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State Board Members

Kimberly Howard, Chair

3rd Congressional District
Term: 7/1/2020 – 6/30/2024
Email: Kimberly Howard

Kimberly Howard heads Education Initiatives as part of the Corporate Social Responsibility Team at Portland General Electric and serves as Program Officer for the PGE Foundation. Prior to coming to PGE Kimberly was the Trust manager of the Oregon Cultural Trust for five years, managing director at Portland’s Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center before that and education/outreach director for Artists Repertory Theatre. She currently serves on the boards of The Center for Performance and Civic Practice, Portland Playhouse and Oregon Humanities. She has previously served on the board of Business for Culture & the Arts and currently represents Oregon on the Western States Arts Federation's Regional Multi-cultural Advisory Committee. Other committee work includes the CTE-STEM Employer Coalition, Oregon Learns and the Ninth Grade Counts Taskforce for All Hands Raised. Howard is an accomplished actress, with credits in New York, the Williamstown Theatre Festival and several Portland theaters. She has been an ensemble member of Sojourn Theatre for several years and received a Drammy Award (Portland’s version of the Tony Award) for her work in its production of Tartuffe: The Visitor. After attending Wellesley College, Howard received her BA from Pacific Union College, where she majored in business. She holds an MFA in acting from Columbia University and has taught theater at Walla Walla University.

Guadalupe Martinez Zapata, Vice Chair

1st Congressional District
Term: 7/1/2020 – 6/30/2024
Email: Guadalupe Martinez

Guadalupe Martinez Zapata is one of six siblings and the daughter of working-class parents with the highest aspirations and regard for education and civism. Guadalupe inherited this love and commitment to education and service and has made a life-long career of creating pathways of accessibility and equity for nontraditional student populations. Her firsthand experience, as well as being the parent of an underrepresented college student, has strengthened her advocacy for parents and students of color.

Guadalupe has been a college instructor at several institutions of higher education in Oregon for the past 19 years. She has served as full-time faculty in the counseling department at Clackamas Community College since 2000, as well as teaching Chicanx/Latinx studies at Portland Community College and Portland State University. Prior to instruction, Guadalupe worked in student services administration at Oregon State University, University of Oregon and California State University, Chico.

Guadalupe led the Oregon Leadership Institute for Latinx youth in the Clackamas Community College service district for seven years, graduating over 100 young leaders and providing peer and academic mentoring to each, as well as at PCC during the 2015-2016 academic year. She has been invited to speak and conduct trainings on issues of Latinx history, Chicana feminism, equity and access to higher education at a number of local and regional conferences, including the Cesar Chavez Leadership Conference, The Student Success and Retention Conference, TedxPacificUWomen Talk and the Women of Color Community Empowerment Conference at PCC, Rock Creek. Lupita, as her mother insisted people call her, served on the Oregon State University Alumni Association Board and the Clackamas County OSU Extension Board.

Ms. Martinez obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Oregon State University.

Bridgett Wheeler, 2nd Vice Chair

At Large Member
Term: 7/1/2020 – 6/30/2024
Email: Bridgett Wheeler 

Bridgett Wheeler is an enrolled member of the Coquille Indian Tribe and the current director of the Tribe’s education, culture, heritage and learning programs. In this role she works to develop and enhance their priority areas of education and culture. Bridgett has worked for the Tribe for 18 years in a number of capacities, including social services where she served as an advocate in multiple Department of Human Services’ advisory groups. She enjoys the opportunity to develop and shape policy- her true passion. 

Bridgett is a fervent advocate for the underrepresented, especially relating to needs for the Native American population. She understands the biases and issues that face minority populations, even those that cannot be studied, understood or articulated.

Bridgett holds a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts with the majority of her undergraduate courses in elementary education. She has lived within the Oregon Coquille River Valley watershed most of her life where her ancestors resided for thousands of years. She has four children and co-owns a small construction company with her husband in Myrtle Point, Oregon.

Jerome Colonna

2nd Congressional District
Term: 07/01/18- 06/30/22
Email: Jerome Colonna

Jerome Colonna recently retired from a long career in public education after serving as Superintendent of the Beaverton and Redmond School Districts and as Director of Secondary Education for the Eugene School District. Prior to working in administration he was a high and middle school science teacher in Alaska, California and Oregon.

Mr. Colonna was on the Executive Committee of the American Association of School Administrators, was President of Education Northwest (Ed.NW) and the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA) and Chair of the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission. He is a past recipient of Oregon’s Superintendent of the Year.

