Vancouver, WA — Vancouver Victory FC enters its sixth year with the hiring of Biniam Afenegus and Stan Rodriquez as co-Head coaches as they prepare for another title run. They won the EPLWA championship in 2016.

Afenegus is a familiar name to Victory supporters. Having coached the team in 2014 and 2015, Coach Afenegus steered the Victory ship during the team’s first two years. A USSF A Licensed coach and current coach at George Fox University, Afenegus is excited to once again join the Victory as co-head coach.

“This team holds a special place in my heart and I look forward to once again compete in the EPLWA with the Victory men,” said Afengus.

Soccer
Vancouver Victory FC last season. Photo by Alan Moditz.

Rodriguez comes to the Victory from Adams State University — a D2 program in Colorado. With local roots (Westside Timbers & Clark College) Coach Rodriguez is no stranger to the area.

“I’m absolutely grateful to Victory management for allowing me to return home to coach alongside fellow collegiate colleague Biniam Afenegus. I look forward to bringing in great athletes from local and afar in order to make this a successful season,” said Rodriquez, a USSF B licensed coach.

Vancouver Victory FC was founded prior to their inaugural 2014 Evergreen Premier League (EPLWA) season. The team’s name and crest pay tribute to the rich history of Vancouver, Washington, honoring the Victory Ships that were built to aid the American effort in World War II. The team’s crest features a Victory Ship and two rows of five and seven stars to honor 1857, the year Vancouver was incorporated.

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Comprised of current, former, and aspiring college players, the Vancouver Victory represents the highest level of soccer available in SW Washington. The team competes in the Evergreen Premier League and appeared won the championship match in 2016. The season runs from April through July and trainings are held on Tuesdays & Thursdays at Harmony Sports Complex.

To learn more, visit www.VancouverVictoryFC.com

Soccer

Vancouver, WA — The law firm, McKeanSmith LLC, officially moved into their spacious new offices at the stunning Vancouver Waterfront on April 1, and they couldn’t be happier.

“I love the fact that Vancouver is reclaiming its waterfront,” said Collin McKean, the firm’s co-founder. “I find that being next to water is an inspiring place to be. I grew up living on a body of water and it’s a great way to give clients a calming location to do our work and help them through their life transitions.”

The firm, established in 2015, moved their nine employees from their downtown Vancouver office to the fifth floor of the Murdock Tower, which has commanding views of the Columbia River and the I-5 bridge. The nearly 3,800 square foot space gives McKeanSmith room to grow. Their Vancouver office provides legal services in the following areas: family law (including collaborative family law), employment law, business law, general litigation, and criminal law. They also have offices in Portland and Hillsboro.

“As lawyers, we work hard, sometimes long hours for our clients, and it’s important to be in a place you like to be in,” said McKean. “Given we have a front row seat to the waterfront, we’ve taken a unique approach to the gathering space. The location is also comforting to our clients, who are often going through major life changes.”

The move is also a reflection of the firm’s positive momentum.

“We have a good reputation so we continue to get referrals in from our clients for family law work, and our attorneys are very active in the community,” said McKean. “We value them, and invest in small businesses and support them. We’re looking to increase our employment law practice and support for small businesses. We’re handling typical small business issues with transactional litigation needs.”

And, their work isn’t going unnoticed by their peers.

“We’re proud our lawyers have been recognized in Vancouver for Best Lawyer designations. Annelisa Smith, Deanna Rusch, and I are Super Lawyer Rising Stars,” said McKean. “We’re also ranked top tier in the Portland/Vancouver metro area by US News and World Report, which ranks all firms.”

The office, with its modern touches, brings in a lot of natural light, and a nearly 180 degree view of the waterfront and downtown Vancouver.

McKeanSmith
From left: Allison Smith, Loa Ma’O, Kayla Warr, Collin McKean, Rick Francisco, Jeffrey D. Ott, Krystal Provencher.

“The office offers a calm and serene location and atmosphere because whether they’re new or existing they’re all in some form of turmoil, so you can’t underestimate the importance of that,” said Rusch. “I have a beautiful view of Mt. Hood, the river and the I-5 Bridge, and kind of just the whole eastern part of the waterfront development that is still under construction. I like watching the boats go by.”

