Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Letter to the editor

I wrote an editorial for our local Camas-Washougal Post Record thanking the 2,318 voters who voted for me and promising to continue advocacy for exemplary public education. I'm proud to live in Camas & am so grateful for the opportunities afforded every student in the Camas School  District!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thank you for the support!

Thank you for the support: the texts, the emails, the calls, the thoughts! The election results didn't result in a win but it was close & the encouragement feels like a win to me! 

My passion for our district, our kiddos, our teachers & staff will continue and my involvement will not waiver. I may not be sitting in that seat on Monday nights, but I will continue to be an advocate in our state & in our district & will continue to be available to you for conversation!

Thank you everyone! We will move forward together!
Appreciative, Erika

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Endorsed by CAC Vice Chairman/Fort Vancouver Trust COO Mike True & PALS President Courtney True

Posted in the 10.29.13 Camas-Washougal Post Record, Mike & Courtney True have shared their endorsement. 

Mike is the Vice-Chair of the CAC and the COO of Fort Vancouver National Trust. His wife Courtney is the President of PALS (Parent Association of Lacamas Students). 

I am grateful for their involvement in our district & support for new, forward thinking participation on the CSD School Board. 

Thank you Mike & Courtney!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Endorsed by National Non-Profit FRIENDS of CARRA Chairman & Treasurer

Thank you to the Friends of CARRA chairman & treasurer for the endorsement of advocacy for every child.  I've been working with this national non-profit for 5 years and am passionate about supporting the work that the rheumatology doctors in the USA & Canada do on behalf of our children.  I am humbled & appreciative & look forward to seeing their recommendation in the Camas-Washougal Post Record on election day.

Dear Editor,
We are writing this letter in support of Erika Cox for the Camas School Board. As the leaders of Friends of CARRA (Childhood Arthritis & Rheumatology Research Alliance), a national non-profit organization, we deeply understand the importance of advocacy and the impact that one individual can make within a community.

As a dedicated volunteer, Erika has been a tremendous asset to our organization. She brings her enthusiasm and creativity into everything that she does. In addition to organizing and hosting a variety of successful fundraising events for Friends of CARRA, such as the CARRA Costume Ball, the Camas Race for CARRA and several Shop for CARRA events; Erika also serves as the parent liaison for CARRA’s Uveitis subcommittee.

Whether spreading awareness about juvenile arthritis and uveitis, raising funds to support critical research or providing her invaluable perspective as a committee member, Erika is at the forefront, inspiring others to do the same.

It is without reservation that we recommend Erika Cox to serve on the Camas School Board. She will work tirelessly to ensure that every child receives the best education possible and that every family has a voice.

Most Sincerely,
Vincent Del Gaizo, Chairman
Debbie Wright, Treasurer
Friends of CARRA

Friday, October 18, 2013

Endorsed by Skyridge Middle School PTO Vice President: Lori Tunstall

Thank you to Skyridge Middle School PTO VP, Lori Tunstall who has written an endorsement that will run in our local Camas-Washougal Post Record on Tuesday (10.22) & The Columbian.

I would like encourage Camas residents to vote for Erika Cox for the Camas School Board.
From classroom volunteer, to executive board member in PTA and PTO, to PTA President, and current Chairwoman for the district’s Citizens Advisory Committee, Erika has worked on behalf of the students, families, teachers and staff in the Camas School District.   

What excites me most about Erika is that she is not satisfied to simply be a member of an organization or committee.  Instead, she fully engages in the organization and participates in getting things done.  On the Skyridge PTO, Erika began helping with staff appreciation events as soon as her daughter entered 6th grade.  Now, she actively leads the staff appreciation team and also manages Social Media for the PTO as she believes that communication with parents is essential.  And that is just one organization – add to that elementary school committees and non-profit boards and you get the picture of a person that enthusiastically dedicates her time to making things better. 

