Change Address

VOTE411 Voter Guide

Thurston Olympia School District No. 111 School Board Director, District No. 3

4-year term No Salary, some districts offer small per diem for evening meetings. School Board Members or “directors” – are the elected governing body of the school district, serving four-year terms. The school board’s governance responsibilities fall in four major areas: Vision – focuses the work on student achievement through a comprehensive strategic planning process; Structure – provides prudent financial planning and oversight; diligent and innovative policymaking; Accountability – sets specific goals and a process for evaluation, reporting and recommendations for improvements; and Advocacy – champions public education in the local community and before state and federal policy makers. The School Board sets the general policies of the district, which are implemented by the hired professional district Superintendent and certificated teaching staff and personnel. One of the critical duties is the adoption of the district's budget and proposal of any school levies to be placed on the ballot to the people. The commission sets policies and approves all spending via the budget. The council also sets salaries for district employees.
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
  • Katie Bridges (NP)

  • Candidate picture

    Leslie Huff (NP) State Employee

Change Candidates

Biographical Information

Of three major issues facing your district, which one is the most urgent?

What is your position on Charter Schools as a part of your public school system?

What is your position on testing of your students?

What is your opinion on "start times" for elementary and secondary school?

How can the on-time graduation rate be improved?

How should bullying be addressed?

What would be your plan to see that your school district students earn their civics credit required by the new state law?

What is your opinion of student suspension for classroom disruption?

Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Address 5208 Arlington
Phone (360) 489-7512
Email lesliehuff2017@gmail.com
Town where you live Tumwater
Experience (300 characters max) I have spent my career educating and supporting teachers and students. I have a Ph.D. in education from Washington State University and 15 years of professional experience training teachers, building curricula, coordinating assessment, and developing education policy.
Three major issues facing our district are equity, bullying, and building a system to support the world of tomorrow. None of these are things we can wait on, but equity and bullying are both vital to address immediately. To focus on equity, we need to develop a better process to ensure not only that students from traditionally underserved populations have access to and support in their learning, we also need to make sure the school is reaching out to parents and community leaders to engage them in the work of schools. Engaging these communities to help our schools be more reflective of the values and people they serve is essential. It is also important to build a system that defaults to equity. If a beneficial class/support is available to everyone, but a family must sign up, flip the process to make it opt out instead. That way, those who are not knowledgeable about the process can still get the benefits. Finally, anit-racism and cultural proficiency training for all is paramount.
I am against charter schools. I am in favor of more diverse opportunities in our public school system. In our district, we have a strong alternative learning tradition, but we could build more variety in the options we offer families and support these programs better. Building a bilingual program or a maker-based learning program would provide options to families seeking something different for their children. It would also eliminate the market for charter schools.
I support testing to the extent that it informs instruction and placement, but I think children and adolescents are over-tested in the current system. Tests that are useful to teachers can be used for data collection and state reporting, but there should not be extra testing that serves only to meet state or federal level accountability and no classroom purpose.
This is a complex problem. The research is clear that later start times in high schools result in more hours of sleep for students. This allows students to be more ready to learn, but there are transportation considerations and the needs of families in varying circumstances that need to be weighed. Finding a way to balance what is best for students, families, and resources is tricky, but should be approached with a willingness to change when better options present themselves.
On-time graduation can only be improved by examining closely who is not graduating and why. We know that our housing-insecure and homeless students are a population that struggles to graduate. There are some basic needs that must be met in order to learn: safety and nutrition are two of these, social belonging is another. Working with our community to meet these basic needs for this population will build the foundation for on-time graduation that these students need. We can also reach out to underserved populations to help identify what students need for success. For example, if students come from a culture with oral traditions, then building the storytelling skills of educators and integrate cultural traditions into the education space. Doing so could help re-engage students who have become disenchanted with school. Our schools can identify the populations that need a renewed focus and then work with the school personnel, school board, and community to build what is needed.
Bullying needs to be addressed through teacher training and un-training, and specific protocols must be developed. Girls, especially, are taught through various media to tolerate bullying until it is having grave effects on the victims’ daily lives. We need to help teachers and other school staff recognize the signs, trust student reporting, and be proactive in their deterrence of bullying behaviors. This includes identifying and naming sexual assaults that are typically dismissed with comments like “they are just teasing you” or “just ignore it.” Behaviors that are inappropriate for adults should be treated as inappropriate for young people. We need to develop strong district policies that address bullying quickly and directly. Staff and teachers need to be trained to intervene in these situations effectively and disrupt the events. Students also need to have very clear expectations, and visual reminders, such as posters, that explain their rights and their responsibilities
There are so many ways to gain an understanding of civics, and preparing for the responsibilities of citizenship begins with knowing the systems of society. These credits can be embedded in a class that addresses both the dominant and targeted experiences in society. A comparative model of tribal and state/city governing would also be a solid way to approach such a requirement. The best way would be to include hands-on learning in the community. This might include activities like testifying at the legislature, speaking at a city council meeting, or organizing an activity to support a community cause. Active involvement in society is a great opportunity to build a deep understanding of the ways citizens can participate in society.
There is a better way to address disruption than suspending students. Much of the current research on discipline in schools points to the overrepresentation of culturally, economically, and linguistically diverse students in these statistics. More training needs to be done to address this. There is also research that calls out to the ineffective nature of suspension as a deterrent for future disruptive behavior. On the contrary, often when students are depending on school for structure and sustenance, suspensions exacerbate the undesirable behaviors. I am in support of restorative practice and other approaches to help students build skills in identifying their triggers, and strategies in overcoming them. A school or district-wide focus on behavior solution and emotional skill building over suspension would be a solid, student-centered approach to supporting troubled young people.

VOTE411.org logo

Disclaimer:

All statements and videos are posted directly by the candidate, unedited by the League of Women Voters and do not express the views of the League. The League never supports or opposes candidates or political parties.