EDITOR’S NOTE: The May 18th ballot features dozens of opportunities to serve your community on local boards for our schools, ports, transportation district, recreation districts, water districts, fire districts and more. There is not a voters pamphlet for a primary/special election, therefore the Pioneer provides this opportunity for candidates to tell voters about themselves and the position they are seeking, even if running unopposed.
Tillamook County Pioneer CANDIDATE’S STATEMENT – 5 minute “why we should vote for you” pitch; include information about why you are running for the position and your TOP 3 most-important-issues facing the board/organization you wish to serve on.
MEET Damian Laviolette – NKN School District #56, Director Zone 4
I am excited to announce my decision to run for the Neah-Kah-Nie (NKN) School District #56 Director Zone 4 position. I hope to bring a diverse background of work and life experience to the School Board. I attended Kindergarten in Rockaway Beach (back when it was just Rockaway),
Nehalem Lower and Upper Elementary School, and Graduated from Neah-Kah-Nie in 1991. I reviewed State (ORS 332.124 – 332.126), County, and District Board criteria and qualify to run for this position.
I have many great memories from my twelve years spent in the NKN school district. Its small-town rural nature allowed for many experiences not available elsewhere. I was able, as a scrawny 6-foot tall 135-pound high schooler, to participate in the school’s football, wrestling, and baseball programs. Mentor/hang out with younger students at outdoor school and participate on several high school quiz bowl teams. I had the fortunate opportunity to learn lifelong skills and lasting memories from school district staff, such as Nap time with Mrs. Gillis, discipline from Principal Jacobsen (yes that paddle had holes in it), story time from Mrs. Grimes, Spanish from Mrs. Daniels (she made our amazing wedding cake), Algebra from the legendary Mr. Duke, and Marine Biology from a “Rockstar” in her profession Mrs. Gienger. There are so many other amazing memories of friends, events, and teachers it’s impossible to give them all their do in this limited space.
I was fortunate to enlist in the United States Army in 1992 along with my wife Teah (also a Neah-Kah-Nie alumni). During an active duty career that spanned 20 years, beginning in the enlisted ranks, and ending as a Warrant Officer, I learned to appreciate the hard work and stick-to-it mentality
my parents had so diligently worked to pass on. After numerous deployments, duty stations ranging from Panama to Washington DC, and nine different colleges, I was finally able to earn a Master of Science degree, grasping the true value of higher education. After retiring from active duty with a
fantastic technology and cyber security skillset I entered the private sector and world of banking. I was again fortunate to end my 8-year stint in banking with a five-year run as a C-level executive in one the United States larger financial institutions.
A dream opportunity to operate the family business (which has been a community staple for 43 years and counting) brought my small family unit home. Teah and I, who started down the road to children later in life, couldn’t resist a chance to bring our children to the school district and the unique/amazing opportunities that so shaped our lives. Today, I work full time as the Director, Information Services for the County, and co-operate the family business with my wife, our three children, amazing manager Josh Rebello (Class of 2011), and strong staff, many of whom are also NKN alumni. Teah and I have faced and overcome significant adversities and challenges in our 28 years of marriage to include numerous deployments and relocations, Teah’s battle against cancer and subsequent medical treatments. The loss of my father and her mother to unforeseen tragedies and the covid-19 pandemic that we’ve all been affected by and are still trying to survive and thrive through.
When combined my family background, education, career experiences, and Teah and I’s life journey to date have positioned me as a strong candidate for the NKN School Board. I have seen and experienced life elsewhere firsthand, not only in the United States but in other nations far less
fortunate than ours. I have managed large diverse teams and groups of individuals while serving the nation and working in the private sector. I have skillsets, training, advanced education, and certification in organizational management, technology, cybersecurity, risk management, and
regulatory compliance. I have successfully implemented, monitored, and operated budgets (capital and expense) exceeding 50 million dollars. Over the past twelve months I have served on the NKN School Budget Committee. Working for the County I have come to understand some of the districts funding sources and many of the challenges facing them. Our children are currently enrolled in the School District today, Sabrina in 8th Grade, Robert in 3rd Grade, and Caleb in Kindergarten. We have a vested interest in our children’s education and the long-term future of the school district. I am committed to ensuring every student has access to the districts existing educational opportunities. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and committing the time necessary to work with other board members, school staff, and fellow parents. Exploring future technology and trade options for our children is a must do and something I would look to make a priority. Our children could and should be equipped as early as possible for the high demand career fields of today and the future. Collaboration is critical and listening to the parents not only in my zone, but across the district will be a key factor in continuing the School Districts long track record of success.
Please consider me favorably when completing your ballots for the May 18th Election for NKN District #56, Director Zone 4.