The Raleigh Park Elementary PTO is led by a group of hard-working, dedicated parents who donate their time each month to operating this amazing non-profit that benefits all children who attend Raleigh Park. Take a moment to get to know the current PTO board members and see what inspires them to dedicate some of their free time to our school.
Marc Strickland, president
Now in their fourth year with the school, Marc and his wife Laura are both active Raleigh Park volunteers. Their daughter Brynly is in 3rd grade at Raleigh Park and son Wyatt is in 6th grade.
When he’s not active on the board and helping on the school technology committee, he can be found cheering on his Ducks, as well as his kids in their own sports endeavors. There’s also golf, fly fishing, reading and shooting some hoops with the kids. Weekdays keep him busy as an insurance broker for Woodruff-Sawyer, focusing on helping employers manage their health and welfare programs.
Marc says that when he and Laura moved into the neighborhood, it was the perfect time to make a commitment to be more involved the community. He found joining the PTO board was the perfect chance to invest in their kids’ education and the school.
Among the many things that Marc finds special about Raleigh Park is that Laura attended the school when she was in first grade. (Very cool! – and she’s not the only story of a parent whose kids are now attending Raleigh Park.) When they were looking to move out of Portland Public Schools, they really wanted a school that would give their kids an experience like the one they remembered having growing up – close knit, small but not too small, and a well rounded curriculum. Raleigh Park fit the bill! Marc thinks that Raleigh Park has a strong sense of community where the teachers and administration work very well together. The teachers truly care about each student as an individual, and support him or her throughout their entire time at Raleigh Park.
What would Marc say to someone who is thinking about volunteering at Raleigh Park?
“My wife is able to volunteer at the school [during the day] more than I am, and she always says how rewarding it is to be in the classroom helping the teachers and interacting with the kids; you get to know your child’s friends and classmates better, get a first hand understanding of what their day in school is like, and gives you insight into what they’re studying. The kids are always so welcoming, and appreciative of the time spent with them, that the time she spends there actually pays her back tenfold and she always leaves with a big smile.
It’s easy to get involved, and teachers are happy to help fit you in, no matter how little time you can spare. Kids love seeing their parents helping in the school!”
Peter Jewett, vice president
Peter has had a impressive impact at Raleigh Park in a short amount of time. Peter is Dad to Ruby in 5th grade and Max in 2nd grade, who – along with his wife – keep him busy with weekend adventures that include camping, biking and fun road trips. Peter is also a fan of basketball, eating/drinking, live music and as he puts it, “playing in the road.” (Safely, we hope!)
Peter also likes to do a little environmental science work from afar for Stanford University on the side when he’s not busy being a rock star Dad.
Peter was inspired to join the board because his family was new to the school in 2012-2013, so he thought it would “be a good ‘crash course’ in the workings of the school, as well as an opportunity to meet other parents and staff members.
He thinks the kids are awesome at Raleigh Park and by far, his favorite thing to do at the school is “to be in the classroom and get to interact with the wonderful kids.”
What would Peter say to someone who is thinking about volunteering at Raleigh Park?
“Do it! It is a great way to understand all aspects of the school, meet interesting people, and interact with wonderful students, while providing an opportunity for you to have your voice heard in regards to the future direction of the school.”
Kristen Myklebust, ways and means co-chair
Kristen is a Health instructor at Clark College where she encourages youth to try foods other than Fire Hot Cheetos and energy drinks. In their free time Kristen, husband Woody, 5th grader Owen, and 3rd grader Maya spend a lot of time on the soccer pitch, watching football, and fixing up their home.
From the very first day of first grade with Mr. Reister they knew this was a special place. The friendliness of Karen and LeAnn in the front office, the walks down the halls highlighting the students’ achievements in literacy and art, the stellar teaching staff, and the overall warmness and welcome-ness they felt from the RP families was comforting.
Kristen joined the PTO Board because she is always looking for ways to connect with the community and be a helpful part of her children’s education.
What would Kristen say to someone who is thinking about volunteering at Raleigh Park?
“One of the reasons Raleigh Park is so special is due to the generous volunteering of moms, dads, grandparents, older siblings, and even pets. As a parent of a child that isn’t particularly verbose about what goes on at school each day, it gives me an opportunity to see first-hand what is happening in the classroom and at the school in general. There are such a variety of opportunities as well, from dressing up as the RP Tiger to putting your hands in the earth in the school garden, to running the “dunk the principal booth” at the Carnival, there’s something for everyone!”
Maureen McGrain, secretary
Maureen is a freelance writer who loves taking trips to the coast or curling up outside in a hammock with a good book. She and her husband have three children: Dylan, a second grader, Rose, age 4, and Ben, age 2. With two small kids at home it’s challenging for Maureen to volunteer in the classroom, so being on the PTO Board offered her an opportunity to get involved in a way that fit better with her schedule.
One of Maureen’s favorite Raleigh Park moments came last year at the Jog-A-Thon. One of the volunteers she was working with knew almost every single kid who came around the track because he had coached them in various sports or knew them through his own kids. He was cheering for all of those kids so loudly and enthusiastically, she couldn’t help but smile.
What would Maureen say to someone who is thinking about volunteering at Raleigh Park?
“I would give them the same advice a former PTO board member gave me: If you’re unsure about it, just go for it. It will be rewarding and enlightening. I’ve learned so much about the school already, and I’ve only been to one meeting.”
Laura Buck, communications coordinator
Laura is in her third year as a Raleigh Park parent. Her daughter Isabella is in 2nd grade and she also has a one-year-old named Alden. Alden isn’t quite ready, but the rest of the family loves to go roller-skating at Oaks Park. They also love going to the beach, sampling all the good food Portland has to offer, hanging out with friends, and traveling.
When her family moved to the neighborhood in 2013, they picked their house because of its proximity to Raleigh Park. They had heard great things about the school, its leadership, and the community of families. When Isabella started kindergarten the next year, Laura signed up to volunteer in the classroom and had a blast reading, helping teachers, and doing Art Lit with the kids. She still loves working with the kids one on one, but wanted to take a bigger role on the PTO Board.
What would Laura say to someone who is thinking about volunteering at Raleigh Park?
“I wanted to help out with all of the incredible things that happen at Raleigh Park, and working on the website and social media is a great way to do it. Volunteering and working on the board are great ways to really get to know what’s going on at school and the help is so appreciated by the teachers, staff, other parents, and especially the kids. It’s also really fun and a great way to meet other parents!”