Multiple seats up for grabs across area school boards

As the May 18 Special Election nears, several area school boards have seats up for election, including Springfield, South Lane and Creswell boards, as well as Lane Community College. 

All seats in the SLSD are contested, as are most in Springfield, and no seats are contested in Creswell and Pleasant Hill. 

The Chronicle will be publishing candidate viewpoints and Q&A responses in upcoming editions.

Springfield School Board

Three seats are up for election in May on the Springfield School Board, and two are contested, including:

Position 3

-Chair Zachary Bessett is not running for re-election and five people have filed for the seat, including Samantha Alcantar, Steven Hadley, Jonathan Light, and Anthony Reed. 

-Samantha Alcantar is the director of Citywide Union de Activistas, a program of Community Alliance of Lane County. 

-Brandy Crosby is an electrician.

-Steven Hadley is a global director at quality assurance at Abcam, an international biotech company.

-Jonathan Light served on the Springfield School Board for 13 years. Light is a retired teacher and business owner. 

-Anthony Reed is a carpenter.

Position 5

-Lisa Barrager has been on the board since late 2019 and though her name is on the ballot, she has “decided not to run a campaign for re-election to the SPS board of directors and unfortunately was not able to remove my name from the ballot,” Barrager told The Chronicle. 


-Ruth Linoz is executive director at South Lane Wheels. 

-Kelly Mason is chair of the Community Development Advisory Committee of Springfield and is an academic adviser at the University of Oregon. 

Uncontested seat

-Emilio Hernandez is running again for his seat and is the only uncontested councilor. He has been on the school board since 2017 and works with at-risk youth through Direction Service, a nonprofit in Springfield that assists at-risk children. 

South Lane School Board 

Three positions are up for election, and all are contested, including: 

Position 2

-Taylor Wilhour has been on the school board since 2013. Wilhour serves as the co-vice chair and is assigned to the Cottage Grove High School and the Equity Committee. Wilhour is a small business owner of Velocity Velos in Cottage Grove and is a parent.

-Pam Duffy has also applied for Wilhour’s seat. Duffy is a retired administrative aide to the U.S. Secret Service and a senior claims examiner in the U.S. Department of Labor. 

Position 4

-Sherry Duerst-Higgins was first elected to the board in May 1988. She is the co-vice chair and is assigned to Dorena and Al Kennedy schools. She was formerly chair of Lane Education Service District; president of Oregon School Board; director of the Oregon School Activities Association; and executive member of the Lane Council of Governments. Duerst-Higgins has been a real-estate broker for 30 years.  

-Melanie Kidd-Enge Stuhmiller, a parent and small business owner, has also applied for Higgins’ position. She is the owner of Free Rein on Main Boutique and is a parent. 


Position 5

-Colleen Valley has reapplied for Position 5. She was appointed to fill the board opening in December 2020. She is a business owner and health and wellness specialist.

-Eric Benson is a colonel and assistant chief of staff in the United States Army Reserve.

Lane Community College

Zone 1

-Mark Boren is a part-time recruitment and retention coordinator at Lane Fire Authority. He serves as the board chair of the Fern Ridge School District Board; as a component district board liaison to the Lane Service Education District; on the Bushnell University Leadership and Ethics Advisory Board; and is a sports medicine advisory committee member on the Oregon School Activities Association.


-Thomas Jennings is an electrician. 

-Holli Johnson was appointed to the board in 2019. She is a coordinator of African American/Black Student Success program at the Lane Education Service District, and was chair of the education committee for NAACP. She was also an education director at St. Mark CME Church, and was secretary for the Oregon Association Financial Aid Administrators. 

Zone 5

-Al King is retired from a 40-year security investment career. King was a state representative for four years, a Springfield School Board member for 13 years and on the Lane Council of Governments board for 13 years.  

-Steve Mital is a sustainability director at the University of Oregon and was an EWEB commissioner for eight years. 


Zone 3

-Incumbent Mike Eyster is retired after working for 25 years with the University of Oregon and is running again for Zone 3. 

Zone 4

-Austin Folnagy is a business and employment specialist for the State of Oregon and was formerly on the Klamath Community College Board of Trustees and at the Southern Oregon Education Service District. 

Creswell School Board

Creswell School Board directors Lacey Risdal’s and David Eusted’s positions are up for election, as well as chair Mike Anderson. All but Eusted refiled, and Tim Rogers has applied for that position. 

 -Rogers was on the Creswell School Board from 2013-19, and served as chair and vice chair. He has been a site council member at Creswell Middle School since 2019. Rogers is a science laboratory and operations manager at Bushnell University.  

-Anderson has been a Creswell School Board director for six years, spent three years on Creswell City Council, and has worked in veneer sales for 40 years. 

-Risdal has been a director for 11 years. She works in the Public Works department as an administration director for the City of Eugene. 

Pleasant Hill School Board

-Curt Offenbacher, Jeff Bernardo and Steve Hammond’s seats expire, and only Hammond is running for re-election. Hammond has been a social worker for about 20 years, and has served on the school board for two years. 

-For the two open seats Rusty Rexius and Drew Gottfried have applied. Rexius is the co-president of Rexius Forest By-Products Inc. He was a member of the City of Eugene’s Sustainability Commission for seven years and was the co-chair of the City’s Sustainable Business Initiative. 

-Gottfried has been the school district’s Budget Committee member since 2019. He received bachelor’s degrees in business administration and economics from the University of Oregon, and is a director of finance at Northwest Community Credit Union. 



View this profile on Instagram


The Chronicle (@thechronicle1909) • Instagram photos and videos