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Edmonds School District 15 Director Position 3

4-year term. No salary, but 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 – a focus on student achievement through a comprehensive strategic planning process; Structure – prudent financial planning and oversight, as well as diligent and innovative policy-making; Accountability – specific goals and a process for evaluating, reporting and making recommendations for improvements; and Advocacy – championing 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 its 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 board sets policies and approves all spending via the budget. It also sets salaries for school district employees.

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  • Rory Graves

  • Candidate picture

    Gary Noble

Biographical Information

What unique qualities about yourself, your experiences, and your education separate you from the other seekers of this office?

What, in your opinion, are the three most pressing issues facing your school district at this time?

How would you address the one at the top of your list?

How would you balance educational opportunities between schools?

How would you assure the safety of all students in your schools?

What are the issues that need to be addressed to provide racial equality in the schools?

How should technical training be offered in the secondary schools?

How can the schools provide adequate education for homeless, immigrant, refugee and non-English speaking children at all levels?

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Phone (425) 381-0202
Town where you live Unincorporated Snohomish County
Experience (300 characters max) Edmonds School District Board of Directors - 16 years, PTA officer, middle school math tutor, Lynnwood High School Instructional Council, Chairman of the Citizen's Planning Committee, Trustee for the Foundation for Edmonds Public Schools.
I have the served on the Edmonds School District Board of Directors for the last 16 years. Prior to being elected to the Board, I was a PTA officer, tutored middle school math, was the parent representative for the Lynnwood High Instructional Council, and was Chairman of the District’s Citizen’s Planning Committee. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering, served as an Air Force officer and have 29 years engineering and management experience at Boeing. My two children were educated K-12 in the District, and I was an active participant throughout their education. I am also a Trustee for the Foundation for Edmonds Public Schools that provides grants, scholarships and other support to our district.
Student achievement is always the highest priority; after all, it is why we are all here. Our graduation rates and standardized test scores are already better than state averages, but we must always strive for improvement. Support of our 1500 teachers to reach this goal is critical. Another important issue is providing equity to our diverse student body. As an example, with over 100 different languages spoken, we are constantly addressing cultural and linguistic equity issues in classrooms. The third challenge is the yearly changes in state funding amounts and rules. When funding changes every year, it makes long range planning extremely difficult. We need to work with the state legislature to settle on fair, equitable and consistent funding for schools, allowing districts to adequately plan for the future.
To improve student achievement, my first priority is to hire and retain the highest qualified teachers possible. We are already successful in this vein as the experience level of our teaching force exceeds state averages. We maintain competitive salaries even though most districts surrounding us get more state funding for teachers because of state regionalization policies. I have pushed to provide modern curriculum for our teachers, and have now instituted recurring curriculum funding in our yearly budgets. Studies show that meeting grade level requirements in math and literacy in third grade is an excellent predictor of future achievement, and we have reduced average class sizes in K-3 to less than 20 students per classroom, reducing it even more next year. As funding stabilizes, my priority is to also reduce class sizes in grades 4-12. I will push to provide increased social and counseling services to our students in need so they are prepared to learn every day.
We are working on equity in many different ways. At the secondary level, we had a parent/district committee look at school and ASB fees across our high schools and found many inequities. Next year we will eliminate all course fees for CTE (Career and Technical Education) classes and my goal is to eliminate all course fees in the following year. Although Mountlake Terrace High is a STEM magnet school, we have made sure that the majority of STEM courses are also offered at our other high schools. For our primary schools, we have standardized class supply lists for all schools, and my goal is to eliminate elementary supply lists completely in the future. Since Free and Reduced Lunch Rate negatively correlates with student achievement, we provide extra funding to schools with high FRL rates.
Safety is a huge priority for me, and we are addressing it in a variety of ways. We employ School Resource Officers (SRO) at each high school. These police officers/sheriff deputies attend specialized SRO training and must be approved by the local police/sheriff department and the high school. We now have extensive video monitoring both inside public areas and outside our schools. To help address cyber bullying, we employ a social media monitoring service that can flag troublesome social media posts. We have provided ALICE training to our staff which provides training on options beyond just shelter in place for school emergencies. I believe the most important element of our safety plan is the students themselves. It is my priority to continue to promote a safe and trusting environment so students are never afraid to report troublesome information or rumors to our staff.
Like many issues, racial equity cannot be solved with a single initiative. The Board passed policy 0600 providing strong guidance and expectations for equity across our district and this policy has been used as a model by other districts in the area. Many administrators, including myself, have taken the “Undoing Institutional Racism” workshop. We have instituted an Equity Alliance for Achievement (EAACH) parent/teacher/administrator committee to address individual and systemic racial equity issues and have hired a cabinet-level Executive Director of Equity. Students themselves have organized clubs such as the Black Student Union, Colores Unidos, and the Vietnamese Student Association to address equity issues at the school level. I am pushing for the Blueprint 2025 Strategic Plan which will provide measurable goals for closing achievement gaps.
I believe that we must improve and expand technical training in our secondary schools. We already offer more than 70 Career and Technical Training (CTE) courses ranging from horticulture and automotive technology to robotics, sports medicine and cyber security. Our students can also attend even more comprehensive classes at the Sno-Isle Skills Center in Mukilteo. I continue to push for expanding this area because so many of our students are looking for alternative career opportunities. Many of our CTE courses offer college credit and/or Industry/Technical Certification.
First, we must assure that every child comes to school ready to learn. We need to ease the process of applying for free and reduced lunch so more students can get breakfast and lunch at school. We also must assure that all homeless students know that they can receive free weekend meals from the Foundation for Edmonds Public Schools. Unfortunately, equity cannot be fully achieved with broad systemic initiatives alone. Addressing equity requires addressing hundreds of unique individual situations ranging from family trauma to difficulty with a math concept. We must hire more counselors and family resource advocates so teachers have resources available when they identify issues outside their ability to influence.