JANET SARAI LLERANDI CANDIDATE BIO:
Janet is a first generation born American citizen of Indigenous Mexican migrant parents.
She speaks Spanish as her first language and was taught English in the public schools she attended.
For several years Janet was a single parent. Now with her partner Abdiel, Janet can better support all of the challenges that come with raising two multi-racial young men both currently enrolled in the Bend La Pine School district. Her advocacy for supporting youth of color, and English language learners has been at the forefront of her career. Her 12 years of building relationships of trust with Latinx residing in Central Oregon has led to a direct and meaningful push for change in institutions and agencies that seek out her guidance on centering equity in all systems.
Her upbringing in a multi cultural and multi generational household taught her the need for representation of communities that have been marginalized. As an adolescent she became her parent’s translator and interpreter of her own education. A systemic inequity that still exists today in our schools.
Janet currently works as the Administrative and Finance Coordinator for The Early Learning Hub of Central Oregon and Better Together. Two organizations that have brought advancement to the region centering the voice of its partners and the collective community.
Janet also serves as the Executive Director of Mecca Bend– a non profit resource service group for migrant, latino, displaced indigenous Mesoamerican and undocumented residents of Central Oregon.
Through her work in the nonprofit she founded, Janet has forged bonds and strengthened relationships of trust with her Latinx peers. A bond and trust few have accomplished to bridge the gap at the intersection of the duality of being “neither from here, nor there”.
A transformative vision for all students academic achievements comes with inclusion and centers equity building. And if you have followed my work through Mecca Bend you see the genuine connection with fellow LatinX.
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MEGAN NORRIS CANDIDATE BIO:
Dear Fellow Deschutes County Democrats:
I am writing this letter to respectfully ask for your support of my campaign for the Bend-La Pine School Board Position 7. I would be deeply honored to have your endorsement.
Por medio de esta carta solicito respetuosamente su apoyo a mi campaña para la posición No. 7 de la Junta Escolar del Distrito de Bend-La Pine. Será un verdadero honor contar con su patrocinio.
I am running for the school board because I care deeply about the education of our children, public service, and giving back to my community. I want to do all that we can to lift up all of our students, including those who are most vulnerable and at risk. I feel a deep sense of responsibility to ensure that our schools have the resources and leadership needed so that all students from every background can succeed.
As you consider your endorsement, let me tell you a little about who I am, some of what I’ve done that will prepare me to serve on the school board, what I will do when I am elected, and about the campaign I’ll wage.
Who I am
I am the mother of two elementary school age girls – one already in a Bend-La Pine public school, where I’ve served as a class parent, and one set to enter in the fall.
I am the daughter and granddaughter of Mexican immigrants, who like so many others came to this country to give their children and grandchildren opportunities to succeed and thrive. I am proud of my Latinx heritage and the values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice with which I was raised. I am committed to ensuring that my daughters embrace and are inspired by their heritage and those values.
I have had a lifelong commitment to public service and making a difference in my community. In addition, my husband Greg was a teacher, coach, and athletic director at an inner-city high school for nearly 20 years, so we understand the sacrifices that our teachers make and the struggles faced by the families and children who have been left out and left behind.
What I’ve Done
I’ve been in the front ranks of the fight for progressive governance, equity, investments in our communities and people, and the protection of our planet throughout my life, no matter where I’ve lived or where I’ve worked.
I served in the Peace Corps in Senegal, West Africa for three years. Living in a village with no electricity or running water, I expanded and improved regional healthcare services for local villagers and empowered them to access care. I also helped organize a countrywide campaign to educate Senegalese communities about the importance of keepings girls in school.
I’ve fought for affordable housing and environmental progress – when I worked at the Sierra Club, I advocated for clean, electric vehicles and fought to safeguard key environmental protections; as a legislative aide, I worked to expand funding for supportive housing and to end the odious practice of homeless dumping; and I led statewide campaigns to bring solar energy to affordable housing and to enact a permanent source of funding for affordable housing.
In the private sector, I focused my efforts on sustainability, helping to create an award-winning smart growth, urban infill neighborhood and large-scale solar energy projects.
Most recently, I served as the Central Oregon Child Care Accelerator, managing a broad coalition that included, among others, Neighbor Impact, Better Together, The Early Learning Hub, Central Oregon Health Council, TRACEs, and the Bend Chamber of Commerce to address the child care crisis in our region and to create accessible, affordable child care, including for those families struggling to make ends meet.
I’m a lifelong Democrat who’s been on the campaign battlefield for more than two decades. From the time that my mom took my sisters and me with her to walk precincts when I was a young girl, I’ve worked tirelessly for Democratic candidates at the national, state, and local level. From being a field organizer in the snows of New Hampshire for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign to helping progressive local candidates to raising money for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in 2020, I’ve been there in the fight for our country’s future. And always will be.
What I’ll Do on the School Board
Focus on getting our kids emotionally and academically prepared as we emerge from the pandemic and fully return to school. I will fight hard to make sure that our schools have the tools and financial resources required so that our students can be successful.
Ensure that everyone is heard and included – I will bring needed diversity to the school board; make it a priority to give all students, including those from underrepresented communities, the support they need; and make sure that all voices have a seat at the table.
Keep our school communities safe by, among other things, ensuring the district has the most up-to-date systems and technology to plan for and respond to safety concerns and any emergency.
Work to attract and retain quality teachers and staff by collaborating with community partners to increase affordable housing options and childcare opportunities for educators and school staff.
Make our contribution to combating climate change and protecting the environment by ensuring that our school district is in the forefront of sustainability and by teaching our students to be good stewards of our planet.
We are building a campaign of broad support and inclusion to win on May 18th, so we can keep Position 7 in Democratic hands. With decades of campaign experience, I will work tirelessly to mount a successful campaign – walking door to door, reaching out across the district, and raising the needed funds. I know what it takes and I’m prepared to do it.
I’m honored by the endorsements our campaign has already earned. To date, I’ve been endorsed by, among others:
- District Attorney John Hummel
- City Councilors Anthony Broadman, Melanie Kebler, and Megan Perkins
- COCC Board Members Alan Unger and Erica Skatvold
- Community Leaders and 2020 Democratic candidates Emerson Levy and Hugh Palcic
In the course of my campaign, I will uphold and advance progressive Democratic values, with the education and well-being of all our children at the heart of all that we stand for.
In closing, I hope that I can earn your support so that, together, we can lift up all of our students and put them on the path to success. During the campaign and in my service of the school board, I will strive hard to justify your faith and make you proud of your support.
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