Erika’s background in hi-tech public relations and her leadership in a national non-profit provide her with the skill set and conviction to serve Camas families with integrity, determination and dedication. Erika’s tireless energy and passion for education provide her with the ability to seek viable alternatives to future challenges.  Please join me in voting for Erika Cox for the Camas School Board.

Lori Tunstall, Skyridge PTO Vice President

Endorsed by Camas School Board President: Connie Hennessey

Thank you to current Camas School Board President, Connie Hennessey who has written an endorsement that will run in our local Camas-Washougal Post Record on Tuesday (10.22) & The Columbian.

Two parents, both respected, both wanting to serve their community by being on the school board for the next four years and both deserving.

Erika Cox, has been in the community 8 years and in every year has volunteered for field trips, classroom helper, PTA/PTO member and president. For the past two years Erika has judged senior projects at the high school,  while being Citizens Advisory Committee to the school board & now in her 3rd year, serves as Chairwoman.

Because of her enthusiastic, caring personality and participation in PTA/PTO she has developed good communication and relationships district wide taking the initiative to reach out to staff, parents, community members, city and state government officials. Erika is highly respected for her tireless volunteer work, her intelligence and leadership. She is very skilled at asking probing questions and is not afraid to make tough decisions, values highly desirable for an effective board member.

She is a wonderful ambassador advocating for great public education for not only her children but great schools and successful experiences for all children. It is only logical that she continue her involvement and participation in the school district as a board member. I would be honored to have her as a fellow board member and that is why I am endorsing Erika Cox for Camas School Board.

Connie Hennessey
Camas School Board President

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Coffee Talks Around the Community!

Last week I met a friend for coffee.  She’s a Camas mom & fellow Citizen's Advisory Committee member who is a native from Louisiana.  Her coffee was different from my usual Starbucks, it included chicory & it was as delicious as our conversation!

Our coffee talk reminded me of why I’m so passionate to join the Camas School Board. The love for our schools is contagious in our community!  And it should be!  Our students are doing amazing things with incredible opportunities in & out of the classroom!

Today I met with Senator Ann Rivers.  While our conversation focused mostly on funding, I shared with her the concerns of this last years state legislature, passing the state budget up until the brink which crippled many school districts from being able to proactively plan financially for this school year.  I shared with her the concerns we have that the budget that was passed had too many strings attached.  

Meeting with Senator Ann Rivers
Every day I am proud to be an advocate for the students & families of Camas.  As a school board member, I will continue to champion our public schools in our community & with state & federal policy makers.

Continuing my push for advocacy for the Camas School District, I’m excited that Senator Rivers will be setting up a meeting between me & Senator Bruce Dammeier, vice-chair of the Early Learning & K-12 Education committee.  

Senator Ann Rivers & I vowed to continue our coffee talks & I invited her to join our Citizen’s Advisory Committee meetings this year. I look forward to seeing her there. You're invited as well: 1st Mondays of the month at 5:30PM at Zellerbach Administration Center

I want to continue doing this important work on behalf of our students, families, teachers & staff in the Camas School District and I need your support to share with your neighbors & friends.  Every day I am meeting with people, sharing & developing my vision for our schools.  As a future member of the school board, I will continue my interactions attending parent organization meetings at the elementary & middle schools, continuing to meet with administrators, teachers and parents to fully represent the priorities & passions benefiting our students learning.   

I will be honored to serve the students & families of the Camas School District.  Please feel free to contact me!  Let’s have coffee!

Thank you for your continued support.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Volunteerism & Leadership: My role with CARRA: Childhood Arthritis & Rheumatology Research Alliance

Our family
I share our family story because I'm not just the mom of three girls who's passionate about their education in the Camas School District.  I'm also an advocate for my daughter.

When our daughter was diagnosed at age 2 with rheumatoid arthritis, I threw myself into the throws of investigating, studying & understanding the disease & the medications available for her. We became part of the team (of many) trying to make decisions on what path to take to make her well.  Research, research, research!

