Two seats on the Oroville School Board to go to voters in primary

OROVILLE -Unless you’re from Oroville or Brewster you probably didn’t get a ballot tovote for candidates for local positions in the upcoming election, where localoffices have attracted more than two candidates moving them to the primary.

InOroville, there are three candidates each for the Director Positions 4 and 5.Running for Position 4, an unexpired two-year term, are Patti Garrett, Brian L.Swenson and Phil Barker and for Position 5, the newly-created at large positionare Anne Marie Ricevuto, Timothy R. Whiteaker and Rocky DeVon.

The ballotswere mailed out last Thursday and should have been in the voters late last weekor early this week. Any registered voter within the Oroville School Districtwho hadn’t received a ballot by Wednesday, Aug. 3, is asked to contact theAuditors Office at (509) 422-7240.

Thefollowing are a few words from the candidates about why they are running:

District 4

Patti Garrett

Why areyou running?

As a motherof five and as a businesswoman who appreciates the importance of education, Iam running for the Oroville School Board because I care. I care about youngpeople and I care deeply about doing the “right thing” when we are given achance to make a difference. I feel the first major order of business with theSchool Board will be meeting the budget to keep our schools functioning at theappropriate levels.  With all the cut-backs in our state, I believethis will be challenging.  I also think we need to keep a level ofaccountability within our schools, as it is with all businesses inour world. 

Mostimportant issue or issues?

With ourcountry going through a great many political and financial problems, I would behonored to be able to make even a small difference in our community’sability to provide the right environment for our children to learn how tohandle themselves in the world.  Our children should all be given the sameattention by teachers, administration and our community-at-large. Theyshould be helped to find their own paths; whether it be a universityenvironment or a trade/special skills environment. It is our duty to enableour students to succeed and the basis of any community’s pride comes fromtheir citizens’ attitude and capabilities as they become adults. Education provides the “book learning”, but it also provides anethical  and moral training ground…something about which we should allcare and in which we should all take part in helping our youth tolearn. 

Workexperience, previous public offices held/education:

I ama co-owner, with my husband, Pat, of multiple businesses, and haveover 20 years of experience in construction, land development, restaurantownership and retail businesses. I have an A.S. in Early ChildhoodEducation, and worked for a few years as a legal secretary. I was a”stay-at-home’ Mom for many years, but began to work again about 19 yearsago. We own Garrett Construction Co., Inc. in Oroville, Garrett Interiors inOroville and the Naches Bar & Grill in Greenwater, WA.

Shortbio, family, organizational memberships, hobbies:

I am amother of five, of which one, Michael, is still at home, and enrolledin Oroville High School. His love is basketball, so we are avidspectators. Two of my other children are in college, and two are on theirown living in the greater Seattle/Tacoma area and San Francisco. I love toread, play Scrabble and talk; which I prefer to think of as “networking.”I have memberships in various business and personal clubs/associations. Iwas honored to be inducted into the Who’s Who in American Businesses a fewyears ago as having multiple women-owned businesses. I am presently the VicePresident of both the Chamber of Commerce and the Oroville Booster Cluband a member of Oroville Streetscapes, as well as the Oroville Chapter ofthe Eagles.  My husband and I aresnowmobilers and like to take boat rides around our beautiful lake Osoyoos.

Brian L. Swensen

Why areyou running?

 Ibelieve that the Oroville School District is awesome. I would love to be a partof making Oroville School District  one of the best districts in thestate. The Oroville School District was there for my boys when needed andI would like to give back and show my support. I believe team work is the keyto success and I would like to be a member of the  Oroville SchoolDistrict team. I have been apart of many schools and I would like to share whatI have learned .

Mostimportant issue or issues?

I feeleducation is the most important part of a child’s life. Education helpsto insure that they have a strong foundation to succeed in life  andI would love to help them accomplish this.

I believecommunication between students, teachers and parents is very important for thesuccess of our students. I believe that our students should feel safe inour schools and that students need a comfortable, safe, environment tosucceed. I would love to have the opportunity to help them become successfuladults.

Workexperience, previous public offices held/education:

I spent 23years in the military and am currently law enforcement. I attended EWU fora degree in education. I was an active member of the PTO when my boys wereyounger, they attended schools in many different parts of the world and I beenapart of many different school districts and working with diversecultures. 

I haveexperience in company budgets, supervision, leadership, and communication. Ibelieve these skills and others can help our Oroville team become one of thebest in the future. Teamwork is the key to success.

Shortbio, family, organizational memberships, hobbies:

I ammarried with four boys, two graduated from Oroville high school and arecurrently in the Air Force. One will be a Senior this  year an
d is going to be attending running start. He would like to attend WSU to become aneurosurgeon. My youngest will be a seventh grader at Oroville middle school.

I coachedfootball, basketball, and baseball for nine years.

Phil Barker

Why areyou running?

We needbetter cooperation between administration, teachers, parents and students tobuild a better learning environment.

Mostimportant issue or issues?

StudentTest scores in Math and Reading comprehension are low. We need a  plan tocorrect this problem. The first step is a greater effort by all.

Workexperience, previous public offices held/education:

Six years on the Oroville PlanningCommission as chairperson, two years college education and 30 years in theHeating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning business (HVAC), Thermal Air,Oroville.