“Family law was the cornerstone of the practice so that was really what they had been doing. Since then, Collin especially has grown into other practice areas. So, when I joined the firm in October 2017 it was to continue my family law practice, which is mostly in Clark County. I represent anyone, mostly in divorces, and my clients range from little to no assets to high assets.”

And, as part of their commitment to small business and things local, the firm invested heavily in local art to adorn their new office space.

Rusch put partners McKean and Smith in touch with Maria Gonser, owner of Attic Gallery in downtown Camas. Gonser works with local artists, and assisted them with the whole process, even taking a Sunday afternoon to hang the artwork in entrance, hallway, and conference room.

“The art on left-hand side in the conference room are from the Sandra Jones Campbell Pendleton series,” said Gonser. “She had 30 paintings in that series. The pieces on the other side are all from Pendleton. The ‘Broad Shoulders’ cowboy is her father. The ones on the right are inspired from old photographs. She’ll get a series of photographs from a particular era and she recreates those pictures in her paintings.”

McKeanSmith also bought an Earl Hamilton abstract, wood carvings by Monica Setziol-Phillips, and a massive piece by Cedar Lee.

“Collin and Annelisa went through this process with great detail,” said Rusch. “I’m very appreciative of their support and follow through.”

To learn more about their practice, please visit www.McKeanSmithLaw.com

McKeanSmith
McKeanSmith co-founder, Collin McKean sits by a window overlooking the Columbia River.
McKeanSmith
The interior is decorated with art mostly from Attic Gallery in Camas.

CAMAS, WA — After several years, Camas City Council is bringing back ward meetings to encourage residents to share ideas, concerns, and questions with the elected officials who represent their geographic area.

“As community and regional growth continues, the City of Camas wants to make sure that all residents keep having a voice in the issues that affect them,” said Mayor Shannon Turk. “I believe the smaller setting of local ward meetings will have a big impact on making valuable connections across Camas.”

Residents are encouraged to locate their ward by visiting the Clark County Maps Online website, clicking the Search tab and entering their street address or tax ID number.Ward meetings will occur twice this year, once in the spring and once in the fall. The first set of upcoming ward meetings will be held in April and May 2019, as follows:

  • Ward 1 – Sat., April 27, 1-3 pm, with Council Members Deanna Rusch and Melissa Smith, at Camas City Hall Council Chambers, 616 NE 4th Ave.
  • Ward 2 – Sun., May 19, 12:30-2 pm, with Council Members Bonnie Carter and Steve Hogan, at Camas City Hall Council Chambers, 616 NE 4th Ave.
  • Ward 3 – Mon., April 29, 7-8:30 pm, with Council Members Ellen Burton and Greg Anderson, at Dorothy Fox Elementary Library, 2623 NW Sierra St.

The format of the spring ward meetings will be casual to allow residents to bring their own ideas, concerns and questions for discussion with their council members as well as the Council Member at Large Don Chaney and the mayor. The format of the fall meetings will be more structured, with a set topic that is specific to the ward. Council members from other wards will attend one another’s meetings to get a sense of key themes across the community; however, they will not take part in the discussion.

“By trying out various formats, we hope to see what works best for the citizens and council/mayor to communicate on ideas and issues,” said Turk.

Starting in 2013, the annual September State of the Community event was launched to replace ward meetings, which ceased in 2011 due to decreased attendance. The event is held each September and features presentations by the mayor, Camas School District superintendent and other local leaders such as the Port of Camas-Washougal director. The event is expected to remain part of the City’s public outreach continuum.

The decision to reinstate ward meetings was inspired by the success of recent town hall meeting with state legislators.

About City of Camas

Located in eastern Clark County, City of Camas is home to approximately 23,000 residents. Camas boasts a vibrant historic downtown, approximately 60 miles of trails, numerous hi-tech manufacturing industries, and a state-leading educational system. From its origins over 100 years ago as a paper mill town, Camas continues to successfully blend a mix of cultures, values, and vision. For more information, visit www.cityofcamas.us

Olympia, WA — Earlier today (April 19) in the House Finance Committee, the 9-4 Democrat majority voted to increase taxes on Washingtonians by more than $4 billion over the next four years. The new taxes approved by the committee include:

·         A capital gains income tax;

·         A Business and Occupation tax surcharge on services;

·         A graduated real estate excise tax; and

·         A change to the nonresident sales tax exemption, turning it into an annual remittance program.

