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Edmonds School District 15 Director Position 5

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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    Lisa Hunnewell

  • Candidate picture

    Nancy Katims

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?

Phone (425) 361-9874
Town where you live Edmonds
Experience (300 characters max) Senior Manager, Business Readiness & Training – Snohomish PUD (2007-current) Meetings & Member Services Director – Washington PUD Association (2004-2007) Youth Director – First Lutheran Church Richmond Beach (2002-2004) Youth Director – Trinity Lutheran Church, Lynnwood (1998-2001)
I am a parent of three children and have been a part of the Edmonds School District since 2001. I want to offer my time and talents to give back to the community. I offer a new perspective based on my recent service on the 2020 Facilities and Bond Committee and I believe I can make a difference. I was elected and served as the president of Trinity Lutheran Church. This experience taught me the importance of collaborative leadership, community engagement and effective communication. For the past 12 years I have worked at Snohomish County PUD. As an employee of a public agency, I have experience working with elected officials. I understand the importance of engaging the public with key issues that impact them. While at the PUD I have also learned the importance of a strong partnership with union leadership. I will look for ways to strengthen those relationships to ensure a common vision. I have a Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH and love to learn.
1. Overcrowding in our elementary schools and support for the 2020 school bond to renew our tired schools; 2. Looking creatively for new ways to serve our homeless students and their families to ensure they get to school and are prepared for success; and, 3. Reviewing dollars spent by Edmonds School District that do not go directly towards our student's education to resolve our budget shortfall.
I recommend the passing of a 2020 bond issue which would cover building two new middle schools which allows us to move all of the 6th graders out of the overcrowded elementary schools. I also recommend building one new elementary school in our NE quadrant which is bursting at the seams. Doing this would help all of our elementary schools at once and help us get our ESL and extra needs learners out of tiny closets and crowded hallways. It would help us get our music classes out of the gyms/libraries and into the newly available classrooms. We need to provide adequate space for our students to learn.
In elementary and middle schools, we need to do everything possible to provide equity in our educational offerings meaning every child has the same opportunity to participate in educational programming, band, athletics, and other activities at their own school. To me, this means equal funding of these programs and accommodation for students that cannot pay (i.e. extra musical instruments that belong to the school, waived fees for field trips and athletics, etc.). At the high school level, as programs diverge and we try to offer the breadth of offerings at different locations like STEM at Mountlake Terrace HS and IB programs at Edmonds Woodway HS, I think a certain amount of flexibility in enrollment is necessary to accommodate students attending a school based on the curriculum offered rather than just their home address. I don’t think it is feasible to offer all of the same programming at every high school. As a result, this may mean bussing students or providing bus passes.
I wish I could assure the safety of all students in our schools but unfortunately all of the safety measures we could take would not eliminate the potential for violence in our schools. I would do everything possible to prevent it from happening. Steps I would take: 1. Shared school resource officers in all middle schools and high schools 2. Business processes followed to include all outer doors locked 3. Fencing around schools where necessary and possible 4. Funneling visitors/guests/parents through one door (like the main office area) for access to students and teachers 5. Training for students, teachers and administrators 6. Counseling services for students in distress
My first focus is on diversity in our teaching and administrative staff. I would take steps to encourage more teachers and administrators of color to apply to our open positions. This means going out to job fairs and colleges and recruiting. I would support the continued offering of ESD’s Teacher of Color Program. I would hold focus groups with existing teachers of color and ask them to share what barriers they face to working in our schools and then make efforts to eliminate those barriers. I would meet with teachers of color in other school districts and ask them what was positive/negative about their employment in those school districts. I would reach out to college students going into education and establish relationships with them so that they do their student teaching in our district and then encourage them to apply to open positions. For students, I would encourage curriculum in our schools that would include assemblies with speakers that address diversity and equity.
I believe that partnerships with community colleges and other institutions like Sno-Isle TECH Skills Center are the best way to offer students various technical skills training. The best use of our resources would be promoting these institutions within our student population and working with them to get the interested students to their locations. If demand grows in a specific area, it might make cost effective sense to bring in an instructor to a particular school and offer their skills “in-house.”
My initial thought on helping homeless and/or refugee/non-English speaking ESD students is to look for and establish partnerships with strong social service organizations in our surrounding community. We have amazing organizations that are successfully helping our refugee and homeless families right now—Pathways for Women, the Family Support Center, Clothes for Kids, the Lynnwood Food Bank, Work Source, numerous churches, etc. to name just a few. I would reach out to these organizations to see how we can partner to understand and provide for the needs of these students and their families.
Mailing Address PO Box 774
Edmonds, WA 98020
Phone (206) 930-1221
Town where you live Edmonds, WA
Experience (300 characters max) Served 40 years in public education, including: almost two decades in the student learning department of the Edmonds School District; about eight years in the Chicago Public Schools; four years in a small rural Texas district; and seven years developing classroom-based materials for national use.
I have devoted my entire 40-year career to improving educational opportunities for students, including nearly 20 years as a program director in the student learning department of the Edmonds School District. This depth of experience has given me an unparalleled understanding of what effective teaching and learning looks like and how to ensure all students can succeed in the classroom.

