State of The Valley, 2021

By January 21, 2021 Education Archives

A Winter Forum Sponsored by the Wood River Women’s Foundation with The Community Library

Aired: Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

Click here to view a recording of the presentation.

Moderator: Jenny Davidson, Executive Director, The Community Library

The Winter Forum explored how—in the midst of the pandemic—we are doing as a community and how we—as individuals and together—can jump start recovery in the coming year. What are our most pressing needs? What opportunities are there for solving problems with investment and creative approaches? How can we build a healthier, more inclusive, more equitable society in our valley? In a free-ranging discussion, our panelists reflected on these issues from their unique perspectives in county governance, education, and community health.

About the Panelists

Angenie McCleary has served as Blaine County Commissioner since 2008. Her term will expire in 2022. Angenie has been a resident of the Wood River Valley since 1999. With her Masters in Social Work, background in health and human services, and strong interest in youth and youth issues, Angenie understands the challenges facing Blaine County families. Of particular interest to Angenie are the issues of public transportation and mobility, air service, affordable housing, integration of Blaine County’s growing Latino population, mental health and substance abuse services, and public safety.

Brad Henson has been an elementary school principal in Blaine County for 15 years. His experience as an educator includes diverse roles working with deaf children, students with other disabilities and special needs, and students in both elementary and high school. Alturas Elementary, which he leads, is 70% Hispanic; many students are from low-income families who have been hit hard by the pandemic, even as they cope with daunting economic, cultural, and language challenges in their daily lives. Principal Brad is a trusted, respected educational leader in the school community and has unique insight into the present and future role of education in addressing our community’s most pressing needs.

Ruby Garcia, in her role as Bilingual Outreach Coordinator at St. Luke’s Community Health, has been given the St. Luke’s President’s Award for her exceptional work with typically underserved people. She has helped hundreds of individuals access health insurance and health services. She is known for her ability to develop trust, a climate of inclusion, and safe access to vital health care. She has helped many Spanish speakers by removing barriers, designing culturally relevant programs and services that the community actually attends, and facilitating communication between St. Luke’s and other interest groups in the valley.