Two Northshore School District director spots are up for grabs | Election 2011

Dawn McCravey is satisfied with what she’s accomplished during her tenure with the Northshore School District. Over her four years as board director — the last two as president — she’s helped implement a “student-centric approach,” adopting new curriculum in core subjects to lead students to higher achievement. B—Z Davis, a former Northshore School District director, “was proud to help nurture” the district’s reputation for excellence during her 16 years of involvement. Davis wants to get back to work with the district and is running against mainstay McCravey for the District No. 3 director’s position in the Nov. 8 general election.

Christopher Villegas Correa is intrigued by the story teacher Paula Wilson is reading at the Woodmoor Elementary Summer Open Library (SOL). Also pictured are Elena Stojakovic and Katie Jeske.

Dawn McCravey is satisfied with what she’s accomplished during her tenure with the Northshore School District.

Over her four years as board director — the last two as president — she’s helped implement a “student-centric approach,” adopting new curriculum in core subjects to lead students to higher achievement.

B—Z Davis, a former Northshore School District director, “was proud to help nurture” the district’s reputation for excellence during her 16 years of involvement.

Davis wants to get back to work with the district and is running against mainstay McCravey for the District No. 3 director’s position in the Nov. 8 general election.

Janet Quinn — running for re-election — and Joe Marshall are vying for the District No. 2 director’s position.

Quinn has a “passion for educating our youth,” and Marshall (who was Northshore raised and schooled) feels he will “bring a fresh, independent voice to the board.”

The Reporter asked the candidates why they are running, what the top issues are and why people should vote for them.

Here’s a sample of their responses:

McCravey

• The recession is a priority issue for education. In our current economic climate we need to be fiscally responsible with our taxpayers’ investments. We need to provide transparency to our employees and community about budgetary decisions and prioritize our children’s education above all. I never lose sight of the fact that our students are our customers.

• Student-centered goals direct the effort of everyone in the district. Our new board goals developed in the past two years put student achievement at the top of everyone’s list. Third-graders reading at grade level, a higher graduation rate district-wide and increased academic rigor are the kind of measurable goals and standards we have implemented to better prepare our students for a rapidly changing world. Our students become our future.

• I would like to better utilize our community’s expertise and diverse talents. We have begun the work of increasing involvement of the community in program decisions. We need to expand collaborative communication for major decisions. I hear all the time from people who think outside the box. We need to be open enough to consider new ideas.

• Northshore teachers are positive and innovative. I have received great feedback from our educators about programs we are implementing to better support them in their job. There is excitement about being included in decisions directly impacting their teaching environment and ability to meet the needs of students. Because I am an experienced teacher, I have a depth of understanding that goes beyond the average school-board member. That’s why I’m endorsed by Northshore teachers.

• People want the system to work for the students. My focus never waivers from what is best for Northshore students. As an experienced educator, child advocate, involved parent, grandparent and community leader, I have made a difference for students and want to keep doing so. I believe all children should have access to the very best education we can provide.

Davis

• Our region faces major challenges, which demand students graduate with a foundational skill set that prepares them for success.  This makes every administrative decision absolutely crucial to the future and that is why I am running.

• (I want to:) Make sure that the district’s educational platforms are keeping students engaged.  Students study harder and become more passionate about education when they are engaged and challenged.

Make sure parents have every opportunity to be engaged in education.  Successful academic outcomes require involved parents at every level of basic education.  Parents want and need to be involved in the educational process.

Support educators.  Teachers who are well-supported are better able to innovate in the classroom, have incentive to further their own skills through inservices and continuous training programs, and have the tools needed to provide a positive educational experience.

• I believe I bring people together in a way that builds consensus and achieves the best possible results in a given situation.  I have been able to make extremely tough decisions, ones that were difficult for both staff and community to accept.  But even through that process our teachers understood that while my decision was not what they thought was best, they knew I had listened and would support the strategies needed to compensate for the reductions in resources.  Also, the budget decisions I proactively made have left our district fiscally sound as the state continues to reduce funding to education.

Quinn

• My goal is for Northshore schools to meet the educational needs of every student, to help ready them for the next step in their lives, whether that’s college, a trade or something else.  For some students that means providing more challenge, for others it’s help bringing them to grade level.  I seek re-election to continue working to achieve this.  Experience is an essential commodity during challenging times, and a seasoned voice is an important component to a well-rounded board.

• Funding is the overarching concern.  After more than a decade of trimming the budget, it gets harder and harder to find places to do so and still meet the educational needs of our students.  The good news is that for the first time in years we are seeing our enrollment increase, which means that besides reductions in state apportionment dollars, we aren’t also losing revenue because we have fewer students.  Demographics projections predict this trend will continue, which really is a welcome change, particularly in light of ongoing state budget deficits.

Northshore is also seeing an increase in students of poverty and English Language Learners and we face the challenge of narrowing the gap in skills acquisition that we’ve already identified, so that these students aren’t left behind.

Setting aside our differences, identifying our common ground, and speaking with one voice will be important as we move forward.  The cost NOT to educate our youth is far greater than the cost to educate them, and it behooves us each to make it our personal responsibility to advocate for ample funding for education.  In a climate of diminishing resources and increasing requirements, I believe we all have to work together — students, educators, parents and community — to provide a rich education for our children.

• (Why should people vote for you?) Building relationships with boardmembers, staff, the community and legislators is essential if we not only want to survive these hard times, but thrive during them.  I’ve spent 5 ½ years on the board in preparation.  In addition, I have 16 years of experience as a parent, classroom and PTA volunteer and leader.   I’ve demonstrated a continuing commitment to seek and listen to input from all stakeholders.  I understand Northshore schools and I’m eager to continue to work hard on behalf of our district’s children.

Marshall

• I’m running because I grew up in Northshore and graduated from Inglemoor High, where my wife and I received an excellent education; our eldest just started kindergarten at Kenmore Elementary, and I want to help ensure that all our kids receive the best our district can offer.

• The top issues are:  1)  Budget —  Facing tough choices, we need to welcome the advice of parents early and often, in collaboration with our outstanding teachers and principals, to prioritize and keep cuts out of the classroom.

2)  Innovation — lean economic times demand we work together even harder to craft innovative programs and creative approaches to keep Northshore ahead of the competition, close the achievement gap and keep our students prepared for their futures, no matter what background they come from, or what academic or career path they choose.

• People should vote for me because I bring a fresh, independent voice to the board.  I taught English at Cornell University (master’s of fine arts ‘95) and I know how the classroom works.  I helped raise thousands of dollars with Rotary for the Northshore Scholarship Foundation to help students pay college expenses.  As a lawyer (University of Washington law ‘99; UW bachelor of arts ‘91) at Williams & Williams, a longtime Northshore firm, I practice real-estate law and help represent the Northshore Fire District and Northshore Utility District, and my job is to get to the heart of an issue by taking a hard look at both sides of an argument and standing up for my clients.  I promise to stand up for our kids.  I come with no agenda other than to help our kids thrive, and thus far have funded most of my campaign myself because I think it’s that important.

My mom, Jan Marshall, was the first lady to serve as a Northshore Fire District Commissioner.  I would be honored to serve the community that has given me so much.

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