Eighteenth District Republican Reps. Brandon Vick and Larry Hoff, who recently co-authored two op-eds in opposition to new and increased taxes, issued the following statement Friday afternoon:

“Despite record revenues, a $3 billion surplus, and voters rejecting tax increases time and time again at the ballot box, the majority party continues to show blatant disregard for anything resembling fiscal sanity. If these new taxes are signed into law, along with the House majority’s proposed spending plan, we will not only have ignored voters’ wishes, but we will also have increased spending by 70 percent since 2013.

“Here locally, residents in the 18th District and across Clark County will be hurt if the state’s nonresident sales tax exemption is turned into an annual remittance program. Hindering cross-border competition will result in businesses closing, jobs being lost, and more families struggling to make ends meet.

“We don’t believe taking money out of taxpayers’ wallets and making our state less competitive is going to improve the prospects of Washingtonians in Clark County or anywhere else. Our state’s policy goals can be achieved within existing revenues without making cuts to necessary programs. We call on the majority party to revise its approach to budgeting and fund our shared priorities with the record revenues we currently have.”

The 2019 legislative session is scheduled to adjourn Sunday, April 28.

Lifetime Promotions, the region’s Dippin’ Dots distributor, is pleased to announce they’re managing the snack bar at Harmony Sports Complex as part of a multi-year agreement with the Washington Timbers Football Club.

“One of our goals is to raise $20,000 for the Washington Timbers,” said Dennis Beffehr, the owner/operator of Lifetime Promotions. “The snack bar will proudly serve Dippin’ Dots and a whole lot more. We’ve been working on the menu, and want to provide good service to all the athletes, and all their family and friends.”

Their big opening is this Saturday, April 20, and the snack bar will open at 7 am every Saturday and stay open until the last game — all throughout the summer season. And, they’ll proudly be serving Hidden River Roasters coffee, which is based in Camas.

“Dennis and the Timbers already have a nice partnership with his ice cream entity and his donations to the club, and we thought it would it great to continue that relationship long-term and give them a permanent location,” said Michelle Beard, Soccer Operations Manager for the Timbers. “The money they will raise will go toward our scholarship program to help those in need to play soccer. I would encourage families to check it out, and know that it’s part of the Washington Timbers program. There will be more options. Money spent there is a direct benefit to the club.”

Washington Timbers FC serves thousands of youth throughout Clark County with their numerous athletic programs and events. To learn more, visit www.WashingtonTimbers.com

Menu items:

Lifetime Promotions
Snack Bar Menu.
Concessions
Lifetime Promotions will be managing the concessions stand at Harmony Sports Complex.

As Camas School District (CSD) grapples with an $8.2 million budget deficit, the School Board listened to a budget committee update Monday night that outlined nine major considerations to resolve the challenging financial issues.

Mike True and Mary Tipton, who volunteer on Superintendent Jeff Snell’s special budget committee, explained in detail the methodologies used to analyze the thorny issues in front of them, as well as their commitment to finding the best possible solutions.

The special budget committee was formed to take a deep dive into how CSD spends its money, find ways to reduce expenses, and ultimately provide Snell with overall considerations on how to balance the budget, which was thrown into chaos following “McCleary” legislation, legislative fixes, loss of voter-approved levies, and collective bargaining agreements. Approximately 225 of the state’s 295 districts are dealing with similar budget deficits.

School board member Connie Hennessey said that although the process is painful, she also sees this as an opportunity to shine light on inefficiencies throughout CSD. Seventeen community members, from various and diverse backgrounds, are on the committee who meet regularly to find solutions. The urgency of their work is in part because the current bargaining agreement stipulates certificated staff must receive layoff notices by May 15.

“We’re dealing with extraordinary circumstances and I appreciate everyone on this committee,” said True. “This isn’t easy work, but we don’t want to bury our heads, this is our community, and we want you to know our desire is to preserve as many programs as possible — we don’t want to cut programs entirely as they will be hard to bring back.”

Scholarship
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He also emphasized this is a year-to-year approach, as CSD doesn’t know how future legislation could change the funding model.

