Join The Olympian’s editorial board in welcoming Karen Bierdeman and Peter Stroble, the two new community representatives.
Seventeen years ago, The Olympian began inviting a South Sound resident to join the board in shaping the editorial position of the newspaper. The program proved so popular that the newspaper added a second community representative 12 years ago.
The two community representatives serve six-month terms and join Publisher George Le Masurier, Managing Editor Jerry Wakefield and Editorial Page Editor Mike Oakland on the editorial board.
The community representatives sit in on Wednesday morning editorial board meetings where guests such as local elected officials, community activists and state leaders share their views of current events. After the guests depart, the board members discuss the official position the newspaper should take on those and other issues.
Bierdeman, a South Sound resident since 1996, is a parent coach. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Reed College in Portland and a master’s in education degree from The University of Washington with an emphasis on special education and childhood behavior disorders.
From 1991 until 1996, Bierdeman taught special education in the Highline School District where she was a behavior specialist.
From 1996 until 2005, Bierdeman taught in the Olympia School District, initially as a special education instructor, then as a first grade teacher focusing on building literacy skills.
In 2005 she was certified through the Parent Coaching Institute and Seattle Pacific University to become a parenting coach.
In her application, Bierdeman said, “One of the main reasons I’d love to be on The Olympian’s editorial board is that I am intensely interested in topics that have to do with parenting, children and education. Because I have a personal and professional background in these areas, I could bring to the board my experiences and insights. I believe a sense of humor is essential, and would bring that to the board, as well.”
Bierdeman and her husband are the parents of two daughters. Stroble, a graduate of Yale University who holds a master’s in business administration from the University of Washington, has three children.
He and his wife moved from Seattle to South Sound in 2004 where he works as sales manager for a family-owned fencing manufacturing company.
“We soon began bragging to our big city friends about our brilliant decision to move here,” Stroble said.
“Of all the great advantages and traits Olympia has to offer, one attribute stands out above all others in my opinion: its potential. I believe Olympia and its surrounding region can become the true envy of all small, non-commuter, non-retirement, non-vacation cities on the West Coast. Given what it already has going for it and what it has yet to accomplish, Olympia can, and should, become the model small city for the way of life in the 21st century,” Stroble said.
While a relative newcomer to South Sound, Stroble has immersed himself into the community. He is a member of the downtown Rotary Club, Thurston County Roundtable, serves on the board of the South Puget Sound Community College Foundation and Olympia 2012, a volunteer organization dedicated to boosting downtown Olympia.
Stroble and Bierdeman replace former Olympia councilwoman Margaret McPhee and Dr. Samantha Ritchie, an Olympia family practice physician, on the editorial board.
Stroble and Bierdeman will serve the July through December term which includes the all-important fall election season. They will join other members of the editorial board interviewing candidates for city council, county commission, port district and school board races. They will have an equal voice in The Olympian’s candidate endorsements.
South Sound residents interested in serving on the editorial board in the future should send a self-nomination to: Editorial Board, The Olympian, P.O. Box 407, Olympia, WA 98507. Fax it to 360-357-0202 or send an e-mail self-nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org.