He lives in Bend with his wife, Linda, who is a retired science teacher. His daughter, Ann, works for Oregon State University’s Food Innovation Center. Currently Mr. Colonna is a strategic planning consultant for school districts in Oregon.

George Russell

4th Congressional District
Term: 7/1/2020 – 6/30/2024
Email: George Russell

George Russell was the Superintendent of the Eugene Public Schools 4J in Eugene, Oregon from March 1998 to July 2011. His educational background includes an undergraduate degree in Social Psychology from Howard University in Washington, DC; a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) from Golden Gate University in San Francisco; and additional graduate work in education policy and administration from the University of Oregon. Additionally, he completed the Superintendent Leadership Program (SLP) at Harvard University, a collaborative project between the Kennedy School of Government and the Graduate School of Education and has served as a mentor superintendent for the Harvard University Graduate School of Education’s Urban Superintendents Program and on the advisory board. Mr. Russell previously served on the Oregon Quality Education Commission, and the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) Board and continues to serve on a number of community boards. He has received numerous community and professional awards, and was recognized as Oregon Superintendent of the Year for 2005.

Jennifer Scurlock

At Large Member
Term: 9/23/19 - 6/30/2023
Email: Jennifer Scurlock

Jennifer Scurlock teaches AP English and English 11 in Eugene School District 4J. A leader in her union at the local, state, and national level, Scurlock is the Minority Affairs Director (MAD) for Eugene Education Association and serves as a Director on both the Oregon Education Association (OEA) and the National Education Association (NEA) Boards. Her passion for racial and social justice is reflected in her work conducting symposia and trainings for educators and community members. She is the recipient of the OEA Excellence in Education Award (2017) and was recently nominated for the 2019 ACE Award for “demonstrating an outstanding commitment to excellence in education.” Jennifer holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Development and a bachelor’s in English and Ethnic Studies (minor) from the University of Oregon. She and her husband have been married for 23 years and have two children.

Anthony Veliz

5th Congressional District
Term: 3/15/17-3/14/21
Email: Anthony Veliz

The son of farmworkers, Veliz has always understood the importance of an education. He carried his passion from the classroom to the community where he lives and works today. In the beginning Veliz served as a former school board and city councilor where he earned the trust of the community and worked with diversity, he then became the Director of Parent & Community Relations for the Woodburn School District.

Veliz has an array of work experiences in both the public and private sectors. His work as the former Community Relations Manager for the Beaverton based giant NIKE provided him both local and national perspectives. As the Director of College Access Programs while at Chemeketa Community College, Veliz was able to assist first generation, low-income and migrant students.

Today, Veliz is the founder of the annual Hispanic Heritage Month Breakfast and Networkin’it, a diversity and inclusion professional after-hour networking event. Anthony earned a master’s degree from the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, RI and a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Portland State University in Portland, OR.

Ex Officio Board Members

State Treasurer Tobias Read

Oregon's 29th State Treasurer

Tobias worked in the U.S. Treasury and as a liaison between designers, engineers and manufacturing units for Nike Inc. In 2006, he was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives, where he served a decade and championed legislation to invest in public education, improve state financial management, finance critical infrastructure, and to help Oregonians save for a more secure future. He was elected Speaker Pro Tempore and earned the chairmanship of the Committee on Higher Education, Innovation, and Workforce Development.

As a legislative leader, he pushed to strengthen the state’s rainy day fund, which was a key factor that helped the state to earn a credit rating upgrade in 2011. He also helped lead the coalition that ultimately approved full-day kindergarten, underscoring that one of Oregon’s best possible investments is in our kids.

In 2015, he was a chief sponsor of the Oregon Retirement Savings Plan, which will be the first operating state-sponsored retirement program when it launches in mid-2017. The plan will enroll Oregon workers who lack access to a retirement savings option through their employers.

Tobias earned his bachelor’s degree from Willamette University and his MBA from the University of Washington. He has been a volunteer for Start Making a Reader Today (SMART), a youth sports coach, a member of the Willamette University Athletic Director's Advisory Board, and a founding board member of Hoopla, Oregon's largest three-on-three charity basketball tournament.

He lives in Beaverton with his wife Heidi and their two children.

Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan

Shemia Fagan is Oregon’s 28th Secretary of State, a position she was first elected to in 2020. In her role, Secretary Fagan oversees an agency that is critical to ensuring Oregonians can participate in their democracy, protecting the state's scarce resources, helping facilitate the creation and maintenance of small businesses, and building an awareness of the whole story of Oregon.

