MEET THE CANDIDATES May 18th Election – Pioneer Series: Mike Gardner, Tillamook School District Director, Position 5

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 THE CANDIDATE: Mike Gardner, Tillamook School District Director, Position 5

I am invested with five grandchildren in the district: their futures concern me as do all of the district’s students. Education in America is at a critical crossroad. In my previous classrooms, I taught that freedom is about choices and one can make wise choices if he/she has knowledge to pursue opportunities and challenges. Our young people need an education with a solid academic base and a rich extracurricular schedule that builds and develops skills to help them navigate decision making in a free America, which is full of opportunity to those willing to work hard to realize their dreams. It seems lately these values are now in question, and my concern for all students is that they continue to understand liberty and freedom, and ultimately have the opportunity to pursue their dreams and THRIVE. Because I’m retired, I now have an abundance of time to dive into the opportunities and solutions.
Different roles in my life have provided a lifetime of skill sets. Leadership on sports teams as a young person to coaching kids of all ages in football to teaching at our district’s alternative school, Wilson River School, to small business owner, and most importantly my roles as husband, father and grandfather have all helped hone skills most needed for this Board position. I am a current Director on the PUD Board so understand board work and teamwork. Communication skills are key with listening to be at the top of the list. Knowing how to listen and hear all sides of an issue is imperative to solving challenges. A strong work ethic is important to me. I don’t give up or quit on a difficult task, but rather consider it a challenge to keep working toward a solution in an ever-changing environment.

What are the top three most important issues to District #9?

A. Meeting student post pandemic needs is the most important issue right now. Everyone’s life has been upended this past year. I don’t think we have a firm grasp yet of all of the repercussions it will have on our students and staff. We have to come together as a team: Board, Administration, Teachers, Classified, Parents and Community to get students back to school full time so they can thrive again academically, physically, socially and emotionally. Going forward, what do we envision for our students? What do they need? How can we make District #9 student-centered, and where EVERY student finds her/his niche be it in art, music, outdoor school, computers, debate, drama, football or golf? What needs to be adjusted or changed now?

B. Parent involvement is critical to student success going forward. How might we engage parents more fully in the process of educating their children? What can we do as a district to develop, establish and welcome parent involvement. We need it-especially now.

C. I believe we need to ramp up our district’s academic rigor in reading, writing, math and history, along with teaching students how to think for themselves critically. We need to be confident our students have a strong foundation in our country’s principles and values. Education is truly the key to freedom in America, and the only way we preserve and save our Republic is with an educated electorate.

Your vote is important. I would appreciate your consideration. For more information you can visit my Facebook page: Mike Gardner for TSD9 Board or email me directly at