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Beaverton’s Anne Bryan named initial Oregon School Board Member of the Year
Beaverton School Board member Anne Bryan accepted OSBA’s first Oregon School Board Member of the Year award Saturday at OSBA’s 72nd Annual Convention. Bryan credited the support of her family and the work of everyone around her for her board’s success.
Beaverton School Board member Anne Bryan’s passion for public education crystalized more than 30 years ago while she was attending Stanford University.
She was volunteering in poverty-affected public schools, and a student greeted her one day and told her he had been waiting for her.
“The switch flipped, and I realized there are people like that all over the world,” she said. Bryan has been part of the solution as a public schools volunteer ever since.
On Saturday, OSBA recognized her volunteer work with the first Oregon School Board Member of the Year award.
“Her dedication epitomizes what a school board member should be,” said OSBA Executive Director Jim Green before the presentation at OSBA’s 72nd Annual Convention in downtown Portland.
Bryan joined the Beaverton board in 2013 and became board chair in 2015. The Beaverton School Board tries to rotate its time-consuming and stressful chair position every two years. When Bryan’s term was up in 2017, though, the vice chair had recently left and the new vice chair didn’t feel ready to take over the position.
Bryan remained chair for another year, displaying the steady leadership that helped earn her recognition.
“She models for all of us what a school board member looks like,” said Becky Tymchuk, who took over the Beaverton chair position in July.
Bryan has been instrumental in aligning board work with strategic objectives and long-range planning, creating a district rainy-day fund, increasing community engagement, expanding course offerings, and shepherding the 2014 passage of Beaverton’s $680 million construction bond.
Tymchuk said Bryan made sure the board received proper training and resources and she helped keep the board working together. She described Bryan as a great collaborator and a tough act to follow.
“She provides leadership in a way that you want to follow,” Tymchuk said.
Bryan says it’s a team effort. She said she takes pride in knowing the community believes the school board is working together on behalf of students. She credits community support, district staff and her fellow board members for the school board’s successes.
Bryan graduated from Stanford with degrees in history and math and computational sciences. She is chief of staff at Circle Media and volunteers with a half-dozen school-related organizations. Bryan’s husband, John, works at Intel, and she is a mother of four: Peter, 23; Tom, 21; James, 18; and Matthew, 15. The three oldest graduated from Beaverton’s Westview High, and Matthew is a sophomore there.
Although her four sons have certainly influenced her desire to serve on the school board, Bryan said her passion for public education predates becoming a parent.
“I have a fundamental belief in the power of public schools and that board work is important and that it can make a difference,” she said.
School board work can take away from family time, but Bryan said her family has been extremely supportive. She said she manages the mental and emotional demands by keeping track of objectives and monitoring progress.
“I can see the difference we make for kids,” she said.
Students today struggle with academic as well as social and emotional needs and schools are understaffed to support kids the way they deserve, Bryan said. She wants to build community trust in the districts’ fiscal stewardship, and she advocates for stable and adequate state school funding.
“I’m hopeful that we’ll see investments in education that meet what our kids need,” Bryan said.
Beaverton Superintendent Don Grotting said the board’s character under Bryan’s leadership helped persuade him to take the job in 2016. The board’s engagement and personal touch with the community impressed him.
Grotting pointed to Beaverton’s 86 percent graduation rate and narrowing achievement gap as well as equity programs as proof of Bryan’s leadership. Bryan follows current education trends and issues and she does her homework, he said.
“Her tremendous work ethic and her heart and compassion for education are among the biggest I’ve ever seen,” he said.
OSBA launched the Oregon School Board Member of the Year award this year to recognize outstanding volunteers who make a difference in their communities. Nominees were considered for their advocacy efforts, leadership and support for student achievement.
A panel of out-of-state school board association executive directors chose Bryan from among four finalists. Bryan’s name will be placed on the OSBA website and engraved on a plaque in OSBA’s Salem office. Bryan also will be able to register for OSBA events free for a year.
Green reminded school board members to keep an eye out for fellow members’ accomplishments and begin considering nominations when they open in January 2019.
- Jake Arnold, OSBA