After nearly two decades, Edmonds School Board Director Ann McMurray said she will not be seeking reelection to the District 2 seat.
McMurray was first elected in 2005 and said after serving 16 years on the board, the timing was right for her to step down as she and her husband approach retirement. McMurray’s term will officially end Dec. 31. Keith Smith and Melissa Stepp have filed for the seat and will face off in the Nov. 2 election.
District 2 includes the southeast portion of the school district — Mountlake Terrace, Brier and unincorporated areas nearby. Candidates must live in the director district they want to represent, but voters from throughout the school district elect board members from all five director districts.
According to McMurray, the decision to leave the board was not made hastily and wasn’t based on the COVID-19 pandemic, adding she made the choice prior to her last campaign in 2017.“The school board requires attention and time to do the job well,” she said. “I’m just not able…to be able to put that effort in.”
Prior to joining the board, McMurray was no stranger to serving the district. For 15 years, she was a member of the district’s Citizen Planning Committee — a collaborative group of district parents and school board representatives who worked with staff to analyze and research district projects and issues. While on the committee, McMurray worked with others to help make recommendations about the dollar amount of construction bonds and the projects they would fund.
McMurray credited her success on the board to her time spent on the committee and said she hopes to continue volunteering in some form after leaving the board.
“I have been so privileged to have spent over 30 years volunteering and being on the board in the district,” she said.
McMurray joined the Citizens Planning Committee after relocating to the area from California in 1990. It took only two weeks before she became a volunteer as part of the Terrace Park Elementary School PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) and later president of the Mountlake Terrace High School Music Boosters. McMurray said that one unique thing about the district is how easy it is for community members to volunteer and how receptive the district is to their feedback and ideas.
“I have found over my years that the district really has taken community input into account and, as much as possible, has tried to have that be a driving factor in making decisions,” she said. “I don’t think you get that in every school district.”
In the other school board race appearing on the 2021 ballot, Edmonds School Board Director Deborah Kilgore is running unopposed to retain her District 4 seat.
“I feel like I’ve made some good changes but I still feel like I have more work to do,” said Kilgore, who is serving this year as board president.
Kilgore noted that when she joined the board four years ago, it passed the school district’s race and equity policy, and she wants to continue her focus on improving equity issues. “We’ve come a distance but we have a long way to go,” she said.
She would like to make advanced placement classes more available to students of color because there is not enough diversity in those classes.
“Frankly, opportunities to be challenged in math are not distributed evenly across the district,” she said.
In addition, Kilgore said she wants to address the inequities — highlighted during the pandemic — about what resources students have at home, including food, internet access and transportation.
Another priority, she said, is to revisit the schools’ bell schedules because high schoolers are starting too early and elementary is starting too late.
–By Cody Sexton