When I moved from Portland to live at the coast, my friends were concerned that I would be lonely and isolated. What they didn’t know was that I had come to a community of beauty and talented people. Dr. Sheila Roley, superintendent of Seaside School District, is one of those special individuals who lives in our coastal town. I first heard about her when she was the Seaside High School principal. A grandmother of one her students told me how she started the Seaside High School talent show. Roley came out on stage singing, “I’m so excited.” The audience roared. Our Seaside AAUW branch joins in cheering for her.
Not only does Roley instill energy in her students, she tackles large projects with great enthusiasm as well. Our Branch had the honor of working with her as we supported the effort to pass the new school bond. The bond passed with over-whelming support from the community.
Having become aware of her accomplishments, the Seaside AAUW honored Roley with our Breaking Barriers Award at its “Spring into Fashion” style show in April 2017. Recipients are chosen based on their exceptional ability to break barriers for women and children. We then put Roley’s name into nomination for recognition by the Oregon AAUW.
Much to our delight, Roley was selected and the state organization will honor her with their statewide Breaking Barriers Award on April 21 in Hillsboro. She will be honored for her accomplishments in promoting education and equity for girls and women not only in Clatsop County but throughout the state as a mentor for aspiring school leaders.
Roley has been a part of the educational community of Seaside since 1990 serving as teacher, elementary school principal, middle school principal, high school principal and now superintendent of Seaside School District. In Seaside she was the first female high school principal and superintendent of schools. Roley graduated from college in the field of fisheries biology from the University of Washington. She later obtained her teacher certification from Seattle University and ultimately her doctorate in education from Lewis and Clark University.
She says she “chose education as a career because I thought it would not be that hard, I would have lots of time off and I probably would not do it very long. Turned out it was really hard work, not much time off and I am still at it after 30 years. And it is the best career decision I could have made.”
Indeed, we are lucky to have such a dedicated woman leading our young people and educators in Seaside. Dr. Douglas Dougherty, superintendent-emeritus writes, “Sheila Roley is one of the very best administrators I have had the pleasure to work with. I feel fortunate to have her dedication and expertise serving the staff, students and parents of Seaside School District.”
The Breaking Barriers award is presented annually at the “Spring into Fashion” style show held to raise funds for local scholarships. One of the ways we carry out our mission to advocate for women and girls is to give three scholarships annually: to women returning to school, girls who are the first in their family to attend college, and a woman or girl who has demonstrated an exceptional ability to break barriers. This year the style show will be held May 12, at the Astoria Golf and Country Club, from 2 to 4 p.m. The cost is $30 for adults and $20 for students. More than 10 merchants will feature their clothing with finger sandwiches and dessert served. Tickets are available at Beach Books in Seaside or by contacting Linda at SHARLU@hotmail.com.