Camas School Board vice president resigns after ‘amazing six years’

Erika Cox announces June 21 departure; Board seeks replacement

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Camas School Board member Erika Cox (center) gathers with Camas School Board members Doug Quinn (left) and Corey McEnry during the 2022 State of the Community event at Lacamas Lake Lodge in Camas, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022. (Kelly Moyer/Post-Record files)

Camas School Board Vice President Erika Cox has announced her early departure from the elected position she’s held since 2018.

“It is with immense gratitude, and deep respect, that I share my resignation from the Camas School Board effective June 21, 2024,” Cox wrote to her school board peers and Camas School District Superintendent John Anzalone on May 15.

An avid volunteer for the Camas School District while her three children were younger — her eldest daughter, Emma, graduated from Camas High in 2019; her son, Elliot, graduated from Camas High in 2021, and her youngest daughter, Charlotte, is set to graduate from Camas High this June — Cox was appointed to the school board in 2018, and elected to her District 2 seat in 2021. Her current term ends in December 2025.

She told The Post-Record last week that “it’s been an amazing six years,” but that she is ready for a change.

“I feel that there’s a signal for change for me, and I really want to honor that,” Cox said.

And after a sometimes chaotic six years that spanned the COVID-19 pandemic, a search for a new superintendent, steep budget cuts and the first-ever Camas teachers’ strike, Cox said she wanted to leave on a high note.

“I wanted to leave at a good time, not because of someone or something,” she said. “There’s no drama. It’s been a very full six years of serving, and this felt like a good time, a good moment for a transition.”

Cox added that she has the utmost confidence in her school board peers.

“It’s because of the Board of Directors that I have served with that I am able to say that the Camas School District is strong,” Cox stated in her letter to Anzalone and the remaining Board members. “Through the Board’s dedication and guidance, the students and families of the Camas School District are being led by trustworthy, transparent, and professional volunteers that continue to put students first with every decision made.”

Cox said she is open to serving her community in another capacity in the future, but “needs a breather for a little while.”

She does plan to stay on the school board long enough to sit through one more workshop on the upcoming budget and to see this year’s group of Camas graduates earn their high school diplomas.

“If there is any prize to (serving on the school board), it’s watching students graduate,” Cox said. “That’s the heart-warming part. And site visits — getting to go into the classrooms and watch the kids read and solve math problems — were especially joyful for me.”

Though she plans to spend more time with family and traveling for her corporate communications job, Cox said she isn’t planning on abandoning the community she’s loved for nearly two decades.

“I’ll still be in Camas. I’m not going anywhere,” Cox said, adding that she intends to still advocate for Camas schools and, she hopes, raise awareness about the state education funding system that, she says, “isn’t working for Camas … or any other school district in Washington state.”

As she reflected on the past six years on the school board, Cox said she will never forget one date in particular.

“May 10, (2021),” she said. “I will never forget it. I just had shivers go down my arms.”

Cox was referring to a school board meeting at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when dozens of visibly agitated visitors railed against public health mandates, equity policies, “critical race theory” and masking policies meant to protect students and staff from a deadly virus.

“Your children are being drowned in ideological indoctrination and suffocated through their masks at school,” one parent shouted at the already angry crowd. “I implore you to take back the power and say, ‘Enough is enough.’”

Another parent yelled “shame on you” to the school board members as she removed her face covering. “I do not consent to my son — or any children in this school district — being masked,” the woman said. “Shame on you!”

The May 10 meeting and others that were just as contentious rattled local officials, including Cox.

“You think you know your community or have a pulse on how people are feeling because of civil communication and then, without warning, we had a board room full of angry people that we’d never talked to before,” she said. “Camas had always been open to community conversation — both the City and the school district — and we’d always had superintendents who were so responsive to community members. So this was like a storm that flew in and surprised us.”

Cox said the current school board and superintendent in Camas have continued “the Camas way” of being open to conversing with the public and trying to gauge how the community is feeling about its school district.

“The Board continues that style of openness today,” Cox said. “We have coffee talks where we invite anybody from the community to come and talk. … And we have such experienced administrators and principals at our schools who are open to having these civil conversations as our community continues to grow.”

Despite the negative moments she experienced as an elected official over the past six years, Cox said she is leaving her role with a sense of accomplishment.

“As I reflect on the past six plus years of volunteering as a Camas School Board Director, there are some particular accomplishments and moments that stand out the most in the work I contributed to on behalf of the students in Camas,” Cox stated in her resignation letter.

Those accomplishments, she said, include the district’s equity policy enacted in 2018; the district’s capital investments — including the purchase of the former UL property off Northwest Leadbetter Drive, updates to the Joyce Garver Theatre and Lacamas Heights Learning Center as well as the construction of Discovery High School and Lacamas Lake Elementary School — and the array of opportunities now available to students through the district’s choice learning programs and online Camas Connect Academy.

“I am proud to have helped steward and implement Camas School District’s equity policy and appreciative of the community members who dedicated their time to provide recommendations in helping craft this policy that shines a light on every student and their unique contributions. And the work needs to continue as our community is diverse and growing,” Cox stated in her letter. “I am confident our Board and District are well-equipped to continue to lead and improve upon this critical policy ensuring that the foundation of making diversity, equity, and inclusion a cornerstone of everything we do in Camas School District.”

As she prepares to step down from her role as a school board director, Cox said she will miss being an intimate part of the school district.

“Change can be hard, but I know this is the right thing to do and the right time to do it,” Cox, who is the daughter of two educators, said. “But I can’t tell you how much (being on the school board) has shaped me as a human being and my awareness of the amazing work that teachers do for all of our students. Their goal is to get through to kids and help them walk out of our schools being the best versions of themselves.”

In her resignation letter, Cox added it had been “an honor” to serve with the other school board members.

“I am certain that, with this Board’s focus on student achievement and experiences, our Camas learners are not only in capable hands, but also with public servant hearts as well,” Cox stated. “I have deep admiration and respect for our Camas School Board and know they will continue the rich history of making the best decisions possible in supporting our staff and serving our students in helping them grow and graduate with their individual strengths and talents.”

Earlier this week, the school district announced Cox’s resignation through a news release, and Anzalone praised the school board vice president’s service to the district.

“Erika’s commitment to our students and community has been extraordinary,” Anzalone stated in the news release. “Her leadership and passion have helped shape the Camas School District into what it is today. We will miss her deeply but wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

The Camas School District is inviting District 2 residents interested in serving on the school board to apply for the open position.

Applications (available online at will be accepted through noon on Friday, May 31. The Board will conduct interviews with applicants at 5:45 p.m. Monday, June 17, during a special school board meeting.

For more information, visit or contact Gail Housel at