Monday, April 20, 2015

Seattle School Board Candidate Updates

Update: it appears that only Marty McLaren is poised to run again for her Board seat.

I'm not surprised that Martin-Morris and Carr are stepping down at the end of eight years.

This does change things considerably and frankly, probably makes it easier for anyone who wants to run.  The incumbents were not a sure thing (and I believe Director McLaren has an uphill battle ahead of her).

If you know of anyone thinking of running from District 1, Sharon Peaslee's seat, (like from the Nathan Hale community where parents are fairly active), please contact me at sss.westbrook@gmail.com.  I know people who would be glad to just walk someone thru the election process and Board work process so any potential candidate could gauge what that would be like. 
end of update

Starting to see some action now on School Board races.  To recap/update (final filing isn't until early May but these are candidates registered at the PDC):

 Update:  So the Times had the announcement that Martin-Morris wasn't running again in the afternoon edition and yet only had McGuire as a candidate for that district when Geary has been running for weeks.

As well, they didn't seem to know that Peaslee and McLaren are running again nor that McLaren has an opponent.

Makes you wonder who the Times might be supporting.

end of update.


District 1 - seat currently held by Sharon Peaslee
Peaslee is running to retain her seat; does not appear to have a campaign website yet and her Sharon Peaslee website's last entry is from 2013.
There is currently no one running against her (not good).

District  II - seat currently held by Sherry Carr
Carr has not announced nor said if she will run.  I think Carr likes this role but she has been in there for eight long years.  Hard to say.  Carr sent a message to constituents that she is NOT running for the Board again. 
Rick Burke announced last week.  Rick is a long-time SPS parent and math advocate. His campaign website.

District III - seat currently held by Harium Martin-Morris
Martin-Morris has just announced if he will NOT run.
Two candidates have announced in this race:
Jill Geary - a lawyer and active PTA parent; knows a lot about Sped (she has a twice-exceptional student) and seems to be raising money easily.  She and her husband gave LEV a contribution recently.  Her campaign website is here.  Her Facebook page says she is raising money at a good clip.
Lauren McGuire - just announced and was former SCPTSA president and SPS parent.  Not quite ed reform but nearly.  Website.  Close to Michael DeBell.

This is my district; I have to say it is tempting to consider running.  

District VI - seat currently held by Marty McLaren
McLaren has announced she is running to retain her seat.
Leslie Harris - paralegal and long-time public ed activist and parent of a Sealth senior.  One of the usual suspects at most Board meetings.  Her website includes many endorsements including high level ones.  (Public disclosure: I am friends with Leslie and support her campaign.)

41 comments:

Greenwoody said...

We really need someone to step up and run in District 1. Peaslee is unelectable thanks to her appalling statements during the Garfield rape case, as well as her absurd move to jam the hiring of Nyland through.

McGuire's clearly a stealth candidate for the reformers. When she says on her website "Support creative and responsible solutions for improving academic achievement and accommodating district growth" that is code for charter schools.

Anonymous said...

Agreed Greenwoody. She pretty much made the SCPTSA an arm of the A4E during her tenure as President. Was DeBell's go-to gal for rallying the North Seattle ladies who lunch.

pffft

Anonymous said...

Can we use the term twice exceptional instead of twice gifted?

open ears

Linh-Co said...

I'm pretty certain Peaslee is not running. She was surprised her name was listed on the PDC when we asked her about it.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, It would be great if you ran. You'd be amazing!

For District VI, anyone but McLaren! She's been unbelievably ineffective and endlessly fawning to the district staff, at least IMO. I don't know anything about Harris, but I'll definitely support her over McLaren.

-Seattle Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Open Ears, I got it wrong on that count. I'll correct it (I was getting this news fast so I moved a little too quickly.)

Linh-Co, that's odd. I wonder how her name got there?

Anonymous said...

The Times says that Sherry Carr will not be running to keep her seat.

- reality check

Anonymous said...

No, No and Hell no.

Another crop of special interest folks. With this bunch I can see why people would want a few seats to be appointed by the mayor.