True addressed the first four points, which are as follows:

1) Use of Fund Balance:
a. Using fund balance allows CSD to address the budget gap over two years.
b. Access fund balance in year 1 (2019-20) at a reasonable level, but could potentially lead to additional reductions in 2020-21.
c. The committee believes it’s important to maintain the fund balance at 5 percent of the annual operating budget. This allows for emergencies and 2-4 weeks of continued operations in the event the state doesn’t provide funding in a timely manner.
d. Future justified uses of fund balance may include preservation of programs, additional of staff to reduce overload, where justified and appropriate, and short-term opportunities where there is a known strategy to refund.
e. Future uses reducing unrestricted fund balance levels below 5 percent are not recommended for addition of programs, addition of staff, or compensation increases for existing positions.

2) Advocate for legislation that provides sustainable district funding.

3) Work towards preservation of CSD program opportunities for students during the funding model transition, which includes the following:
a. Avoid cutting entire programs.
b. Establish program evaluation metrics for future analysis of impact and efficiency.
c. Pursue opportunities to enhance program support funding from PTA/CEF/Boosters and other supporting organizations and initiatives.

4) Preserve student access to counselors.

Budget Deficit
School board members listen to budget committee members Monday night.

Tipton addresses points five to nine, which are as follows:
5) Close staffing alignment to the state prototypical school funding model while preserving the goals of CSD. Reduce teacher on special assignment staff to a minimum level that keeps support for target district initiatives.
a. Protect class size — contractual class size target
Elementary: 24
Middle School: 30
High School: 31
b. Manage staffing to avoid increased overload, as defined in collective bargaining agreement.

6) Maintain appropriate security levels and protocols.

7) Reduce non-staff expenses: 7.5 percent reduction goal.

8) When pursuing capital projects, continue to consider the impact on operating expenditures.

9) As future funding becomes available, consider the following:
a. Prioritize service levels to our students, community and staff.
b. Prioritize program and extracurricular funding for students.
c. Growth of fund balance to appropriate levels.

“This is our report about our guidance to Jeff, who will be finalizing his recommendations to the board in the next few weeks,” said Tipton. “We’ve had a board member at every budget committee meeting, for which we are grateful.”

True said the committee members all come from different places and levels of understanding.

“I’ll go on the record and say that Mary and I have made a three-year commitment to be a part of this,” said True. “As processes move on, we’ll continue to look at fund balance and uses within that fund balance. It’s not an enjoyable process. There will be reductions.”

School Board member, Corey McEnry, said: “We’re thankful for so many stakeholders as we wrap our heads around this.”

Budget committee members present in the meeting acknowledged the challenges they face with making the considerations. “It’s really hard to understand,” said one member.

The School Board voted unanimously in favor of Resolution 12-03, which is a Modified Educational Program that authorizes Snell to move forward with a budget model.

Snell said he will continue to work with legislators advocating for better funding, and that CDS staff will work through the budget committee’s considerations to draft staffing models for the upcoming school year.

The Washington Timbers Women’s First Team are ready to once again provide a summer of quality soccer with hopes to avenge their 3-1 loss to the Seattle Stars FC in last season’s Northwest Premier League (NWPL) championship.

“I’m very proud of what this team has done in two years, competing for the championship both years has established a culture of success that people want to be a part of,” said Executive Director, Sean Janson.  

On June 1st, the Timbers are hosting a rematch of last season championship match against the Stars.

“Coming to the Timbers from Seattle United, I’m very familiar with the quality of players in the Seattle area and I look forward to facing the Stars in a couple months,” said Coach Evan Gaul.

The Timbers open their 2019 season against the NCW Alliance FC on May 5th while hosting their first home match of the season on May 18th against the Capital FC.

Coach Gaul took the reins from Kat Tarr, who stepped down due to the birth of her daughter. Coach Gaul looks to continue the tremendous success of the team witnessed under Tarr, who led the team to two championship appearances and winning it all in 2017. Coach Gaul has experience coaching high-level women’s soccer having coached in the National Women’s Soccer League with the Seattle Reign FC.

“With my experience coaching at the top Women’s level, I will bring a competitive platform for the team to be successful,” said Gaul.

Comprised of current, former and aspiring college players, the Washington Timbers First Team represents the highest level of women soccer available in Southwest Washington. The NWPL is comprised of teams from throughout the state of Washington and includes Capital FC out of Salem, Oregon.

