Election Letters!

This week's online extra opinion is all election, all the time! May the best school board candidate win and the odds ever be in their favor!


My wife and I are retired educators who support Tom DiLiberto for 4J School Board.

I worked 18 years on a daily basis with DiLiberto. We were on numerous school committees, including weekly staff meetings. DiLiberto is passionate about education and he is also open to others’ thoughts and opinions. One of his understated traits is his sense of humor which he often utilized to defuse contentious meetings. At our school, he was a leader among his peers and was widely respected. His perspective influenced our school’s policy and direction.

As a counselor, I would assess students’ social, emotional and educational needs. DiLiberto not only made sure each student progressed academically, he was especially adept at making sure their social and emotional needs were also met.

Our three children were not only taught Spanish by DiLiberto, he also influenced their career choices. Our son is a bilingual medical health team leader in Eugene, our daughter was in the Peace Corps and worked in Honduras, and our other daughter uses her Spanish as a veterinarian.

His professionalism extends beyond the classroom by supporting teachers statewide.

DiLiberto is the right person at the right time with the right educational leadership skill set. We are voting for DiLiberto as 4J’s next school board member. 

Curtis and Janet Dunham



I am writing as a concerned member of our community regarding education. Our public education here in Eugene needs the voice of its educators and community involved in its greatest decisions. It’s a little shocking to me that a classroom teacher has never sat on the Eugene 4J School Board, which seems like a fundamental requirement, but it is not. Currently, Tom DiLiberto is running for School Board Position No. 1. DiLiberto has been a pillar in our 4J community for more than 30 years and was an educator for nearly 40 years. DiLiberto values student voice and parent and community input in decisions that will directly impact our students in the classroom. Additionally, his priorities put students first and forefront of his decisions, especially our most vulnerable and underrepresented populations. 

As a fellow educator, I can rest easy knowing that someone who has my lived experience is helping to lead our district progressively forward. DiLiberto believes in a more balanced education for students that includes improved mental health resources and less frequent standardized testing as well as teaching to the whole child, not just emphasizing the tested subjects. 

DiLiberto is someone we need for our students, staff and community. He is someone who is willing and wanting to put in the work to do better and improve the education for our students here in 4J. 

He is someone I wholeheartedly endorse as a positive force on the board. 

Nicholas S. Hadley 




I am a 4J parent, very active in my kids’ schools. I watch our school board closely and do my research. I am a very strong supporter of Rick Hamilton for the school board. In his childhood, Hamilton knew poverty, discrimination and living with a lack of hope. But he had drive, and he became the first member of his family to get a high school diploma and a college degree, in education. He had a career with the state police, where he continuously was a voice for change, and led diversity equity and inclusion efforts.

This was a tough place, but Hamilton is well known for the kindness and respect he showed to all, even in the most tense situations. Having been racially profiled as a kid, he understands all sides of these issues. 

Hamilton and his wife raised four kids in 4J, and have volunteered extensively for Eugene kids for three decades, coaching teams, leading summer camps — big commitments of time and effort.

Hamilton brings a valuable perspective and life experience to the Board. He has proven that he considers and respects all points of view, and is dedicated to kids. He is the candidate to restore civility and respect, which we need if we are going to solve problems.

We need leaders with this important life experience and level of integrity. My family is voting for Hamilton.

Jackson Kellogg



I taught reading for 24 years and care deeply about children and their progress. School boards are intended to support students, and we need leaders who support good education. The guiding beliefs and values of the 4J School Board are: “Do what’s best for all 4J students. Continue to learn and grow. Respect and care about each other.”

 Rick Hamilton is ready to restore these values through civility and hard work. Students deserve Hamilton as an advocate, with his long history of community service for young people. Children are suffering for many reasons, and schools can help them succeed emotionally and academically. The power of reading is fundamental, and more than 50 percent of 4J third graders are not reading at grade level, putting their academic and job future at risk.

Hamilton believes in evidence-based instruction, along with 200 4J teachers engaged in LETRS, professional learning on the science of reading. The need for strategic reading instruction is urgent. Measuring progress to see what works is essential and easy. The board must move beyond personal preferences to support teachers in using 4J’s new curriculum based on the science of reading. Teachers and students want to succeed. Hamilton will support evidence-based instruction as a way to “Do what’s best for all 4J students.”

Reasons to elect Rick Hamilton, Morgan Munro and Jenny Jonak are many in the May election, with reading high on the list.

Brenda Kame’enui



Gordon Lafer is a renowned leader and scholar in the U.S labor movement. He teaches University of Oregon undergrads, as well as rank-and-file Oregon workers, about campaigns, negotiations and labor policy. Lafer has brought this vital perspective to the 4J school board since 2018, securing project labor agreements that guarantee our new schools are union-made and provide apprenticeship opportunities in the trades. 

Lafer has also supported better wages for teachers, returned librarians to our district, and championed classified staff — and our kids — through the unprecedented challenges of this pandemic.

Along the way, Lafer hasn’t been shy about telling the truth: Oregon’s wealthiest corporations must pay their fair share of taxes so we can deliver change like smaller class sizes, mental health supports, and arts and enrichment for all kids.

This is why Republican donors like Jordan Papé want him gone. Papé is chairman of our state’s most powerful corporate lobbying arm, Oregon Business & Industry. Last year the Papé Group spent over $1 million trying to stop Democrat Tina Kotek from becoming our governor. This was after showering $100k on Ultra-MAGA Repbulican Knute Buehler, and $250k on a PAC to elect Oregon Republicans. 

Papé is the largest donor bankrolling the challenger to sitting 4J board member Lafer. 

Lafer doesn’t bow to corporate interests, and has shown he’ll stand firm for Eugene’s progressive values. That’s why hundreds of teachers, labor unions, Planned Parenthood and progressives like me are backing his re-election. Join us, and vote Lafer for 4J. 

Doyle Canning