Skeleton hunter

Greenwoody said...

reality check, where was that reported about Sherry Carr? It would not surprise me though. The ed reformers can't hang on to control of this district through the incumbents, every single one of which - aside from Peters and Patu - are discredited.

Linh-Co said...

Sherry confirmed she was not running in an email sent to some of her constituents. I did not get the email directly.

We also confirmed Sharon Peaslee is not running.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, that is interesting, Linh-Co. I'll see if someone can send me Carr's announcement. How did you confirm Peaslee isn't running?

Greenwoody said...

Well that settles it - the ed reformers are recruiting a whole new slate. We've gotta up our game if we're going to turn this district around and put it on a better path, or else we're going to watch this place become the next Chicago or Philadelphia.

Anonymous said...

Time to watch for those DFER, LEV and A4E donations so we know who NOT to vote for. Plus the usual individuals whose names are well known in the Ed Rheephony crowd.

CT

PS - Melissa, you'd be fabulous as a SB member. You, Patu, Peters...what a triptych!

Linh-Co said...

We talked to Sharon on the phone tonight. The PDC registration was done in January of 2012 shortly after she came in office.

It would be awesome if you ran Melissa.

Linh-Co said...

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/education/harium-martin-morris-wont-run-again-for-seattle-school-board/

Not surprised said...


Sherry Carr informed Seattle Times that she will not seek re-election.

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/education/harium-martin-morris-wont-run-again-for-seattle-school-board/

Very odd that the Seattle Times mentions McGuire and not Geary.

? said...

McLaren has registered with the PDC, but I've not seen an announcement.

? said...

McLaren has registered with the PDC, but I've not seen an announcement.

Anonymous said...

I will say, McGuire GETS the capacity issues in the North, she really does, and she won't tolerate dodging the truth such as "we don't have a north end high school capacity crisis b/c we have all those seats at RBHS".

She does know and understand the capacity issues, which are huge, and she's very flexible about solutions.

Don't know what she thinks about charters or anything else - but she would not do silly stuff that makes capacity worse, that's for sure.

signed: another voter

Anonymous said...

Actually, I"m sad that Melissa and Lauren are in the same district - b/c I do think both have much to contribute to the Board and could work together.

And then other districts have no one running or one person unopposed ....

Signed: another voter

Anonymous said...

The last thing the rest of us need is McGuire, of "Ravenna First!" having any sort of hand in overall district governance. We need leaders for all not just the soccer moms of the northeast set.

The PTSA grew a spine on refusing crap district policies and a bigger reach than the interests of 65th street once a new SCPTSA president came in. We need guardians for all families not a committee climber who enjoys access to downtown more than solving the problems of us plebes.

North of 85th

Historian said...

I'm much happier with the SCPTSA- now.

The SCPTSA was vocal and did not feel K-12 funds should be used for the city's prek- especially since the city is sitting on $113M. I'm not confident the previous SCPTSA would have done this.

I was also glad when the SCPTSA spoke-out when they felt duped by Nyland's hiring.

Anonymous said...

It seems as if it will be a hard choice between Geary and Mc Guire. Word on the street is that Geary is in with the Principal at Laurelhurst, could be good or bad, though that school seems to be going through turmoil with the new Principal, Talbot.

Both candidates seem to have strengths - SPED, capacity issues, etc.

Interested in input.

NE Voter

Supporting Geary said...

Geary has a firm grasp on capacity issues.

kellie said...

I have worked with Lauren McGuire on and off for many years now. I would not describe her as ed-reform.

I have great respect for the wide variety of issues that Lauren has worked on over many years. She is very thoughtful and listens to many sides of issues and works well with a wide variety of people.

Historian said...

I was disappointed when McGuire was part of an effort to host a panel discussion regarding charter schools at the John Stanford Center. Teachers United-Chris Eidie- sat on the panel; there was NO mention that Eidie was also working on the YES 1240 campaign.

At the time, there was the feeling that some members of the SCPTSA were promoting charter schools.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Kellie, I wouldn't say she pushes ed reform but she seems quite comfortable in that camp. That she, as SCPTSA president, rarely pushed back publicly on the status quo, gives me a lot of pause. She is knowledgeable and bright.