Now at age 8, Charlotte is happy & healthy on an immune suppressant low dose chemo drug & Humira.  Charlotte has uveitis, arthritis in the eyes and visits the pediatric ophthalmologist frequently.  During the beginning battle when her eyes were at the top of the flare scale, we looked to studies as to situations similar to hers, so together with her rheumatologist, ophthalmologist & uveitis specialist, we knew which path to take.  There were very few studies & no situations exactly like hers.  Reaching out via my blog, I met moms across the nation and found their stories differed as well: some kids go on one drug while others are prescribed another.  We sought the guidance of a uveitis specialist in Cambridge who recommended a specific route for Charlotte.  That route worked for four years & failed her the first week of 1st grade.  Back to the research I went, the communication across the team of doctors & many eye appointments later, Charlotte is doing well & celebrating one year being flare free!

For 6 years, I have raised funds & awareness for a non-profit called CARRA: Childhood Arthritis & Rheumatology Research.  I believe in CARRA because every dollar donated goes to research. Research that 6 years ago, I wish would have been available to know for certain which path to take for Charlotte.

I've organized:
  • the CARRA Costume ball (2 years @ CHS & @PHE)
  • the Walk for CARRA (@PHE)
  • & for the past two years, I've had a Shop for CARRA event in my home.  

We've participated every year, in other CARRA fundraisers in Portland:  the Race for CARRA &  the Hayhurst Triathlon!  And you might have seen little girls wearing big flowered headbands at school & at football games.  That's because for 6 years I have made & sold Tottie's Pretties headbands where I donate profits to CARRA.
Tottie's Pretties headbands at a Camas fundraising event coordinated by Ann Matthews
Shopping for CARRA last year
CARRA now has a committee that is solely dedicated to arthritis induced uveitis. 

I was asked to be a part of the CARRA uveitis committee with Doctors from across the nation, to be the voice of the parent with a child with uveitis.  

The committee has been working for a year now, meeting via conference calls once a month, creating a protocol for doctors to follow for their uveitis patients.

My fact-finding knowledge on Charlotte's condition, and my determination to fund research is work that I am devoted to and passionate about.  It's why Friends of CARRA leaders asked for my participation & it's the same drive & conviction I have to represent every student in the Camas School District.

I hope to join the CSD School Board of Directors on November 5th & you can count on the same persistence & dedication to every decision I make on behalf of the families in our community.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Flyers & About Erika Cox

About Erika Cox for Camas School Board:

Erika Cox is the current Chairwoman of the Citizens advisory committee to the school board.  she is a longtime parent teacher association (PTA) volunteer including President, and chair of executive committees.  Cox served on the  most recent boundary review committee for the new Woodburn Elementary School in Camas & is on her Homeowners Association executive board.

For almost 10 years, Cox was a Hi-Tech Pubic Relations specialist for Microsoft & Siemens where she utilized her skills as a collaborator & communicator.  She has a B.S. in Political Science & Written English from Oregon State University.  Cox & her husband Ryan, have 3 daughters who have attended Prune Hill Elementary & now attend Dorothy Fox Elementary & Skyridge Middle School.

Thursday, September 5, 2013 Voters Guide - Cox for Camas School Board responses

On September 10th, The League of Women Voters of Washington (LWVWA) will post an online voters' guide, for the 2013 general election.  Each question only allowed a 500 character response.  My full responses are below.  

Please share with your neighbors, family & friends!  I appreciate your vote!

Why did you decide to run for this position?
I’m the daughter of two retired public educators & was raised attending public schools in Oregon.  Working for an Oregon State Senator & being his liaison to the early childhood education committee, I became even more involved & passionate about the needs & support for public education.

When my husband & I moved to Camas with our three daughters, 8 years ago, I knew there was no better way to get involved with their education than to volunteer in the schools.  I started out as PTA President at the elementary level and now I’m involved at both the elementary & middle school PTA/PTO’s & volunteer in the classroom.  I’ve been on executive boards and most recently, I’m the chairwoman of the Citizens Advisory Committee to the School Board.  

