City & Government

Candidate Column: Taylor Wilhour for South Lane School Board

My name is Taylor Wilhour and I’m running for re-election to the South Lane School Board. My wife and I moved to Lane County in 2006 when our first child was just a toddler and we have grown to love this community more and more over the years. I’m proud to call this my home. We have three kids now, one each in elementary, middle school and high school, so I am involved at every level of our school district.

In my two terms on the board we have seen strong growth and improvement in many areas. We refinanced our debt at a much lower rate, had the highest graduation rate of any comparable high school in the state, built a beautiful new elementary school, hired an interim and then a long-term superintendent, remodeled the swimming pool and added a warm-water pool, and so much more. Through sound fiscal management, we were able to gain significant additional dollars from the bond measure that passed a few years ago. We leveraged that money into district-wide upgrades to technology and security and much-needed maintenance that had been put off because of years of budget cuts.  

South Lane is highly respected throughout the state as an innovative district that pioneers new approaches and procedures and is an incubator for talented leaders in education. Even in hard times like these our professionalism and dedication to all of our students show through. Despite having a superintendent who was hired right as the Covid pandemic hit us, we were able to quickly put together a plan to keep kids learning through the end of last school year. This has been described as building the plane while flying it and we did it because we had to find a way to serve our students. Over the summer, we designed a more involved, robust plan for learning from home (CDL), another plan for being in class part-time (hybrid learning), and plans for transitioning quickly between the two. It was an enormous load for our admin and staff to create and implement this plan and they have met the challenge admirably. Other districts throughout Oregon have looked to SLSD for guidance as they created plans of their own. 

It’s been a tough year for us all. We are doing as much as we can for our kids and eagerly await a return to normality so we can do more. Distance learning has been hard and we know that many kids are behind where they need to be and that some have vanished from the system completely. SLSD is already working to implement plans to help our students catch up and to bring the ones we’ve lost back into the classroom.  

I am a thoughtful, dedicated board member who does my homework, comes prepared, offers suggestions, asks tough questions, and makes decisions based on the best available information.

I have been involved as a parent and chess coach since 2007 and a board member since 2013. I am excited about the way we are leading once again with regard to expansion of opportunities and programs for pre-K, vocational education (CTE), equity, and professional development for staff at all levels. Please send me back to the boardroom to continue this important work.



View this profile on Instagram


The Chronicle (@thechronicle1909) • Instagram photos and videos