Anonymous said...

I have also worked with Lauren off and on over the past decade. She was an integral part of getting the District to admit that they had a capacity problem, and that they needed to be opening schools rather than closing them. She has extensive knowledge of SPS capacity issues.

Most recently I worked with her in getting the JAMS PTSA up and running. JAMS is made up of kids who were reassigned from both Eckstein and Hamilton, 6th graders from APP@Lincoln and the three neighborhood feeder schools (Olympic Hills, John Rogers, and Sacajawea), as well as former Hazel Wolf K-8 families. It was a tough job to take on, leading a brand-new PTA made up of families from such different backgrounds, yet she was up for the challenge.

She is organized, thoughtful, smart, hard-working, and someone whom I have always found to be deeply committed to public education.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Rick Burke would be wonderful on the school board. He understands how important it is to improve the math curricula and would get better textbooks into middle and high schools.

I am really happy he is in the race.

S parent

Anonymous said...

Melissa, despite your 'I should run' ruminations, as I've posted before, I really hope you don't. Not that you wouldn't be great. But you have far, far, far more impact on this district and on education throughout the region and state, as the blogger who reports, reflects and drives issues than as one voice on a committee. Plus, without this blog, the district central staff could and no doubt would go back to giving parents and the public the stone face and back of the hand on issues of the concern.

Leaving only The Seattle Times as a resource for covering educational issues is downright dangerous for all the reasons you and your loyal readers understand.

Additionally, I am sure many of those of us who read this blog join together in wishing you continued non-public space and time to grieve the loss of your husband. Please take good care of yourself.

EdVoter

Greenwoody said...

I'm sure Lauren McGuire is a great person and has done some good things. But if she supports charter schools, then I cannot support her.

Keep in mind that charter schools will worsen the district's capacity problems, especially if any charters wind up getting access to SPS buildings.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure McGuire will be the best rep for North Seattle that money can buy.

snark

Anonymous said...

email received today:

Dear Friends,

I will not be seeking a second term as Seattle School Board Director. Although serving on the Seattle School Board has been one of the more satisfying experiences of my life, it's now time to support my two children through college.

I'm enormously proud of our accomplishments as a Board over the past three and a half years. Our schools and students have made continuous academic improvements in spite of six years of dire cutbacks in state and federal funding. This speaks to the dedication of our Board, administration and teachers to our highest priority, which is meeting the needs of our students. All the countless and sometimes very difficult decisions we've made have focused primarily on safeguarding what's in their best interest.

Our district is poised for great progress. Thankfully we've turned the corner on funding cuts and can reasonably expect the state and federal funding required to give all our students the education they need for their future success. I'm very grateful to Superintendent Larry Nyland for coming out of retirement to lead our district in a manner that has restored confidence from the public, as well as internally.

There is more than half a year before this term ends and new Board Directors step in. I'm looking forward to continuing the work that will significantly benefit Seattle Public Schools, which includes:
• Focused attention on meeting the needs of special education students and others who are negatively impacted by the opportunity gap;
• Board discussion of mandated testing issues that may change with the reauthorization of ESEA, in hopes of helping to inform decisions our legislators will be making;
• Completing analysis of shift to later start times for teens, and final Board decision;
• Fully operationalizing the Green Resolution to ensure that all new buildings are beautiful and operationally efficient learning environments with natural light and ventilation;
• Planning the Operations Levy and Capital Levy (BTA IV) for the February, 2016 ballot;
• Naming of our new schools;
• Working with the City to ensure a successful launch of the Seattle Pre-K program.
I believe the work of the next Board will be made easier by the accomplishments of this Board. Thank you very much for your ongoing support and dedication to the excellence of our schools and the success of all our students.

Sincerely,
Sharon Peaslee
Seattle School Board Vice President


HP

Anonymous said...

Sharon Peaslee is not running for re-election. I heard that through the grapevine a while ago, and just got her email announcement (copied below).

