A former classroom teacher and administrator is the newest Washougal School Board member.
Jaron Barney, 45, was appointed to fill the position of district three at the board’s Tuesday, Nov. 17 meeting. He will be sworn in at the Jan. 12, meeting.
“I am really excited to get going and be involved,” he said. “I have no larger political ambitions. Education is far too important to just be a stepping stone.”
Barney moved to Washougal from California with wife Kristina, and children McKenna and Ethan, five years ago, due to school budget cuts and the cost of living.
McKenna is a senior at Washougal High School and Ethan, a fifth-grader at Gause Elementary.
“One of the first things to be cut in California schools were the arts,” he said. “I believe very strongly in the arts and that it benefits so many areas of kids’ lives. We had family up here already so we followed them.”
Barney, who worked in public education for nine years, said that a vibrant arts program is a core strength of the Washougal School District.
“I like that there are lots of positive things going on in the district and that we invest in our schools,” he said. “The district’s commitment to funding the arts is really something I am excited about.”
He has continued his work in the education sector by teaching classes at Charter College in Vancouver. He earned a bachelor of arts in English from San Francisco State University and a master’s degree in education from Chapman University.
School Board member Karen Rubino noted that Barney’s experience in education would be beneficial.
“I am really excited to have Jaron joining the board,” she said. “He brings a strong background in education, an appreciation for the community and a true caring for the kids to the position.”
Barney’s main goal as an incoming board member is to listen.
“I learned as an administrator, you need to do a lot of listening,” he said. “You can’t just come in and have an agenda. Narrow agendas do not serve the broader community well.”