Crystal Weston, Tigard-Tualatin School Board Position #5 – Candidate Interview
By John Maelan, Washington County Dems Communications Team
Crystal Weston is running to fill the unexpired two-year term of Marvin Lynn. On Feb. 6, the school board unanimously appointed Weston, to serve until the May 16 election. She’s earned a degree in psychology from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Master’s in public administration from the University of Oregon. Her previous government experience includes working as a safety officer for the Oregon Fire Marshal’s Office and as a coordinator for the Oregon Health Authority.
Recently, Ms. Weston agreed to sit for an interview with WashCo Dems regarding her current race for the school board.
WCD: Firstly, how did you come to serve on the school board as an appointed member?
Weston: Actually, a friend of mine knew I was looking for a way to serve, and prompted me to apply. She told me, “We need someone who can weigh the issues and work through the problems.” Well, I thought about what she said for quite a bit. And I’ve worked for several state agencies, know how to read a budget, and I also have three kids in this district (one in elementary, one in middle school, and one in high school) so I know the issues from that perspective. I also have perspective from my work in government on making sure policy works as it filters through to the people it impacts. I have always been passionate about education because of the opportunities it provided to me, and I care about having integrity and making decisions that prioritize young people. I put in my application and must have interviewed well, and I was honored to be chosen.
WCD: You sound like quite the fighter. I can see why you want to work for our children. Now, you’ve said online that you have a “future oriented leadership style.” What exactly do you mean by that?
Weston: I think we all should be forward thinking. Part of that is listening to young people so that we can understand what they need to reach their goals. They shouldn’t have to wait their whole lives to achieve their dreams. We need to give them the tools right now, and to work together with equity and quality hand in hand for their future and ours.
WCD: In national news, many school boards are being challenged to censor books in the libraries. What are your thoughts on that?
Weston: I don’t think books should be censored. I think they should be read and it’s just that simple. I support critical thinking skills and part of that is offering a wealth of materials that students can engage with. I support a world class education with a quality curriculum and a supportive learning environment, including materials that communicate belonging and reflect our diverse and dynamic community.
WCD: I think most people can get behind that. But now I need to ask–why not your challenger, Wendy O’Reilly?
Weston: Well, she seems to think schools should do more with less. Frankly, I don’t see how that’s supposed to work and I support a fully funded education budget at the state level. At the end of the day, we need to compete regionally for qualified educators, and they need to be able to buy new tires and pay the mortgage so they can fully focus on their critical work. Teachers don’t need to be punished by taking those resources away. That will only hurt our students. We need to support the teachers and other staff in our schools every day doing the work of teaching and supporting young people. I’m not going to pretend that in a state that has some of the lowest funding levels for education in the country we can deliver as much as other states by blaming the teachers. I am here, however, to do the very best I can with our resources.
I also think that wherever we go as a community, we go together. That means that if the state budget shortchanges education, we stand together and serve our students, not blame a segment of the students or make unacceptable tradeoffs. I will work hard to advocate for young people, carefully weigh decisions based on evidence, and deliver as much as possible in a way that serves all of our young people.
WCD: You sound like you have a lot of passion. Do you have any final thoughts?
Weston: I think a lot about the moment in time we find ourselves in. The last few years have brought incredible challenges. Students missed milestones, grew apart from friends, and lost instructional time. Some families had more time together, but for many, it was a string of difficult times trying to hold down jobs and support students, and young people grew up a little during that time of not having everything they should have had. The last few years have also laid bare conflicts in our society, and our young people have watched us bring our issues into their schools. Young people have made sacrifices for our community, and I want to thank them for that by delivering an education that leaves all the doors open. Our challenges will not disappear overnight, but we owe it to our young people to give them our very best, to believe in their inherent potential, and to make sure that when we look back on this time, we know we did the right thing.
WCD: That makes sense to me. Thank you Ms. Weston, and good luck.
Weston: Thanks, and you’re welcome.