New school board member expects education

Sean C. Morgan

Serving on the District 55 School Board will be an education for its newest member, Nick Augsburger.

The School Board last week appointed Augsburger to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of Dale Keene. Augsburger will serve until the May election. The winner of that election will serve until the end of Keene’s original term in 2017. Augsburger was the only applicant for appointment to the position.

Augsburger said he is most concerned about ensuring quality education in the district.

He is married to Jessica, who works at Professional Benefits Services in Salem. They have one daughter, about 18 months old, and another child due in June.

Augsburger grew up in Myrtle Point, where he graduated from high school in 2005, “so I’m used to the small town,” he said. “I lived in Corvallis, which was a zoo compared to where I come from. We like being here a lot.”

A resident in Sweet Home for the past two years and employed at Cascade Timber Consulting, Augsburger said he has been involved at Holley Community Church, but he wanted to get more involved in the Sweet Home community.

“Really, this is just another opportunity to get plugged in,” he said. “To me, it’s a neat opportunity to try it out for five months. Part of it is wanting to get involved. We prayed about it a lot. I felt God was leading me that way.”

It’s a unique situation where he can learn more about public education and decide whether it’s something he would like to continue doing.

He has a wide range of interests, and he highly values education, he said. “The main priority for me is the quality of education.”

“I love being a dad,” Augsburger said. “I love children. I love kids.”

He has spent the past month, since applying, reading and trying to get up to speed on what’s been happening in local schools. That education will continue in the months to come.

To be honest, “I’m fairly clueless,” he said.

The board will begin scrutinizing the four-day school week again as it enters the new year and Augsburger goes to work.

“I guess I would have to see the pros and cons of each to make a decision,” Augsburger said, noting that most jobs are five days per week. He will support a four-day week or five-day week, depending on which has a positive effect on student performance.

Augsburger said he moved to Sweet Home in June 2012, after graduating from Oregon State University, to take a position as a forester at CTC.

At the time, he had a job offer in Forks, Wash., as well. He chose Sweet Home, where his older brother Luke Augsburger, then a high school teacher, is now principal at Foster Elementary School.

“It’s just sheer coincidence,” Augsburger said about moving to the same town his sibling works in. “I’d been here a few times, of course.”