Three for the BCOE board

The CN&R recommends Purvis, Steel and Johnson

There are four candidates running for three seats, all of them representing Chico, on the Butte County Office of Education’s governing board. One of them, Bob Purvis, has served on the board for 16 years and is now its president. Another, Roger Steel, was appointed to the board in July 2011. Both men are highly experienced retired school superintendents who bring vast knowledge to the board and should be returned to it.

The two remaining candidates are newcomers. One is Ryne Johnson, a business-management consultant whose father, retired Chico State professor Ladd Johnson, is resigning from the board after 12 years. He in turn was appointed to fill the term of his wife, Barbara, when she died. Ryne Johnson wants to continue this history of family service to the board.

Amy Christianson is chief operating officer at Beacon Services, a small education-consultancy firm in Oroville. Her background is in early childhood education, grant writing, managing county and regional programs and serving on numerous advisory boards.

Our concern in this case is not with Christianson’s professional qualifications—though we note that she includes among them a master’s degree from Ashford University, a for-profit online school with a dubious academic reputation.

No, for all we know Christianson would be an excellent board member. She’s smart and experienced. The bigger problem is that the CEO of Beacon Services, Mike Walsh, was elected to the same board two years ago, representing the Oroville area. If Christianson wins, the company’s two principals will both sit on the board. This would not be illegal—Walsh has agreed to do no business in Butte County—but it creates an appearance of potential conflict, and that’s not good.

Ryne Johnson is a Chico native from a family of educators. He would bring to the board more than 20 years of local, national and international business experience specializing in strategic planning, finance and conflict resolution.

He too has a master’s degree—from the University of Pennsylvania, in government administration, with honors. He should get your third vote for the board.