Former Medford school board member Paulie Brading dies
A former member of the Medford School District's board of directors has died after a bout with pancreatic cancer.
Paulie Brading, who served on the board from 2008 to 2013, died Sunday afternoon at her home. She was 66 years old.
Brading, who also served as chair of the Jackson County Democrats and Jackson County Public Health Advisory Committee, is remembered by her colleagues and loved ones as an advocate for K-12 students, especially those from minority communities or disadvantaged backgrounds.
"She was able to advocate for kids who may not have the same level of advocacy or voice, whether that be kids of poverty or kids who fall into the demographics of a minority community. She was really instrumental in being a support system for them," said Tom Cole, Kids Unlimited executive director.
Brading was also a key player in getting charter schools, including Kids Unlimited's program, off the ground, Cole added.
"It was a really important endorsement at that time from someone in her position," he said.
School board member Marlene Yesquen said Brading helped bring new leadership to the district. Both were critical of former district superintendent Phil Long's job performance and his ability to take direction from the board. In a Q&A video with the Mail Tribune during her candidacy for the board in 2013, Brading said Long made a good effort in his position, but that he lacked some know-how when it came to running a school district. Long's contract with the district expired in June 2014.
"I think her legacy was that she helped change the leadership of the district, which helped the district become more effective for all of its students," Yesquen said.
Yesquen echoed Cole's sentiment that Brading was a staunch proponent of helping minority students succeed, especially through her support of ELL programs and time spent on the district's Latino Advisory Committee.
"She wanted to bring Latino issues to the forefront," Yesquen said.
Jackson County Democrats Chair Lynn Howe said Brading was energetic and articulate in her support of party candidates.
"I think she was incredibly stubborn and persistent in what she wanted to see happen," Howe said.
Brading's husband, Ron Fox, recalls his wife as a genuine persona whose private and public words and actions were consistent.
"She sort of talked the talk and walked the walk," Fox said. "She was very humble."