WARRENTON - The Warrenton-Hammond School District will get some new blood on its board this year.

Of three spots up in the May 15 election, only one incumbent has filed for another four-year term. Linda Dugan is running unopposed for her Position 2 seat.

Newcomer Kelly Simonsen is running unopposed for Position 5, now held by Gladys Dyer, who is not seeking another term.

Position 1 director Barbara Balensifer has chosen not to run again, so the race to replace her is a face-off between Dennis Warren, a retired Warrenton High School teacher, and Kelly Shipley, who says he'll bring an "independent voice" to the board's decisions.

Candidates file by position, but are elected by a districtwide vote.

Position sought: Warrenton-Hammond School Board Position 1

Kelly Shipley

Age: 45

Address: 1532 Eighth Court, Hammond

Occupation: Chief mate, relief captain on Oregon Responder

Education: Two years at Clatsop Community College

Length of time in Clatsop County: 14 years

Affiliations: Coastline Christian Fellowship

Prior experience: None provided

Key issues: To keep children safe, to "raise the bar" and focus more on the "three Rs."

Shipley is chief mate on the Oregon Responder. He has two children, 9 months old and 6 years old. His older son is in kindergarten at North Coast Christian School, mainly because he could start classes at the private school at an earlier age, Shipley said. "I wanted him to get that year of preschool in."

Shipley said he doesn't have experience in government or public schools, but he wants to get involved now that he can. He spent years working on tugboats, he said. "Working at sea, I was gone too much. Getting involved in these things was never an option."

And he has several issues he'd like to address if elected. He feels U.S. schools overall are falling behind, and he wants to bring local students up to par with higher global standards. His wife, who moved to the United States from Colombia when she was 14, can attest to that, he said. It took a long time to catch up when she temporarily returned to her home country.

"I think we can do better," Shipley said. "We've slid back quite a bit."

He said schools could improve with more attention on the basic curriculum: reading, writing and arithmetic. Shipley chose to run against Dennis Warren to give local residents "an option."

"I'm concerned about our school system; I think people need to get involved in it," he said. "I think I'd be more of an independent voice."

Position sought: Warrenton-Hammond School Board Position 1

Dennis Warren

Age: 56

Address: 314 Skipanon Drive, Warrenton

Occupation: Retired Warrenton High School history teacher and wrestling coach, PEOPLE Scholarship program founder and volunteer fundraiser

Education: Bachelor of Science in History, Bachelor of Science in English, standard teaching certificate in Social Studies and Language Arts, all from University of Oregon

Length of time in Clatsop County: 33 years

Affiliations: U.S. Power Squadron, registered political independent

Prior experience: 30 years in education

Key issues: Adding back programs and staff lost in past budget cuts as state funding improves; maintaining "the high level of education standards we have enjoyed at Warrenton schools over the years."

Warren is a former Warrenton High School history teacher and wrestling coach of 30 years. After retiring in 2004, he became concerned about a lack of financial aid for students to attend college. He started PEOPLE Scholarships Inc., a program that requires community service and thank-you letters to donors from students granted money for higher education.

Now, with improved school funding statewide, Warren would like to see staff and programs cut in the past resurrected at the district's two schools. He also wants to maintain a "high level of educational standards."

"Hopefully, our district will be able to replace lost staff and programs," he said. "I feel my experience in education would be a valuable asset in our process of getting back to where we were at."

At the same time, he doesn't feel that experience would hinder his decisions by creating any bias. He said he had a "cordial relationship" with administrators when head of the local teachers' union, and he said students are his focus, as seen in the scholarship program he founded.

"I think it'd be good to have somebody that can actually tell the story from a perspective of having been there, so the board can understand where teachers might be coming from," Warren said. "On the other hand, you have to work together for the good of the community. That's what it's all about: getting the best deal for kids and teachers."

Class sizes in spotlightKelly Simonsen is unopposed, but she still offered some opinions on the state of education in Warrenton, where she grew up and attended grade school and high school - at one time, candidate Warren was her teacher.

Position sought: Warrenton-Hammond School Board Position 5

Kelly Simonsen

Age: 47

Address: P.O. Box 34, Hammond

Occupation: Barber, owner of Clipper Station Barber Shop in Warrenton

Education: Warrenton Grade School and Warrenton High School, Barber College

Length of time in Clatsop County: 35 years

Affiliations: Warrenton Church of the Nazarene

Prior experience: Hammond Councilwoman, Warrenton-Hammond Park & Recreation Director, Assistant Executive at Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare

Key issues: Oversized classes, funding for schools and providing support for teachers to maintain discipline in the classroom.

Her own children have since attended local schools, and Simonsen said she has grown concerned about past funding cuts making it difficult to keep up with the "growing world." She is also worried about oversized classes hampering teachers' efforts to get students the help they need.

"I have always had an interest and concern for the education our children receive and for the support teachers and staff need to be able to accomplish the goal of educating our youth," Simonsen said.

Incumbent is unopposedLinda Dugan is running uncontested for a third term on the board. She is optimistic about a better budget forecast for schools after years of declining state support.

Position sought: Warrenton-Hammond School Board Position 2

Linda Dugan

Age: 53

Address: 34 S.W. 14th St., Warrenton

Occupation: Legal assistant

Education: Associate degree in Accounting, Bachelor of Arts in Biology

Length of time in Clatsop County: 25 years

Affiliations: Warrenton-Hammond School Board member, Clatsop County Commission on Children and Families member, Court-appointed Educational Surrogate for youth who are wards of the state, Educational Surrogate for youth at the State Correctional Facility, CADY Mentor, Clatsop County Jail volunteer, Women's Mission volunteer, member of the Philadelphia Church

Prior experience: Eight years on the Warrenton-Hammond School Board

Key issues: Monitoring state and federal standards and continuing schools' efforts to meet them; community college and student graduation rate; maintaining the budget and reversing past program and staff cuts as funding improves.

"I was there for the cuts," said Dugan. "I want to be there as we put programs back in."

? Incumbents are running unopposed in two other Clatsop County school board elections. In Astoria, David Kaspar and Bob Johnson are both running for re-election in Positions 2 and 3. In Knappa, Ben Bartlett and Ed Johnson are running for additional terms in Positions 1 and 2.


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