Nori Juba: Things I’ve Learned

Meet the School Board Chair and Business Advisor

Nori Juba, family activities in Bend OregonNori Juba confesses that his kids aren’t really kids anymore, since his two boys no longer share the nest. Kevin, the oldest, is a senior at Oregon Tech, while Kyle is a freshman at the University of Oregon.  Nori’s parents live in New York City as does his brother, and his wife and his one year-old nephew. Nori moved to Bend in 1999 and works as an investor and a business advisor.  He is currently the chair of the Bend La Pine School Board that he joined in 2005.

What is the most important lesson you learned from your Father?

I worked with my father for ten years in our family’s Christmas lights business. I consistently heard stories from our customers and employees on how he always kept his word no matter how difficult business was. I learned that respect comes from trust and trust is the most important thing in any relationship.

How is holding office like being a parent?

You’ve got to hear out your kids like an elected official has to listen to his or her constituents. Sometimes you have to fight their battles, but a lot of times, you have to sell your vision and principles. Being a divorced parent, my kids sort of got to vote for me or their mom. Subconsciously, I think we often try to be the better parent or to win them over.  Like politics, that is not in anyone’s best interest.  Even though I have more power as a parent, it’s much easier being an elected official. Oftentimes, I feel that it’s easier to positively impact 17,000 students than two of your own kids.

What is the superpower that would have helped you as a parent?

Being a mind-reader would have been awesome. I often wondered what the kids were thinking when they did certain things.  I often wondered if they thought anything when they did certain things.

How are the kids of today different from when you were kid?

Kids have so many more options today than when I was a kid. They have such an endless source of information and ways to stay in touch
with people and to engage the world.

They see more options, they know more and fortunately they question things more. They don’t want the same stuff we wanted or buy into the dreams that we had. They value experiences over having stuff and seek out a broader range of identities than people of my generation.  Our
generation questions whether young people have the same drive that we did.  I think young people are just not driven to live the mind numbing life of going through the motions. Also, they are less nostalgic and more forward looking, because the world changes so quickly.

If parents were to, “ask not what the School District can do for you but what you can do for the School District” what would that be?

Come talk to us on what skills kids need to succeed in life. Don’t talk to us about how school used to be, but tell us what it should be. Our
district believes that we need to go way beyond content knowledge and high test scores for kids to be successful. Show us that education can
and should take place beyond the four walls of a classroom. Kids want experiences to learn.

Additionally parents need to demand more from our elected officials in Salem and let them know that the current level of funding and the
same old model of education are not good enough. The lack of leadership in education at the state level is the worst that I have seen during the
11 years that I have been on the school board and worse than most states. We need to value education a great deal more if we are going to move forward and up.

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