On July 22, Carolyn Bernal attended her first regular school board meeting as District 21’s new superintendent. Bernal was officially selected to take over for Interim Superintendent Theresa Peters in February and began her duties July 1.

In the July 22 meeting, Bernal outlined her entry plan for the 21-22 school year, titled “Listen, Learn, Lead.” She shared her four goals: to build trust with stakeholders, keep a “lens on equity” for all students, build a strong governance team through a positive relationship with the school board, and to safely reopen all schools.

With each goal, Bernal outlined the actionable steps she plans on taking in order to meet them. Among these steps, she detailed an importance of consistent communication and collaborations with board members, administrators and external community stakeholders, as well as regular interactions with students in order to ensure that all voices are heard.

“I’ll be regularly visiting school sites and district properties,” Bernal said, “engaging with stakeholders to really help me build that foundational understanding of the day-to-day operations, and to interact — which for me is the best part — with the student body, and really being a visible community leader.”

Bernal plans on giving a status update on the progress of these goals January 2022, then a summary at the end of the school year. She concluded the presentation with a list of personal values and principles that she intends to lead with in the superintendent’s position.

To view the entry plan in its entirety, visit the North Wasco County District 21 Facebook page and click the July 22 meeting link to watch it in full.

Before the meeting was officially called to order, the board of directors held a public hearing in regard to the Riverbend Community School [formerly Wahtonka Community School] Charter renewal application, where eight written public comments — no verbal ones were submitted — were read. A ninth comment was submitted past their June 21 deadline and could not be shared, but the board welcomes a re-submission for their August 26 board meeting, they said.

Once the meeting commenced, Oath of Office was read for new and re-elected directors, including Director Rebecca Thistlethwaite, Chair John Nelson, Director Brian Stevens and Director Judy Richardson. Other events included the recognition of summer staff, read by Bernal.

Action items consisted of making Special July Board Organizational Designations, electing a board chair and vice chair, the positions going to Jose Aparicio, and David Jones respectively. Further items included the unanimous passing of the annual board organizational chart for the 21-22 school year and the appointment/re-appointment of board members to school board sub-committees.

After the reading of the chief financial officer report, the board unanimously approved the purchase a 2015 Izuzu refrigerated truck for nutritional services from a local dealership, using summer school funding with the approval of ODE, at the cost of $45,346.19, plus the cost of titling fees, which will be paid with 75% state grant funds and 25% federal ESSR III funds.

The school board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Aug. 26. Check out the North Wasco County District 21 website and Facebook page for updates.