Sharon Gary-Smith

President, Portland NAACP Branch 1120-B

It is an honor and a great pleasure for me to endorse the candidacy of Tai Harden for the Newberg School Board. Never before has the need for strong, diverse, principled, intelligent and compassionate school board members been more evident than now. We are in the midst of a national time of racial reckoning where our school systems are included in the calls to uproot historic and current racism deeply embedded in institutions and systems. To be successful in making fundamental and necessary changes, new leadership is required.

Our schools have repeatedly shown they are not exempt from the indifference, the racial stereotyping, the missed teaching opportunities to ensure equal opportunities to quality education, to ‘tell the truth’ to all students and to inform them about the fullness of the documented contributions of Black and other people of color to our American history. We need school boards that can be bold in their support of good teachers, adequate and competitive compensation, can ensure the best classrooms, and are willing to speak to the hopes and expectations of all parents.

Those calls for education equity are a call for Tai Harden who excels at all of the attributes needed to serve: as a caring mother raising two smart, capable, informed students, as a consultant who applies her skilled thinking, mediation and diversity and equity skills to efforts that can make lasting change, as a principled voice who studies the matters before her, is well informed and speaks up and represents more than the majority. Tai has shown the ability to challenge systems that do not serve our best interests. She has served as an administrator in an educational setting and understands the complex and nuanced needs of education at all levels.

For these reasons, Tai Harden has my commitment, my support and my appreciation for her willingness to run to be in service as a Newberg School board member.

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