My name is Sol Allen and I am running for the Newberg school board director for Zone 7. As a product of the Newberg public school system and the father of two children who will do the same, I have a vested interest in the success and vitality of Newberg public schools. While the last few years have had substantial impacts on our students, teachers, and staff, I believe it is time to reinvest the focus of the school board away from partisan politics and national talking points and back toward the needs of our students and our community. I believe we accomplish this by reducing the impact of money in the campaigning process, supporting parent and community involvement, and addressing specific educational needs.
Public education holds a special place in my life and my life story. Coming from a low-income family, with two working parents, I benefited from free and reduced lunches, after-school programs, and a support system of teachers, staff, and parents of friends to fill in the gaps that were created by my parents doing what they needed to keep our heads above water. This experience taugh me that schools are not only critical for educating our youth, but also for supporting the life skills that cannot be learned from a text book.
Soon after moving to Newberg in 1997, while I was attending Mable Rush elementary school, my dad passed away after a lengthy health battle during Christmas break of 5th grade. While there was a lot of pain, struggles, and difficult times, I was bolstered at school by my teachers, friends and wonderful office staff. I was given counseling during school hours that I would not have been able to otherwise afford, and was able to deal with this difficult situation with another student who had recently lost his dad as well. This highlighted the importance of creating nurturing communities for students to learn and grow, educationally, socially, and emotionally.
While I did not have a typical college experience, I earned my master’s degree in public policy from Oregon State University in 2022. This taught me the skills of inquiry, learning, researching, and analysis skills to work in an objective and effective manner to best address the issues our local public schools may face.