City & Government

Springfield School Board Biographies and Columns

Anthony Reed, Position 4 

Age: 36 

Hometown: Oakridge, Ore.

Marital status: Married 

Partner occupation: Teacher 

Children: Teens in public school 

Ward neighborhood: Ward 6 


Education: Journeyman carpenter through PNCI 

Occupation(s): Carpenter 

Current employer: Lease Crutcher Lewis 

Private sector work experience: Commercial construction 

Previous unsuccessful runs for office: Springfield School Board 2021 

Education is too important to be hijacked! Our students need and deserve school board directors who are invested in improving our schools and the education they provide. 

The sad truth is that there are people and organizations purposely sowing confusion and divisiveness in school board elections to further their own agendas. 

I stand before our community offering myself in volunteer service and I have one goal: to help make Springfield School District better. 

I want to see Springfield residents put their politics aside and join together as a community to lift up our schools and empower our children’s’ future. Providing our children with a quality education, no matter where they live, should be something all of us can get behind. Together we can make Springfield School District a shining example of what happens when we put children first. 

I am a union carpenter by trade and I also went to college. I know that the college path is not for all students, so we must improve our Career and Technical Education programs to prepare them for the jobs they will work after graduation. Just as important as the education itself is building bridges to those jobs so our graduates can move seamlessly into the workforce into good paying jobs with benefits. I want to strengthen the District’s ties to the business community so we can create direct pathways for graduates to start careers and businesses to meet their labor demand with a quality workforce. 

Building things is what I do. I am asking you to join me in building the school district our children deserve. By working together as a community we can make Springfield a place where citizens are proud of their schools and confident their children are getting the best education possible. Thank you for your support. Let’s build!

Violet Olszyk, Position 1

Age: 32

Hometown: Concord, Calif.

Marital status: Married

Partner occupation: Teacher

Children: Five children, two in Springfield Public Schools


Education: California State University Long Beach, Bachelor, Arts

Occupation(s): Caregiver

Current employer: Gateway Gardens (Eugene)

Private sector work experience: Assistant Manager, Mystical Mayhem (Springfield)

As a parent with two kids in Springfield Public Schools, I am eager to get to work for all of our students. 

I have volunteer experience through the Boys’ Cub Scout Pack Volunteer and currently serve as a PTA Member at Maple Elementary.

My vision is that people move to Springfield because of the high-quality education that our students receive. Every child should be able to be read at a proficient level by the fourth grade.

 We must refocus our priorities on the basics of education: reading, writing, math, science, and history so that our students have the skills they need for a meaningful career.

We need to make sure to prioritize those who work with our kids every day to help them succeed. 

My husband is a teacher in Eugene so I know firsthand that teachers must have all the resources they need to best be able to help our kids thrive in the classroom. I will always have the backs of our teachers.

Parents must be a part of the solution to problems our students face. We need collaboration between parents, the school board, district employees, and teachers.

Finally, I want every student and member of staff to feel safe on our school campuses. 

My children’s school has done a good job of handling safety and discipline, but I know that other parents have not had the same experience. I will work hard to build on the quality that we already have in our district so that everyone feels safe.

Nicole De Graff, Position 4

Age: 49

Hometown: Phoenix, Ariz.

Marital status: Married

Partner occupation: Business owner

Children: Ages 16, 15, and 9


Education: Small business management, real estate

Occupation(s):  Education nonprofit volunteer: policy liaison and grassroots manager

Current employer: Oregon Moms Union

Public sector work experience: School board member: Willamette Leadership Academy Charter

Private sector work experience: Real estate and finance

Elected office held: Appointed school board member to WLA Charter

Previous unsuccessful runs for office: State representative in 2020 and 2022

I care deeply about the education of our kids. I’ve volunteered in classrooms and served on the Willamette Leadership Academy Charter School Board. 

In my work, I have advocated for parents, teachers and students. In the midst of teacher burnout, acrimony at neighboring school board meetings and pandemic policy learning losses, our kids deserve solutions, not politics.

We have many pressing priorities and need to make sure we are meeting the needs of all students from TAG to English learners to SPED to CTE students. We have some excellent programs; however, there are areas that need improvement. 

We must refocus on teaching the basics of education: math, science, reading, and writing. We must continue to invest in both our honors programs and programs that help our most vulnerable students such as those on an IEP.

Parents feel like they have been shut out of their child’s education. I am committed to rebuilding trust with parents in our district. If elected, I will push to make school curriculum available online so that parents can be more involved in their kids’ education.

Our kids should be able to feel safe from violence, drug abuse, and bullying on our school campuses. Teachers should have the proper support to be able to enforce discipline when needed. Other districts have removed school resource officers (trained law enforcement) from school campuses and have seen an increase in student violence and bullying. I will work to shore up this program so that all parents feel confident that they are sending their kids to a safe place to learn.

Ken Kohl, Position 1

Age: 63

Marital status: Married

Partner occupation: Teacher

Children: Ages 26, 28 and 32. All attended Springfield Public Schools


Education: Bachelor of Science, Agricultural Engineering, Oregon State University

Occupation(s): Professional engineer/project manager

Current employer: Retired

Public sector work experience: Various public agencies including Lane County Public Works, Waste Management Division and the Oregon Department of Transportation

Private sector work: Various consulting engineering firms

As the child of public school educators, I was privileged to grow up in a house that valued education.  My children had the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of electives and extracurricular activities during their time in Springfield Public Schools. Many kids haven’t had the support and opportunities that my children and I were afforded.

If elected to the school board, my focus will be ensuring that all kids have the guidance and tools they need to be successful. My vision is that all students will leave Springfield Public Schools prepared to find their way in the world.

Raising graduation rates, increasing student literacy, and expanding the accessibility of extracurricular activities will give our students the best chance to be successful. 

Ideally, we would also instill a love of learning in our students through support from caring teachers and district staff, so that students continue to grow and be active participants in society after leaving Springfield Public Schools.

I also believe the perception of the district suffered during the pandemic. Remote learning was certainly not ideal. Now that our schools have reopened and we are getting back to normal, it’s time for the district to make extra efforts to reengage with its partners and the community and expand its outreach efforts.

I hope that I have the opportunity to serve our students as a member of the Springfield School Board. I will do my best to ensure that our schools are welcoming places of learning and engagement.

Read the candidate Q+A here.



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