When I join the Camas School Board, I'll bring the ability to build strong & trustworthy relationships within the community & to those I work with.  Prior to my volunteerism, I was in the corporate world advising Microsoft on their public relations strategy.  This involved working with various groups across the agency, Microsoft, 3rd party partners & customers.  Together we drove results that surpassed client expectations and we collectively celebrated the accomplishments & recognition.  With my neighbors & community, I look forward to sharing & celebrating our school district wins & practicing creative problem solving for the challenges that arise.

Of three major issues facing your district, which one is the most urgent?
We’re a growing community saddled with tight state & federal funding like all our neighboring districts, however, we’re lucky in Camas.  Camas School District test scores have incrementally increased year after year & yet,  special programs or sports have not been cut, like some of our neighbors.  Moving forward, school board decisions will need to be deliberate in regards to managing school growth and budget.  We will need to focus on growing one student at a time and continuing to incrementally improve our students growth (not just test scores) & knowledge every year.  I want to join the board and help make systemic & thoughtful decisions that are fiscally responsible & making sure we’re moving at the right pace.

How will you ensure excellent physical facilities for your students?
Facility upkeep takes forward thinking planning & strategic budget forecasting so that you can maintain facilities & upkeep a little at a time.  Camas has beautiful facilities that range in age from a brand new elementary school that opened this fall to another elementary school that is 50 years old.  Each facility in Camas School District is unique & beautiful in their character & history. Working with the board of directors, and the team in the district, and city leaders, I look forward to helping plan for the future growth & needs of facilities for our families. 

What is your position on testing of your students?
The importance of testing is evident.  We need to understand what students are absorbing in their learning so we can build on that for academic success.  Teachers need to understand the effectiveness of their lessons & how to teach it in a way that students will get it, and then figure out what to do if they don’t get it or if they already know it.  This type of testing is important for helping teachers understand needs of one child at a time, every day. Year end, state assessment testing is important as well for grade level learning communities within our district,  to understand the effectiveness & impact of curriculum. 

If we are not assessing students, we won’t know the answers to these questions, however our focus shouldn’t be on the results of state ratings as the the only barometer in teaching & learning.  An aha! moment won't happen when they are filling in a bubble but instead comes from engaging curriculum from passionate teachers on a day to day basis. 

With our new teacher & principal evaluation program (TPEP), teachers & principals can utilize opportunities to grow their passions in the classroom.  When teachers are passionate and motivated, learning is contagious, students learn & state testing scores are a positive result of that flow. I'm a big supporter of TPEP, the work that goes into evaluating teachers & principals and the efforts made to make each evaluation as unique as the person associated with it.  I believe that professional goals will drive careers & lead to quality instruction, therefore reflecting in the day to day student assessments as well as the year end measurements of student progress. 

How should civics education be provided?
Civics education should be woven into age appropriate curriculum at every grade level & continue with the School Board of Directors.  If we are defining civics education to be the study of citizenship in regards to our community & our government, then in the K-12 system, we can begin at kindergarten learning and continue building on that knowledge at every grade level until they are seniors taking Current World Issues.  Our city government & school district have a good relationship & its that integration that is visible real world learning  for our students.  Civics is alive in Camas & the involvement of our elected officials in our community is visible to all in Camas on Friday nights:  Mayor Higgins moves the chains at the Varsity football games!

How should the on-time graduation rate be improved?
When we think about improving on-time graduation rates, we need to support students before they reach high school.

Early Childhood education: It’s about supporting new parents in our community with tools for their early learners including making universal pre-k available, nationally, for four year olds.  Senator, Patty Murray, is passionate about making this available as well & it will take partnership & education to make this a reality to our families in Camas.

