moving to Sisters. Simmons spent 25 years in Humbolt County, California, and taught there after graduating from Cal Poly Humbolt.
"I understand the challenges teachers have, and I think we just have to work with the students, and we need to get them over the damage done during the pandemic time," she said.
Her first job when her family moved to Sisters was working at Richard's Farmstand for six years. Shortly after that, she opened her produce market, Schoolhouse Produce, in Redmond in 2008. She reopened the stand in 2020, and had a busy time with COVID.
Simmons served on the Sisters Park & Recreation District Board for two years as a board member and as secretary for part of that time.
"That was a good way for me to get used to public service," she said.
Simmons' children going to Sisters schools provided insight into how unique those schools are.
"They got a great education there and there was a lot of space for one-on-one instruction with the teachers," she said. "There was a real feeling of I could go to the school anytime I needed to see what was happening with their studies and their teachers."
She finds the personal touch at Sisters very special.
Simmons is running for School Board to be a hands-on member to help improve and encourage the unique programming that Sisters schools offer.
"I also want to encourage parents to go into the schools; that, for me, is vital and the parents get a say in what their education is all about. That is definitely one thing I will be working towards," said Simmons.
Simmons is now retired and has the time for the work. She noted, "I think it's really important for everyone to step up and do what they can, and I am stepping up and I want to help the schools and be there for the students," she said.
She also plans to run on a platform of advocating for going back to a fundamental curriculum with reading, writing, and arithmetic, and the basics that students need for a real sound education.
"We need to help the teachers do their jobs by going back to the basic curriculum," she said.
Another aspect of her platform is advocating and working with the Board and staff on the trades programs offered at the schools.
"You can't work on a car these days without computer skills. Everything is computer oriented," she said.
She is encouraging programs for students that aren't necessarily college-bound, but those wanting to work in trades involving engineering, mechanical, etc. In addition, Simmons sees the importance of integrating home economics classes into the schools, teaching students how to run a home.
Simmons is also going to be advocating for better nutrition offered to students and continuing to work with Audrey Tehan of Seed to Table in getting more nutritious, farm-fresh foods in front of students.
The safety of the schools and students is also a priority for Simmons.
Simmons is one of five candidates running for one of two open spots on the Sisters School Board in the upcoming May election.
The League of Women Voters (LWV) and City Club of Central Oregon will host a virtual forum with the candidates for Sisters School Board Positions 3 and 4 on April 13. The forum will be live-streamed via the City Club YouTube channel (youtube.com/c/cityclubofcentraloregon) at 6 p.m. You may also view the recorded forums on the CityClub and LWV Deschutes County YouTube channels. Submit questions by visiting events.cityclubco.org.
Questions may be submitted 48 hours before the forum.