The Timbers play their home matches at the Harmony Sports Complex on NE 18th St & NE 192nd Ave in Vancouver, and their season runs from April to July. For more information, please visit their website at http://www.washingtontimbers.com/nwpl or visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WashingtonTimbersFC/

Washington Timbers FC 2019 Schedule 
Date Opponent Time 
May 5th NCW Alliance FC
May 12th Yakima United FC
May 18th Capital FC 5 pm
June 1st Seattle Stars FC 3 pm
June 8th Blackhills FC 
June 15th Twin City Union 5 pm
June 22nd Olympic Peninsula Force
June 30th Washington Premier FC 3 pm
Bold denotes a home match 

Camas, WA, —On Sunday, April 28th from 1-4pm, Downtown Camas will have a “spring cleaning” with weeding, litter pick up and flower planting. The Downtown Camas Association (DCA) invites community members to come share in this annual grass roots effort. Journey Community Church in downtown invites the volunteers to come early at 12:30pm for a grilled burger and hot dog lunch served by Journey volunteers.

In honor of Earth Day, which was started by Camas native Denis Hayes, the Downtown Camas Association, volunteers, local students, Journey Church, City of Camas staff, and other community members will be helping with:

•  Sidewalk and landscape bed clean-up

•  Weeding

•  Planting flowers and plants

•  Bark dust spreading

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Volunteers meet in front of Journey at 4th & Birch (304 NE 4thto sign in. Journey will be serving lunch to volunteers starting at 12:30pm. All ages welcome to volunteer. Bring your own shovels, spades, buckets, wheelbarrows and garden gloves. Wheelbarrows are especially needed. Garbage bags and rubber gloves are provided for litter pick up. 

“We love to see the transformation of our town within just a few hours,” says Carrie Schulstad, DCA Executive Director. “Everyone comes together in a grass roots way, has fun and gets to see what a difference they make in the aesthetic and charm of our downtown. All ages can participate. Thank you to the City of Camas for all your help, to Journey Church for providing lunch and to all the wonderful volunteers that come rain or shine to beautify the town we love.”

The downtown improvements are done just in time to make downtown shine for the Annual Camas Plant & Garden Fair in Downtown Camas on Saturday, May 11th.

At the Camas City Council workshop meeting Monday night, the council unanimously gave direction to city staff to prepare a general obligation bond this November to fund the construction of a new aquatics center.

The news is a major breakthrough in the years-long battle to build a new aquatics center to accommodate the growing demands of all competitive and recreational swimmers, as well as address learn-to-swim and health-related programs.

“We gave staff direction to look at the Buhman property, which is adjacent to Fallen Leaf Lake, across from Heritage Park,” said Camas Mayor, Shannon Turk. “The land, which is just over six acres, is already owned by the City of Camas, and Camas residents have made it very clear they want a new pool. I feel this is a positive step forward.”

Monday’s motion gives staff direction to prepare a general obligation bond that will be presented to voters on the November ballot. The general obligation bond would fund the construction of the new aquatics center.

“Council will look at other sites in Camas, as well, and to look at getting a general obligation bond, which is putting a vote to the people on whether they would be willing to pay for a new pool,” said Turk.

Aquatics Center
Archived plans for a pool site near Fall Leaf Lake.

Over the past several months, Camas has been meeting with Washougal to build a community center that has a pool, and Turk said it was time to change the direction.

“Although we’re not saying no to a partnership with Washougal, we feel it’s in our best interest to go forward without them,” said Turk. “The meetings with Washougal weren’t moving this forward.”

City Council member, Melissa Smith, agreed.

“The bond amount hasn’t been determined, and this directs staff to look at property and put in a phased approach,” said Smith. “Timing is in November, and we would have to know the bond amount by August 6.”

Smith added there is potential to buy surrounding parcels, but that’s very preliminary.

“We could accommodate the needs for a 50,000 square foot pool facility,” said Smith. “If we went further and wanted to add more, there would be potential for that.”

Turk said this general obligation bond would be offset by the retiring of the Camas Public Library general obligation bond, which happens in 2019. “This bond would be offsetting,” she said.

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Smith said the city staff will also exhaust every possible site, and that preparing this for the November ballot is a super tight timeframe, but doable.

“We have to take advantage of the momentum,” said City Council member, Don Chaney. “Shannon embraces this. We have a chance to do it. If the people say no, they say no. The challenge will be to make the timeline. The community will see that we heard them.”