Prior to serving as Secretary of State, Fagan, who is a civil rights attorney, served as a member of the Oregon House of Representatives from 2013 until 2017, and a member of the Oregon Senate from 2019 until 2020. During her time in the Legislature, Secretary Fagan was an active proponent of expanding access to the ballot, including helping to pass Oregon’s landmark Motor Voter Law and National Popular Vote and working to strengthen the nation’s most successful vote-by-mail system. She has also been a key ally in protecting the rights of Oregonians of all walks of life, advancing affordable housing legislation, and ensuring economic opportunity is afforded to every corner of Oregon.

A lifelong Oregonian, Secretary Fagan is the mother of two young children.

State Board Advisors

Superintendent Advisor Heidi Sipe

Heidi Sipe serves as the Superintendent of the Umatilla School District. Born and raised in Eastern Washington, she began her work in Eastern Oregon in 2000 and has developed a deep passion for rural education, especially for students of poverty and emerging bilingual students. She believes that rural students have limitless potential but are often restricted by reduced access to resources. To counter this, Sipe is committed to After-School and STEAM programming to help students gain access to new ideas and develop interests in their communities, and beyond.

Sipe previously chaired the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission, served on the Oregon Taskforce on School Funding and the Oregon Educator Advancement Council. She is currently one of two Oregon representatives on the Governance Board for AASA (the national School Superintendents Association) and she remains active in COSA (the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators). Sipe took a leave of absence from Umatilla to serve as the Assistant Superintendent for the Oregon Department of Education in fall of 2012 where she oversaw the Office of Educational Improvement and Innovation before returning to her district in spring of 2013.

Heidi received her Bachelors of Arts in Reading from Eastern Washington University and her administrative credentials and Ed.S in Educational Leadership from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Sipe is married to a fellow educator and has two grown children, who are also educators.

School Board Advisor Brandy Penner

Brandy Penner serves as the Newberg School Board chair and represents Yamhill and Polk counties on the Oregon School Board Association board of directors. As a board member, she strives to serve every student in the region by listening, learning, and advocating for students’ needs. She strongly believes in public education as a foundation for democracy.

Brandy is a small farm owner, married, mom of three in addition to her board service. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Organizational Leadership at Gonzaga University and supporting her 8th, 5th, and 3rd graders in distance learning. Being a parent gives her perspective on her constituent experiences in real-time. She is a proud graduate of Washington State University, where she majored in social work. She carries these experiences with her in every situation and is a firm believer that everyone has strengths to build upon.

Penner is passionate about equity in education and ending the opportunity gap for all students across the state. She brings a rural perspective to the state board and believes that all students deserve to learn in safe and supportive schools. She works to that end by serving on the Newberg School Board’s Equity committee, Policy committee, the NPS School-Based Health Clinic committee, and the OSBA Policy committee.

State Board Student Advisors

Yosalin Arenas Alvarez

Yosalin Arenas Alvarez is a proud Latina senior at South Medford High School. She served as the Student Body President last year and is now on to her second term. As the Student Body President she aims to create a united, inclusive and accepting atmosphere for all students. She strongly believes in listening, understanding, and observing before taking action.

Having a family of seven has taught her the importance of creating change with the help of the recipients that are impacted by the situation. She is a full time student dedicated to helping others, while still participating in many other community activities. These activities/events consist of hosting blood drives, setting up meetings with local and federal legislators through the Capitol Ambassadors program and TRiO Talent Search Program, and being part of the committee of S.T.A.R (a civil rights and equity committee for school activities).

Her involvement in these programs and committees have enabled her to become a mediator as a voice for her community. Her dedication and commitment to helping others feel included and safe will continue to be the fuel for her growth in knowledge. Yosalin Arenas Alvarez looks forward to continuing her work as a Student Advisor on the State Board of Education.

Mahina Novoa

Mahina Novoa, a current senior at Clackamas High School, was born in Santa Clara, California to a single teen mom. She is proud to be multi-racial, a combination of Salvadorian, Hawaiian, Philipino, Native American, and Mexican. Mahina spent her childhood battling homelessness, moving throughout California, Nevada, and Arizona; from shelters, to friends and family members’ couches, to motels. Despite these obstacles, she was focused on getting out of poverty and creating a better future.

When reconnecting with a former Principal on social media, she was offered the opportunity to finish high school in Oregon under her care. At 16, she left Arizona with her life packed away in three suitcases and moved to Oregon on her own. She maintains a 3.7 GPA, has won several 1st place Speech and Debate awards in Poetry and Prose, and is her high school’s Student Body Co-Vice President. She is also a National Honor Society member, and, most importantly, an active advocate for students of color, equity, and diversity education.

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