Gresham-Barlow School District Board Election


The Oregonian

Julie Frediani(left) and Holly Riegelmann(right), the candidates running for Position 4 on the Gresham-Barlow School District board.

Betty Fiedler, Staff Writer

The Gresham-Barlow School District board elections are happening on May 16, 2023. Voters will be electing people for three positions: Position 1, Position 4, and Position 7. There are two candidates running for each position.

Shawn Farrens and Cherice Roth are running for Position 1. Farrens says he’s running for the school board because he wants “…all students to have the best educational experience possible,” (The Outlook). His priorities as a board member would be to make sure the Student Health Center is built, make Gresham-Barlow the district families want their kids to go to, and expand Career and Technical Education options. He also wants to focus on closing the achievement gap that was made larger during the COVID-19 pandemic. He believes closing this gap is the biggest challenge facing the Gresham-Barlow school district. Farrens is currently on the board and has a background in education. 

Candidates for Position 4 include Holly Riegelmann and Julie Frediani. Riegelmann wants to continue being a part of the board because she cares about kids and she wants to support students and staff. She explains that her priorities as a board member would be, “…to increase academic and co-curricular opportunities, prioritize safety, close achievement gaps, support our teachers/staff and elevate the Gresham-Barlow school district to a place of pride and achievement once again,” (The Outlook). Riegelmann makes it clear that she is ready to work hard and work with others to achieve success. The second candidate, Julie Frediani, has experience in education. She was a teacher and came out of retirement to become a substitute during the shortage. Frediani makes it clear that she will “…advocate for an appropriate, inclusive education for all students,” (The Outlook). As a board member, Frediani will make sure families feel safe and included. She also believes in smaller class sizes so students can have more individual attention and help from their teachers. 

In the runnings for Position 7 are Stefanie Craft and David Ligatich. Craft has worked and volunteered for the school many times. She has also been very involved in the community. Craft says, “I will be a champion for: prioritizing school safety, improving students’ mental health, addressing students’ needs academically and socially post-COVID, and expanding CTE and STEAM curriculum for all ages,” (The Outlook). Craft believes in equity and creating a space where everyone feels welcome and valued. David Ligatich is the second candidate for Position 7. Ligatich wants to be on the board because he promised his son he would take action after an incident that occurred to him at school that they didn’t agree with. He says, “I am running as both a parent and student advocate. I want to be part of a process that ensures all our [students] be provided the best possible education and graduate with the confidence they are able to be part of our community in a positive way,” (The Outlook). Ligatich wants to make the curriculum available online so that students can view it or parents can see what is being taught to their children. Ligatich explains he will do his best for the Gresham-Barlow School District and be motivated because his own kids attend/ed Barlow.