The following is a transcript of the three-minute statements read by Lisa Hunnewell and Nancy Katims, running for the open Position 5 seat on the Edmonds School District Board of Directors, during a candidate Meet and Greet event Sept. 8 at Edmonds Center for the Arts.
While much of the Sept. 8 candidate event focused on Edmonds candidates, it also included candidates for Edmonds School Board and Snohomish County Superior Court Judge, who will appear on Nov. 5 general election ballots in Edmonds, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace.
We will post future candidate statements from that event here, by position, over the next several days.
You can also see video of the candidates speaking here. The event was sponsored by the Edmonds Neighborhood Action Coalition, Indivisible Edmonds and the Sierra Club.
Edmonds School District Board of Directors Position 5
I’m Lisa Hunnewell, and I’m honored to be standing here today as a candidate for Edmonds School Board position 5.
I’m a product of the public school system. During high school I was fortunate to be in honors English and to have a teacher like Kenn Myers. He inspired me to be life-long learner, someone who is inquisitive, who reads to learn more, and who knows how to engage in thoughtful discourse. I went on to attend Dartmouth College and graduated with a BA in 1988. Since then I’ve worked either directly with kids at First Lutheran Richmond Beach and Trinity Lutheran Lynnwood, and in business education and training in a business setting.
I’ve designed educational and training workshops for different trade organizations, and for the past 12 years have focused on organizational training and change management at Snohomish County PUD. My PUD work provided me the experience of working with elected officials and the understanding of how working in a public agency is different than a for-profit business.
More importantly, I’m the mother of three great kids, and for the past 17 years have been involved within the Edmonds School District. My youngest is now at Meadowdale High School. I have volunteered as team liaison, served on a sports boosters club, participated in food drives and school supply drives.
Every day I hear what’s going on in the classrooms and on the school grounds. I have a vested interest in the decisions being made by the School Board. For the past 18 months I’ve had the pleasure of serving on the 2020 Facilities and Bond Committee and visited every elementary and middle school in our district. I quickly saw how important it was that we pass the 2020 bond that continues the financial support of the 2014 bond.
We have overcrowded schools, which has resulted in 41 portables scattered throughout our district. Those portables don’t have running water, forcing student to leave the portable and knock on the door of the main building to be allowed to use the bathroom. Kids who need extra attention are being forced to meet with paraeducators in rooms that used to be closets to get the learning support they need.
So why am I running?
I want to take a fresh look at how we can help our homeless students be successful. I want to pass the 2020 bond to rebuild our schools and alleviate overcrowding. I want to increase the diversity in our teaching and administrative staff so that our diverse student body feels welcome and reflective of our community.
So why me?
Because I am a parent of current student in the district I have a vested interest in the board’s decisions and I am ready to serve. I have a unique knowledge of our building needs from serving on the Facilities Bond Committee. I bring a fresh perspective to the board, having never been a teacher or administrator in the school district. I am a life-long learner who wants to inspire a similar love of learning our teachers, students and staff. I am a collaborative leader who will seek partnerships and establish incentives to effect change. I believe in community engagement and will provide opportunities for enhanced transparency through public meetings, surveys and focus groups.
I don’t have all the answers, but I come to the position with an open mind, ready to do the hard work to make good, data-driven decisions. Thank you.
I’m Nancy Katims and I’m running for Edmonds School Board representing District 5.
I have devoted my entire professional career to trying to improve learning opportunities for all students no matter their background.
I’ve worked in early childhood education, special education, math and science education, research and evaluation and more. Most recently I’ve spent almost 20 years working in the Edmonds School District as a program director in the student learning department.
When I joined the Edmond School District in 1999 there was a real sense of urgency about student learning. Our outcomes reflected excellence. Since then our sense of urgency has transformed into a sense of complacency, and we have not kept pace.
An example of that is the graduation rate. When you look at the 2002 Edmonds graduation rate, it was about 78%; now it’s about 88%. But when you look at the Everett District, which has very similar demographics to ours, in 2002 it was 72%, but now it’s more than 95%.
So what’s the difference? Everett set measurable goals, allocated resources to meet those goals, and the payoff is clear. Edmonds needs to do the same. We need measurable goals to set up an accountability system that will create a way to make intentional budget decisions that are not being made in a vacuum and don’t end up with deficits, and that will create a direction and focus and a renewed sense of urgency.
I have an education that helps support my ability and qualifications for this position. I hold a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Northwestern University. As part of that program I learned how to ask good questions, analyze complex issues and locate credible evidence to help make informed decisions.
I’m also the parent of two Edmonds graduates. I’ve been a band mom, a sports mom, and the mom of an LGBTQ student. I know what it feels like when my child’s learning needs are not being met, and I know the joy and pride when my children achieve success in school and life.
I want that for all of our children and all of our parents. I invite you to come and talk with me tonight and learn more about my vision for success for students in the Edmonds School District.