Elementary education:  Once children get to kindergarten its about having programs like LEAP (Learning Early Advocacy Program) to help their literacy expand & having programs in place at the elementary level as they grow, to make sure that they are reading at grade level by grade 3. Camas School District is vested in growing young readers with programs like LEAP because studies show that reading proficiently by grade three is a benchmark for future success including graduating on time.  

I support putting emphasis in early education to improve on-time graduation rates and will passionately support the programs that support the needs of our youngest students & future students.

How should bullying be addressed?

Bullying isn’t an age specific issue, its a k-12 issue and starts with educating students and staff on what bullying is and what it isn’t.  With the positive behavior strategies implemented in the Camas School District, our students are learning to prevent bullying, identify bullying & responding to bullying.  For staff, its teaching anti-bullying curriculum and reinforcing those lessons.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Interview with CVTV

On preliminary election night, I watched the ballots come in for those who were in preliminary races, at the  Clark County Elections office in Vancouver, WA.  My school board election, since there are only two of us, will be in the general election on November 5th.  

Clark Vancouver Television (CVTV) station aired the results live to over 164,815 homes in Vancouver/Clark County & during that time, I had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Carolyn Long, Associate Professor for the Department of Political Science at Washington State University.  

Erika Cox School Board Interview from Erika Cox on Vimeo.

Help me by sharing this with friends!  Election is on November 5th, 2013.
Thank you!  - Erika

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Week in Review 6.16-22, 6.23-29

From now until election day on November 5th, I will be meeting people in the district & attending events that will allow me to dive into being a school board director with the knowledge & information needed to immediately get to business.

Week June 16-June 22 (21 weeks till the election)

Met with:

Camas Mayor Scott Higgins
Mayor Higgins was so gracious with his time of managing our wonderful city to share with me the the priorities he hears from Camas citizens.  Out of a town of 20K, half of that are children birth to 18.  People come here for the schools, like we did, so the involvement & awareness is high.  Mayor Higgins talked growth with me and how he's watched our town grow, as a native who went away for college & came back to raise his children.  He's a forward thinker and works closely with our Board & Superintendent to look ahead and think about growth & schools for Camas families.

CSD Business Services Director, Donna Gregg
Donna is such a finance superstar that she made time to give me the broad overview of what the budget COULD look like, BEFORE the state legislature passed the budget.  She was busy working on the many 'what if's' before the actual budget squeaked by before the date of government shut down.  Now that I understand the broad brushstrokes of the budget, I am betting that the details will be shared with the Board on the July 29th (@530 PM at JDZ) at their scheduled board meeting.

Week June 23-June 29


- School Board Meeting

Team Mean Machine, the First Robotics Competition team (made up of students from CHS, WHS, HFHS, & Hockinson came to show their 1st place robot that shot frisbees into a net, spot on every time! It was amazing to hear these kids talk about how they worked together and with other teams to accomplish their 1st place award.
Follow them on Twitter @MeanMachine2471
Other topics discussed were the purchase of 5 new replacement busses 
(did you know they recycle old busses, gut them & use them for grounds & maintenance?), 
approval of School Data Soluntions (a way to look at data on each child, extracting from 
Skyward & tests), AIMSweb renewal, approval of the Armory Gym Roof replacement.

H-RoC Political Action Committee meet & greet.  

This is a group that is engaging & connecting women throughout the community, providing support for women in political & civic roles.  I was able to meet their board of directors along with fellow candidates, in a relaxed meet & greet setting at The Grant House.  What an inspirational group of leaders in one place, which also highlighted what a small world it is having 1st & 2nd hand connections with several of them!  It was a fun evening!

Met with:

- CSD Human Resources Director, Rita Pakenen
Thank you to Rita who shared with me the five unions that make up our school district, their leaders & how often she negotiates contracts with them.  We also discussed details in hiring & retaining quality personnel. 

