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The Philomath School Board will swear in three new members this summer and it’s known who will occupy two of those seats with just one contested race in the May 18 special election. Position 1 candidate Rick Wells will be the veteran of the group in terms of past experience. Wells served as a board member for 16 years from 2003-19 but chose to not run in the last election.

The Philomath News sent each candidate five questions as part of a Q-and-A feature. Each candidate was limited to 100-word answers on each question.
Click on the links below to read the Q-and-A features for each School Board seat up for election:
Note: McGlinchy’s name appears on the ballot but he has withdrawn from consideration.

Meanwhile, Position 4 candidate Erin Gudge will be a newcomer to the board and is the other candidate running unopposed — although it’s not going to appear that way on the ballot. Joey McGlinchy announced recently that he will be moving out of the state after a job opportunity surfaced for his wife. McGlinchy couldn’t withdraw his name from consideration in time before ballots and voter pamphlets were printed.

That leaves one contested race with Joe Dealy, Brittany Kennedy and Abigail Kurfman vying for the Position 3 seat.

According to the Benton County Elections Office, ballots will begin to go out in the mail on Wednesday.

Current board members Greg Gerding, Jim Kildea and Shelley Niemann all chose to not run. Kildea leaves a 12-year run on the School Board after winning seats in 2009, 2013 and 2017. Gerding and Niemann both served single terms.

Each of the three seats carries four-year terms. The other two seats on the board are currently filled by Anton Grube and Karen Skinkis.

None of the three Position 3 candidates have any government experience. Dealy worked for several years as a math teacher in Philomath and as a math scoring director for the Oregon Department of Education. Kennedy serves as the grants manager for the Benton Community Foundation and in the past, worked as a recreation program coordinator and finance clerk for Adair Village. Kurfman worked as a teacher in Lebanon and Lincoln City and also has an occupational background in the areas of grant writing, technical writing and as a community organizer and trainer for an education advocacy group. 

Wells has been hauling wood byproducts and logs since 1983 and plans to retire. Besides the School Board, he has also been involved with the district through the Budget Committee.

Gudge is a graphic design specialist for Samaritan Health Services and has worked in that same profession in prior positions. She has been a volunteer for several years in the local schools. The School Board will be her first experience in government.

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