The city has made numerous failed attempts to build a new aquatics center over the years, but Turk is determined.

“We’re not going to fail anymore,” said Turk.

Chaney said this location is optimum.

“People talk about location,” said Chaney. “I have a different view, it has to be a destination. It’s like Crown Park, and a competitive pool will bring money to downtown. This plan has full council support. We are re-engineering the intersection there, and that will be a big improvement. It was a great meeting today. Everyone should be happy with that meeting.”

Aquatics Center
A pool concept used in Camas pool planning.

Camas has been feeling the effects of losing access to aquatic centers over the past two years. First, the Crown Park Pool was closed, and then Camas High School swim teams were no longer allowed to use the Lacamas Athletic Club’s pool.

“It’s been a real challenge,” said Dave Peddie, a part of the 2018 State Champion Camas High School Boys Swim team. “Losing our home pool hurt us.”

Local residents have also been dismayed at losing the Crown Park Pool, feeling like their children are missing out on great summertime experiences, as well as the loss of valuable swimming lessons.

“This is great news,” said Darlene Lumbard, Head Coach of Columbia River Swim Team. “This is a chance to build a pool for everyone. We can all come together with a good design to reach all the things our community needs. A center encompasses all kinds of things with a competitive pool. Building the right aquatics center will have everything from competitive to therapeutic. It should have all the necessary programming.

“A well-run aquatics center has a private team, a high school team, recreation, learn to swim, scuba, kayak training, water therapy, silver sneakers. I would prefer a deep end because you can do so much more with a deep end. You can do synchro, diving, and water polo. This is a great opportunity to build the right pool. There’s no diving in the community, and there are a lot of gymnasts here. The deep end should go into a five foot, and then maybe with an L to it, where you have your learn-to-swim pool. You can put in your therapeutic work there, as well. This is so exciting!”

The next article will look at aquatics center design options and what they can do for a community.

Gallery: Examples of Aquatics Centers

Washougal, WA — Dr. Mary Templeton, Washougal School District (WSD) Superintendent, was recently selected a 2018-19 “Superintendent to Watch” by the National Schools Public Relations Association.  She will be recognized this summer at the 2019 NSPRA Seminar in Washington D.C. with the 14 other honorees from around the nation.

The award recognizes district leaders with less than five years of experience as a superintendent who exemplify dynamic, fast-paced leadership with strong communication at its core.  Templeton was hired in Washougal in July of 2018 and is a first-time superintendent. She previously worked as a teacher for 15 years and an administrator in Spokane for the last 11.

“Communication is critical for letting our stakeholders know about the great things that are happening in our schools,” said Templeton. “It is exciting to help Washougal rise to become one of the top performers in the state of Washington.”

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the transformational leadership, community engagement, and relationship building Mary is engaged in,” said Cory Chase, WSD Board President, in a letter of recommendation sent in support of Templeton’s nomination.  “She has demonstrated dynamic leadership, fast-paced decision making, and shown the value of strong communications in the district’s efforts. I’m proud of our district and am certain that Mary is on the right track to help us achieve great things.”

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In his letter he went on to site examples of Templeton’s efforts including her connections with civic groups, parents and staff, her work to lead development of a new strategic plan, and her communications efforts during and at the conclusion of bargaining with the local teacher union.

“As one of several new superintendents in the region this year, Mary quickly became a highly respected leader among her peers,” said Tim Merlino, Superintendent Educational Service District 112 in his letter of
recommendation. “Her knowledge and passion for education, coupled with a dynamic energy and warmth, has made her one of the ‘go-to’ superintendents in Southwest Washington.”

He went on to point out that Templeton’s style of “leading through listening” is a quality greatly admired by the more than 400 WSD employees she guides.

“Mary effectively utilizes all communication strategies, both new technologies and traditional vehicles, to reach her audiences,” he said. “While her involvement in big-picture state-level education issues is admirable, she also takes time to visit one-on-one with a variety of stakeholders. She has made it her number one priority to get to know staff, parents and community members through conversations and in informal settings. She is always present in schools, hallways, classrooms, and athletic and performing arts events.”

“Our future is bright in Washougal,” said Templeton.  “And with a continued focus on communication, we will make sure the community is involved with us as we exceed our own expectations and aspire toward excellence.”