Ahnaray (Ahna) Bizjak

Age: 43

Hometown: Prior Lake, MN

Lived in the district since: 2003

Family: Married to Tim Bizjak, have 2 children who are 12 years old (twins) in 6th grade; Mackenzie and Zachary Bizjak

Occupation: Civil and Environmental Engineer

Employer/job title: City of Janesville/Senior Transportation Engineer

Political experience: Brooklyn Elementary PTO President

Other notable affiliations: Member of the 2015 Oregon School District Visioning Conference

Why are you running for school board?

I am running for school board because I care deeply about the education system and the educational opportunities that are available to our community. I want to support our educators and the amazing district-wide efforts that have created a strong, vibrant, top-notch school district for our children and families.

What are your first priorities if elected?

My priorities for the Oregon School district include: focusing on healthy, active schools and education in sustainability; offering diversity in class choice and extra curriculars; education equity and removing barriers from education; personalized learning methods to create relevance and interest in learning; managing mental health and behavioral concerns, and supporting educators and managing growth within our district.

What are the district’s greatest challenges/opportunities ahead?

Our greatest challenges ahead include managing the rapid growth that is predicted for our district while continuing to offer the same level of excellence, diversity, and educator/student ratios; reducing the achievement gap and equity challenges in our district; and funding constraints which may limit the availability of resources and/or the ability to continue to offer the diverse range of classes and extracurricular activities.

Do you support the use of random K-9 searches at OHS and OMS and do you believe the use of those in the past several years has been worthwhile?

I don’t have a strong opinion. I strongly agree that drugs do not belong in our schools. But I don't have a handle on the need, cost, impact, or effectiveness of the program. If this is an issue, I will ask those questions to allow for an informed decision on the role of the K-9 searches in our schools.

What can the district do to best manage the student population growth coming in the next 10 years?

To stay ahead of the growth, we need to have a solid plan for how the district will allocate resources and manage the growth. Our district is in a good position to take on those planning efforts with the passed referendums. As board members, it is our job to view the district at the 10,000-foot level, ensuring that we are prepared and not reacting to surprises.

Email Unified Newspaper Group reporter Scott De Laruelle at scott.delaruelle@wcinet.com.