Shortbio, family, organizational memberships, hobbies:

I have owned and operated ThermalAir in Oroville for 30 years. As a descendant of an Okanogan County pioneerfamily, I believe that hard work, determination and persistence produces success.These are the values my wife and I have raised our two children with. As aschool board member, I am ready to work hard with students, parents, teachersand administration to establish higher goals for our school district. Thesuccess of Oroville students shall be my #1 priority.

District 5

AnneMarie Ricevuto

Why are you running?

I have worked with our communities children in someform or fashion  since I moved here 37 years ago.I have been a Girl Scoutleader and adult trainer, soccer coach, softball coach, study table aide,teacher, Sunday School teacher, camp director and fund raiser for many causes. By becoming a school board director is  another way to make sure ourstudents get the best we can provide. I have attended almost all the school boardmeetings for the last 15 years. I feel I can contribute to the success of ourstudents.

Most important issue or issues?

These are some of the issues I would like to work on:Find creative ways to expand both academic and extra curricular offerings; makedistrict business more transparent, make school board meetings moreaccessible for community input and conserve rather than cut when it comes tobudget concerns.

Work experience, previous public officesheld/education:

I have taught preschool for almost 20 years here inOroville. I also was a substitute teacher for the Oroville School Districtracking up 1,500 sub days. I now work for the Tonasket School District as asubstitute teacher at the high School.

Short bio, family, organizational memberships, hobbies:

I grew up near Tacoma, my father was in the Army for30 years and my mother was a stay at home mom. I have a brother and sister.After my father’s retirement from the Army he returned to college and became ahigh school teacher. I moved to Oroville in 1974 when my husband Chuck accepteda teaching/coaching position at the High School. Our son Dominick graduatedfrom OHS in 2003 and is attending Renton Technical College.

I have a BA in Education with four endorsements and acurrent Washington State teaching certificate.

Preschool through 3rd grade, Kindergarten through 8thgrade, Family and Consumer Science 4th grade through 12th grade andHistory 4th grade through 12th grade.

TimothyL. Whiteaker

Why are you running?

I am running because I believe in our educationalsystem, our students, parents and teachers. I believe in giving every child afair chance at a quality education, which I believe our district offers.
Most important issue or issues?

I believe one of the most important issues facingthe school is the on-going budget crisis. Our school has done an amazing jobproviding and maintaining learning experiences and extra-curricular activities.I want to do what I can to help this continue.

Work experience, previous public officesheld/education:

I was in the United States Coast Guard for 20 yearsbefore moving back to Oroville. Currently, I am the Maintenance Supervisor offour government buildings in Washington and I am the ownerof Lakeview Heating and Cooling here in Oroville. I held a school boardposition previously and I enjoyed it greatly. I would like to bring myexperiences with budgeting and maintenance to the board.

Short bio, family, organizational memberships,hobbies:

I grew up in Oroville and after pursuing my CoastGuard career, I returned to Oroville in 2001 to raise my children. I have beenmarried for 20 years (21 on Aug. 11) and we have two boys. Jacob is 18 and agraduate of Oroville High School. He is heading to Big Bend Community Collegein the fall to study in the Commercial Pilot program. Caleb is 17 and will be asenior at Oroville this school year. He will be attending WyoTech starting nextsummer. I love to camp, fish, work in my yard and golf.
Rocky DeVon
Why are you running?

I have always felt a sense of responsibility forcommunity service. I feel that if you aren’t working to make things better youhave no right to complain.

Most important issue or issues?

There are two very important issues to me, fiscalresponsibility and quality education for our children. T
he school board isresponsible for steering policy for both of these very important issues
Work experience, previous public offices held/education:

While in high school I worked on the family ranch andorchard. After graduation from Oroville High school in 1983 I worked for NorthValley Services to learn welding and mechanics. I worked there for a year and ahalf. I went back to work for DeVon Apples and Cows until 1985 at which time Iwent to school at Spokane Community College. I returned to work on the ranch in1987. I purchased the adjoining orchard in 1991. I continued operating myorchard and the family orchard and ranch until 2000, when I took the trees offof both orchards. We now strictly run cattle on the property.

In 2002 I became a licensed Real-estate agent forOroville Realty. I worked there for two years with my wife Cindy DeVon. In Mayof 2004 we opened our own office RE/MAX Lake and Country, my wife as themanaging broker and I as the company president. In 2006 we startedconstruction on our own building at 1510 Main Street. We have been at thislocation since the spring of 2007.

I was an Okanogan County Sherriff’s Reserve deputy1991-2001, on the Washington State Building Code Council for temporary farmworker housing 1995-1998 and charter co chairman of the Oroville chapter of thePNTA and Director for the National Association 2005-2008. I have been a BoyScouts leader 1996 to present, served on the Oroville Planning Commission2003-2010 and am a director for NCW Realtor Association 2009 to present

Short bio, family, organizational memberships,hobbies:

I was born in the Omak hospital and lived in Okanoganon Grandma and Grandpa DeVon’s orchard until I was seven years old.  Aftermy grandpa passed away we moved back to the Old Ranch here in Oroville in 1972and sold the Okanogan property. The Oroville Ranch was founded in 1888-89by my great grandpa George DeVon. My Father Dale DeVon still resides on GeorgeDeVon’s original homestead and I live on his brother Frank DeVon’shomestead. I married Cindy Markvardsen in 1999. I have three wonderfulsons (Shane, Hunter, and Cash) and a beautiful daughter (Sarah).

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are the Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He is single with a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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