Ontario School District members at a board meeting in June. From left: Mike Blackaby, Eric Evans, Blanca Rodriguez, Derrick Draper and Renae Corn. (The Enterprise/File)

ONTARIO—Craig Geddes was appointed to the Ontario School Board Sept. 15 in a 3-1 vote during a special board meeting.

A Vale native, Ontario High School graduate and Malheur County’s environmental health director, Geddes said he has been looking for ways to give back to the community since he returned to Ontario ten years ago.

“This community holds a special place in my heart. It’s where I grew up, it’s given me a lot, and I feel like it’s time to give back,” said Geddes.

His children have studied at Alameda Elementary School and Ontario Middle School. He was the the Alameda Parent Teacher Organization President for three years, where he volunteered to chaperone field trips, helped with the annual spaghetti feed and raised money and reduced costs to build a $30,000 play structure and buy new Chromebook carts, said Geddes.

“I’ve tried to be available to schools and do whatever I can to support them,” Geddes said.

He serves on the Malheur County COVID-19 Task Force, and has 17 years of public health experience. He also teaches an online food safety and sanitation class at BYU-Idaho as an adjunct professor, an experience he SAID allows him to empathize with teachers.

“I want to see all levels of student be extremely successful. I want to see our students who may struggle a little bit more succeed, and be successful, and I want to see those students who are high achievers be challenged, and be able to leave Ontario, and graduate from the high school, and be prepared and ready to go to college or go into their chosen careers and be able to perform at a high level early on,” said Geddes.

The school district also has to improve its public relations work, said Geddes.

Dan Joyce, county judge, endorsed Geddes for the position, citing his involvement with disposing millions of pounds of destroyed onions in the winter between 2016 and 2017.

The Ontario School Board had to fill a board vacancy after the departure of Mike Blackaby, former board chair, who resigned due to the board’s decision to keep an expensive investigation into board misconduct secret.

The board also interviewed Tony Cade, Ontario High School teacher and former football coach, Ken Hart, Valley Family Health Care chief financial officer, and Ana Leos, a retired Department of Human Services compliance specialist.

The board was split 2-2, with Chair Renae Corn and Blanca Rodriguez voting for Hart and Derrick Draper and Eric Evans voting for Geddes, until Corn voted for Geddes and encouraged Hart to run for her position next May.

“Geddes is born and raised in Ontario, and came back, that shows a level of commitment to the area,” said Evans.

“He reviewed policy, he understood that the board’s job is to create policy and the administration, to build policy. As well as, he was at both the work session and the regular board meeting last month, and sat there, and paid attention. In my mind, that speaks volumes that he cares and he’s interested,” said Draper.

PRIOR COVERAGE

Ontario School Board chair resigns over report secrecy

Ontario School Board report finds director's claims unproven

News tip? Contact reporter Aidan McGloin at [email protected] or at 541-473-3377.

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