Updated August 2, 2011 with a statement from Kate Martin.
King County is holding an all-mail Primary and Special Election on August 16, 2011. Ballots have now arrived at most Green Lake homes.
Green Lake residents will see School Board candidates on their ballots. The top two candidates in the Primary race will be on all Seattle ballots in November.
There are four contenders for Seattle School Director for District No. 2, which represents Bagley, B.F. Day, Green Lake, Greenwood, Hamilton International Middle School, McDonald Elementary, Middle College @ Wilson Pacific, Olympic View, Sacajawea, Seattle Evening School, Stanford International School and Whittier.
We asked for statements from the four candidates currently running in the Primary race for School District No. 2.
From Sherry Carr:
Four years ago, I ran successfully for School Board energized by the belief that quality schools change lives and transform communities. That belief has driven my decision making on behalf of our city’s 47,000 students. In every decision, I have leaned on valuable lessons learned from my years as President of the Daniel Bagley PTA – I have rolled up my sleeves and put what is best for students first.
Our School Board has laid a strong foundation for accomplishing our primary goal of improving academic outcomes for all students. We implemented a new neighborhood-based student assignment plan in response to parent demand. We secured landmark agreements with our teachers’ and principals’ unions that drive increased accountability for student achievement. Major curriculum changes have been made to ensure that every student has more equitable access to a high quality education. And our students are now benefiting from the first nearly complete purchase of new textbooks in decades. These milestones benefit all students and are fundamental to closing the achievement gap.
As Audit & Finance Committee Chair, I provided key leadership aimed at driving significant structural change to our District. This work included a major overhaul of Board policies, ethics program improvements, and stronger financial controls. These changes will result in a strong governance structure for Seattle Public Schools. Despite four consecutive years of budget gaps, we worked together to prioritize funding for our classrooms first, reducing central administration while investing in changes necessary to improve academic outcomes for students.
In the Green Lake neighborhood, McDonald School has re-opened at Lincoln and will move ‘home’ in fall 2012. The 1913 building is currently undergoing a $15M renovation. This fall a language immersion program will be added including both Spanish and Japanese tracks. Green Lake School continues to be a thriving school community with a new leader and a strong academic program. Daniel Bagley School, once the repeated target of closure threats, has grown to nearly 400 students with waitlists for both Montessori and Contemporary programs. Through it all, I have been responsive to families through email and in person to address their concerns.
I have lived in the Green Lake neighborhood for nearly 30 years with my husband, Bill and our two daughters both of whom attended Daniel Bagley. At soccer games at Green Lake fields, Girl Scout troop meetings at the Hearthstone, or PTA meetings at Bagley, I have met my Green Lake neighbors. I am honored to serve this community and feel a strong sense of accountability to its residents. There is still work to do.
Student achievement must improve, and we must close the achievement gap. We aren’t there yet – but we are moving aggressively forward. I assure you that our progress, while sometimes challenging to achieve, is both steady and substantial. I’m confident we are moving in the right direction; now is not the time to reverse course. My sleeves are rolled up. I ask for your vote in the August 16th primary election. Thank you!
From Jack Whelan:
My name is Jack Whelan, and I am running for School Board, District 2. I have lived in the Green Lake neighborhood for twenty-three years in three houses: one on Canfield Place in the old Honey Bear days, then over in the Green Lake Elementary neighborhood near 65th, and since 2004 just north of Blanchet H.S. on Burke Ave.
My son, Luke, went to Green Lake Elementary where he graduated in 2002, and he graduated from Ingraham H.S. in 2009. My wife has taught in Seattle Public Schools since 1992, and taught one year at Green Lake Elementary. I was the parent chess coordinator/coach at Green Lake Elementary from 1998 to 2002, and I was a Little League coach for the Roosevelt-University District-Greenlake (RUG) League Minors and Majors teams from 1999-2003. I was named All-Star coach for the Majors in 2003.
I have degrees from Boston College and Yale University, and I have been on the faculty of the UW’s Foster School where I have taught a strategic business communications since 1986. I am an educator married to an educator, and I understand that you can only be good at what you love to do, and you cannot learn if you do not love to learn. Everything in a school system has relevance only insofar as it supports the love of learning in our kids, teachers, and parents.
If elected, I will work hard to restore stability and good order to an otherwise dysfunctional school system. You cannot build stability from the top down, and you cannot build on a flawed foundation. The district suffers from both problems.
I want a return to site-based collaborative management, in which parents have a role in choosing principals, where principals and parents evaluate teachers, and parents and teachers evaluate principals. I want to see the district structured in such a way that principals understand that their first responsibility is to serve the needs of their learning community, not a top-down agendas dictated by the people downtown.
