By Mike Way

To the voters of Bend-La Pine Schools,

It has been a very busy time in the run up to the election for Zone 6 — at large. I have appreciated the time spent in forums and interviews. I have enjoyed speaking with many of you. I learned some things about myself, and about how people think and act and feel about education.

I taught for over 33 years in a high school, a community college, a private college and a university as adjunct. Coincidentally, I attended a high school, community college, a private college and a university. I have been awarded three degrees in higher education, encompassing mathematics, education, computer science and curriculum and instruction. That’s a lot of time thinking and learning about things, studying how to teach, researching CAI and performing studies on teaching. I have written thousands of test questions on dozens of topics. I have taught hundreds and hundreds of students in dozens of classrooms and labs. In addition, for six years my wife and I worked in “Work Camps” on reservations and impoverished areas across the area. I worked with my hands as well as administered some of the camps. We have also worked with Habitat for Humanity and with church youth groups.

The underlying topics of my studies and my teaching have been STEM. In fact I started teaching the M part before the acronym had been invented. Some of the things I have done beyond classroom schooling include FIRST Robotics. I first started robotics in Florida more than 20 years ago, before STEM again. When we moved to Deschutes County, I became involved with Summit High School’s robotics team, mentored Pilot Butte’s team and assisted with REALM’s team. After a break, I helped to start several teams in the south county. Summit’s team has been outstanding, but southern Deschutes County has also done well.

For many years, I was active with the FEA, and connected groups in Florida. I enjoyed so much the opportunity to march with teachers and students in La Pine on May 8. I enjoyed it because I sensed an underlying desire to be the best they can be. I believe we have a good school system here in southern and central Deschutes County, well on its way to becoming great.

That belief is why I choose to run for membership on the board. I think I have the energy, the education, the experience and the ability to work with other board members toward increased success for our students and teachers.

I believe that education is one of the most important things we do as a society.

STEM or STEAM or STREAM is pretty important. It is said that when today’s students graduate from college, more than 90% of the jobs available for them have not yet been invented.

That’s my horse. That’s my project. That’s my goal.

I want to help increase emphasis on STEM, make it more available for all students of the Bend-La Pine district. I want to keep an eye on the moving targets that are becoming the future of education. I want to help increase possibilities in CTE learning, engineering, robotics and all those things we don’t yet know about.

I am asking for your vote. Let me help Bend-La Pine become the best in Oregon and pull our students along to become the best they can be.

— Mike Way is a candidate for Bend-La Pine School Board Zone 6.