-flibbertigibbet



Dear Friends,



I will not be seeking a second term as Seattle School Board Director. Although serving on the Seattle School Board has been one of the more satisfying experiences of my life, it's now time to support my two children through college.



I'm enormously proud of our accomplishments as a Board over the past three and a half years. Our schools and students have made continuous academic improvements in spite of six years of dire cutbacks in state and federal funding. This speaks to the dedication of our Board, administration and teachers to our highest priority, which is meeting the needs of our students. All the countless and sometimes very difficult decisions we've made have focused primarily on safeguarding what's in their best interest.



Our district is poised for great progress. Thankfully we've turned the corner on funding cuts and can reasonably expect the state and federal funding required to give all our students the education they need for their future success. I'm very grateful to Superintendent Larry Nyland for coming out of retirement to lead our district in a manner that has restored confidence from the public, as well as internally.



There is more than half a year before this term ends and new Board Directors step in. I'm looking forward to continuing the work that will significantly benefit Seattle Public Schools, which includes:

Focused attention on meeting the needs of special education students and others who are negatively impacted by the opportunity gap;
Board discussion of mandated testing issues that may change with the reauthorization of ESEA, in hopes of helping to inform decisions our legislators will be making;
Completing analysis of shift to later start times for teens, and final Board decision;
Fully operationalizing the Green Resolution to ensure that all new buildings are beautiful and operationally efficient learning environments with natural light and ventilation;
Planning the Operations Levy and Capital Levy (BTA IV) for the February, 2016 ballot;
Naming of our new schools;
Working with the City to ensure a successful launch of the Seattle Pre-K program.

I believe the work of the next Board will be made easier by the accomplishments of this Board. Thank you very much for your ongoing support and dedication to the excellence of our schools and the success of all our students.



Sincerely,

Sharon Peaslee

Seattle School Board Vice President



Anonymous said...

There is no amount of money that would induce me to run for school board, even if I had the background for it, which I do not. The second anyone is elected and makes a single comment or vote that any group dislikes, they're called out, sometimes subject to recall efforts, and often maligned on this blog.

I have no horse in THIS primary since Betty Patu is my rep. I voted for her from the first time she ran in the primary and have been very happy with her. But I remember that on this blog, people thought she had too much of a laerning curve and someone pointing out the source of her Master's degree as something of a joke. But she's ok now because she votes the way this blog likes.

Whoever wins these positions in the upcoming election will be either suspect before even taking office, or will become one of Charlie's "Faces of Evil" the minute they dare go against the group think here. Good luck to them.

Tired Voter

Anonymous said...

One solid accomplishment of the current board was to pick a solid math curricula for elementary schools. It was a good move that went against Banda and the administration’s choice, which I believe was a Pearson textbook.

Now a new board will hopefully keep this going and improve math for middle and high school.

Oh, and a new high school for Q.A. and Magnolia would be nice....

S parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Okay Tired Voter, I'd ask that you keep comments from readers separate from "this blog." Comments by readers and postings by Charlie or me are not the same thing. And, Charlie and I are not joined at the hip in our thinking so his remarks do not reflect mine and vice-versa.

As well, I have said good things about Sherry Carr and yet, disagreed with her on many issues. I still respect her.

I will, as usual, be vetting every candidate. That's 21st century politics and yes, it's an elected office so there are always politics (with a small p) involved.

Anonymous said...

skeleton hunter is back to his veiled threats against those who don't share his special interests.

go nuts

Anonymous said...

How close does the School Board rep work with their own school's Principal? Say if your child goes to Blaine, do you get feedback from that Principal in your role as School Board Rep or are you more global in your role working for an overall cluster of schools?

Curious

Melissa Westbrook said...

Curious, the directors probably know the principals in their region but they have no role in any kind of directing of principals.

Hopefully, directors ask principals about their schools and triumphs and challenges. And you'd think directors would also ask Ex Directors about their viewpoint from overseeing a cluster of schools.

How much this goes on, I don't know.

Fruitabt said...

Lauren McGuire appears to be close to Haruim Martin-Morris as well. He forwarded my invitation to a candidates' forum directly to her