The Astoria School Board on Monday unanimously voted to appoint Matthew Lindstrom, a facilities manager for Columbia Memorial Hospital, to finish the last year and a half of the term of Shawn Helligso, who resigned from the board earlier this month.
The six candidates for the appointment included Lindstrom, school psychologist Heidi Wintermute, Clatsop County Historical Society’s Sam Rascoe, juvenile prevention specialist Darcy Cronin, stay-at-home parent Samantha Peterson and attorney Kimberly Chaput.
School board members Jeanette Sampson, Jenna Rickenbach, David Oser and Grace Laman interviewed each candidate about their experience, goals, approach to conflict management and understanding of a school board’s role. Each candidate was given a copy of the school district’s strategic plan, a one-page guidebook defining the district’s goals and driving much of its decision-making.
The board pointed to Lindstrom’s experience with construction and facilities, along with the research on the district he seemed to do before the interviews, for why they picked him. Helligso, a contractor, had the most building experience. The school district is undergoing a facilities assessment and preparing for a possible school improvement bond measure next year.
“I liked several, but for me, Matthew hit everything,” Oser said.
An Astoria native, Lindstrom has children in Astoria Middle School and Lewis and Clark Elementary School. Since leaving the Army in 2000, Lindstrom has worked as a security officer, plumber and reserve police officer. He joined the hospital as a facility engineer in 2011 and now oversees the campus and support services.
“That citizenship piece is something I think I’ve had missing since I’ve left the military, kind of the desire to serve, to kind of give back to the community in a bigger, more meaningful way,” Lindstrom said.
He touted his experience overseeing maintenance, safety, security and regulatory compliance at the hospital, and his involvement in the strategic plans of multiple departments. Asked about the challenges facing the school district, he pointed to chronic absenteeism among students, safety and security in schools, the seismic stability of buildings and providing quality programs with limited funding.
Looking at the backgrounds of other board members, Lindstrom said, he feels like he can fit in well with his specialty in facilities and construction. “I just want to be able to contribute in a meaningful way,” he said.
Lindstrom will face his first election in May 2019.