About Virginia

What I try to teach my kids:

  • When you see an injustice, don’t be shy. Do something about it.
  • Be a voice for those who aren’t being heard.
  • Build relationships with others and be someone they can trust.
  • Never burn a bridge.

I’m the daughter of two parents who started raising me while they lived paycheck to paycheck in a basement apartment in Missoula, MT. My earliest memory is watching my dad coming down the stairs in the morning, returning from his night shift at the lumber mill. He’d take a nap and head to school. I remember my mom taking me to the bank where she worked as a book keeper when I was home sick from kindergarten. She couldn’t afford the day off so I rested upstairs.

My parents put themselves through college while working full-time in their 20s. My dad became a public school teacher (Special Ed) then a defense attorney. My mother became the Associate Director of Admissions at The University of Montana. Their determination to succeed in life by educating themselves instilled in me not only a drive to succeed but also a sense of responsibility to ensure that all children in our community have the same opportunities to succeed that I did when I started kindergarten 40 years ago. I don’t see that happening. I see buildings crumbling, lack reliable funding, support services lacking, failing accountability measures and graduation rates that need to increase. It’s time for change.

I worked my way through high school and college, graduating from The University of Montana with my B.A. in Journalism and a minor in History. I spent the first half of my career in the music industry focused on developing artists and connecting with their young fans (I tell my boys that “I used to be cool.”) The energy that young bands and their fans brought into my “office” (often a music venue) every day, was so inspiring and motivating. It kept me young at heart. I now work with brand managers and creative teams to develop marketing programs for craft beer clients at The Marketing Arm. I’m also proud of the business I co-own with my husband (he is the managing partner) which ships over a million pounds of produce to food banks across the country every month.

The bottom line? I was lucky to have parents and teachers that knew that my education would be the key to my future success. I want the same for every single student in PPS. I worry that a kid like me wouldn’t have a chance today.

We just can’t continue to be one of the worst performing school districts in the country. The Portland I know desperately wants better and we need leaders who can make that change. I believe in high expectations and providing the tools for our students and teachers to exceed them.