I could go on, but please check out my campaign blog for more about my campaign and my ideas.
I am endorsed by King County Democrats, the 43rd District Democrats, and Where’s the Math.
From Mark T. Webber:
The change we need. The voice we deserve.
I grew up in the Roosevelt neighborhood of Seattle and spent many days with my brothers and sisters swimming and playing at Greenlake. We would walk to the lake for the 4th of July fireworks, and watch the outboard hydroplane race there during the summer. The house I live in now is in Maple Leaf and I am able to look down the hill to the lake from my deck. It is a view that brings back good and pleasant memories from my childhood. I attended John Marshall when it was a Junior High School and graduated from Roosevelt High School.
As a practicing architect, contractor and business owner, I learned the importance of long-range planning, fiscal responsibility and integrity. I just completed my Masters of Arts in Education degree and I am overseeing the construction of the community garden at Harbor Church in Crown Hill.
As a volunteer, I taught under-represented youth entrepreneurship skills and have been a mentor for young men and women. Since its inception, I have been active in Harbor Church in Crown Hill and supported its efforts to improve the quality of life in the Crown Hill neighborhood.
I believe short-sighted solutions are not the answer to our school district’s problems.
The Seattle Public Schools needs a ten-year plan to ensure that every school is striving to be a Twenty-first Century school. This means that students must attain high standards of knowledge through a balanced curriculum which encompasses the eight key learning areas with an emphasis on math and science:
The arts (including drama and music),
health and physical education,
languages other than English,
studies of society and environment,
Schools must fully develop the talents and capacities of all students including:
analytical, communication and organizational skills,
self-confidence and high self-esteem,
responsibility and decision-making skills,
the skills to confidently use new technologies.
In addition, students should have the skills to maintain a healthy lifestyle. They should have an understanding of the natural environment, and the knowledge to contribute to ecologically sustainable development.
Our schools didn’t get where they are overnight and positive change will not come overnight. Short-sighted plans bring short-sighted and short-lived results. We need to start looking down the road into the future. We need to decide where we want our school system to be in ten years and start developing the plans and strategies necessary to get us there. We need someone with the vision, courage, and the drive to make the Seattle Public Schools world-class schools again.
From Kate Martin:
My husband, José Chavez, and our two sons, Emilio and Esteban (Steb), live in South Greenwood in the home that José and I have lived in since 1985. We have just finished navigating our sons, 18 and 20, through Seattle Public Schools and I am ready to put that knowledge to work for other students and families.
All kids need and deserve to be challenged and inspired continuously. I believe that every single student needs the kind of attention in the classroom that celebrates and amplifies their gifts while recognizing and mitigating their deficits. The “one-size-fits-all” approach to preK-12 public education in Seattle combined with endless ineffective strategies for addressing the achievement gap is leaving vast groups of students short of reaching their personal best.
Families must work in close continuous collaboration with schools to insure the full and complete educate of the students. Academics, social skills and emotional competencies are the essential building blocks for a successful life, so a focus on all three is essential. I will advocate for each student and family to work together with Success Coordinators to craft Personal Learning Plans with customized pathways for each of them to realize their goals.
I also believe that the role of a school board director is to oversee, not overlook. We have been plagued by conflicts of interest, cronyism and corruption which have become a significant distraction that fails to focus on the task at hand which is serving students and families. My tagline is “Kate does her homework” and I assure you that I will do just that. The rubberstamping of bad ideas robs all of us, especially the students, of the resources needed for successful schools. I believe Seattle can and should have the best schools in the country, but that takes diligence and research-based information, not ideas that don’t work from special interests.
I am a concerned parent and a professional planner ready to serve our schools. Please contact me anytime to discuss your ideas or concerns about public education in Seattle. I am on Facebook (search Kate Martin Seattle). My website is katemartinforschoolboard.com. You can find out more about my platform there. I also have an on-line magazine, theseattlejournal.com where I have been writing and publishing articles by others about Seattle issues including many articles about education. I have been endorsed by King County Democrats, The Metropolitan Democratic Club of Seattle and the Save Seattle Schools Community Blog and I would honored by your vote. Don’t forget that ballots are due back by August 16. Thank you.
Who are you voting for in the Primary election for School Board, District 2, and why? Leave your comments below.
The Primary and Special Election ballot also includes a question, Referendum 1, which relates to the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement. You can read about Referendum 1 as it relates to the Green Lake neighborhood here.