Hayes Freedom High School principal, Amy Holmes

There is a teacher for every student and a learning environment for every student.  Hayes Freedom is the epitome of that opportunity.  Hayes Freedom HS is the choice HS for students out of middle school and can attend all 4 years or part of their years.  They are a small school built on a a true block schedule, have fewer teachers & the ability to have narrower transitions within the day.  Whatever your child's learning style is, they have a choice in HS between CHS & HFHS. Meeting with Amy was a true highlight of my week because understanding this choice that our students have in the CSD is so exciting and I believe, not fully understood in the community.  I hope that a senior will take this challenge of HFHS needing some good public relations & tackle a movie and some 30 second PSA spots about HFHS to share at the elementary level news, middle school news & with the community!


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Week in Review 6.2-8 & 6.9-15

From now until election day on November 5th, I will be meeting people in the district & attending events that will allow me to dive into being a school board director with the knowledge & information needed to immediately get to business.
Week June 2 - June 8 (23 weeks till the election)
-  Washington State School Directors Association Candidate workshop, in Kelso.   This meeting highlighted the responsibilities School Board members have in governing their school district, the law, scenarios & educational resources for members.

- 3 days of Camas High School Senior presentations + 2 days of Hayes Freedom HS Senior Presentations.  This is my 2nd year volunteering for this event & it didn't disappoint.  The class of 2013 put their hearts into their Senior projects this year & I was happy that both my parents (retired educators) were able to volunteer to hear them too.  The senior class inspired me with their volunteerism & passion & they will go on to do great things because of their experiences in these projects.

Week June 9 - June 15 (22 weeks till the election)


- School Board Meeting.  Highlight was hearing Deputy Superintendent Jeff Snell synopsis this year's progress of the pilot program TPEP (Washington State Teacher/Principal Evaluation Project).  Thanks to those who have spent HOURS to test drive what works/what doesn't for a 2013-2014 implementation in the Camas School District.  Select teachers & administrators volunteered to dive into the program early and will be leaders to their peers in the Camas School District (as well as the state) as the roll out happens in the next year.  
    For background: The Teacher/Principal Evaluation Pilot was born from the 2010 Washington state legislative session. The evaluation provisions are a part of a larger reform effort made during Washington’s Race to the Top application. It altered the way teachers & administrators are professionally evaluated from a two-tiered system of unsatisfactory to a four-tiered system. In addition to moving to a four-tiered system, the legislation created eight new criteria for teachers and principals to be evaluated upon, with common themes tying the criteria for teachers and principals together. Camas volunteered to start piloting the project 3 years ago before it was mandated across the state & refining it more each year in order for all involved to understand, collaborate & incorporate into daily work.
For more info:

- Campaign Training Program put on by the Clark County Association of Realtors.  Valuable information on how to let people know about my passion to be a school board member, attaining their support & vote on election day.  Thank you CCAR!

Ellie, Charlotte & Emma in their 5th kids triathlon
- The 12th Annual Hayhurst Kids Triathlon benefiting CARRAThe Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA) is a North American organization of more than 380 pediatric rheumatologists and researchers who are working together to find treatments for juvenile arthritis and other diseases of the joints, muscles, and bones in children.  The mission of the alliance is to prevent, treat, and cure rheumatic diseases in children and adolescents through fostering, facilitating, and conducting high-quality research.  This event is put on a by an AMAZING Beaverton School District teacher who is passionate about kids moving & educating the community on rheumatic diseases in children: Mr. Jim Hayhurst! 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Election Day - November 5th!

As Chairwoman of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee, member of the Boundary Review, past PTA president & current PTA/PTO member, I’m passionate about the future priorities & decisions made supporting public education in Camas.  With my background in public relations, I bring to the board the ability to facilitate, collaborate, & communicate for the success of ALL Camas students.  In the next four years, our district will be challenged with continued tight state funding and a growing community. I would be honored to serve & represent all families of Camas as we positively embrace challenges & work together on opportunities.

Campaign Contact Information

Twitter:      ErikaHarrisCox