I am familiar with strategies utilized across the District, including those used to teach students, build budgets, support teachers, and communicate with parents, students and community members. I know and care about every school in the District. I know what questions to ask and how to critically analyze issues. I am uniquely prepared to understand the School Board’s work and hit the ground running on day one.

I have a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Northwestern University and I am the parent of two Edmonds graduates. I am proud to be endorsed by Edmonds teachers (EEA) and many others.
As a School Board Director, I will be focused on these core issues: (1) Creating measurable, student-centered goals and an accountability system to ensure that our limited resources are achieving our goals efficiently and effectively; (2) Ensuring that all students, regardless of their background, are receiving equitable access to the full range of services and opportunities available; and (3) Improving communication across the District and fostering a decision-making process that meaningfully considers the voices of all affected stakeholders — including parents, teachers, students and community members.

It is clear the School Board is grappling with a number of pressing issues, including significant budget cuts that would have major consequences for student learning and student success. We need a knowledgeable, independent voice to hold our District accountable and ensure students are always put first.
Every organization needs goals. Measurable goals. Goals that specifically define the most important outcomes. Goals provide an organization with direction and focus, guide the allocation of resources, tell us if progress is being made, and enable us to hold leaders accountable.

The Edmonds School District currently has no measurable goals. Over the years, its goals have morphed into a “Strategic Direction,” which generally describes what District leadership is doing — but in no way defines specific, measurable outcomes with which to hold the District accountable for student learning and growth.

As a School Board Director, I will work with District staff and members of the community to identify the most important outcomes for student success — such as high school graduation rates, socio-emotional well-being, equity, and school climate — and set expectations for the District to develop an action plan to meet those goals, with timelines, benchmarks and progress monitoring procedures.
Ensuring that students have equitable access to educational opportunities across the District is essential, which is why I’ve made it a core tenet of my campaign.

Educational opportunities come in many forms at many levels. At the center are the instruction and curricular materials used to teach students. As School Board Director, I will push to evaluate the extent to which teachers are using the current districtwide materials as expected, and where there are inequities in certain schools, grade levels or subject areas, I will call for additional professional development and/or other resources.

We must also evaluate and address barriers our students are facing in optional programs and courses, extracurricular activities, and special services to students with needs. Where inequities exist between schools or groups of students, I will press District leaders to develop innovative solutions to eliminate these inequities, ensuring that all affected voices are respected in the process.
Ensuring safety for our students requires attention to the whole child — including physical, socio-emotional and mental health needs.

In terms of physical safety, I will push for an audit of school facilities and prioritize rebuilding older facilities with identified safety concerns. I’ll also work to increase awareness among parents and students about the District Safe Schools Alert system, and to instill “school climate” goals to empower students to be good citizens and report threats.

For socio-emotional and mental health, each student needs at least one caring adult in school with whom they feel comfortable talking about issues bothering them. District staff should conduct an annual survey of students in at least grades 4 and up to determine where and why students do not feel safe, characteristics of those who don’t, and suggestions for improvement. The District should develop a plan to address areas of need, monitor progress and make adjustments as needed.
All students should be treated equally and have equitable access to District services and opportunities. Unfortunately, students of color in some schools are not receiving the same advice and support as their peers on important topics that enable post-secondary success — such as course taking, how to apply to colleges, and options after graduation. Another area of concern is in inequitable decisions regarding discipline practices. Policies and practices must be put in place to ensure these and other inequities are addressed.

The District must also : (1) prioritize diversity and inclusion in hiring and other personnel decisions in every department and school; (2) provide training in culturally responsive practices to all levels of school staff; and (3) encourage all schools to have a goal in their School Improvement Plan regarding the development and maintenance of a school climate that is inclusive, welcoming, and supportive for all students, no matter their background.
I strongly support expanded access to career and technical education (CTE) in our schools. Fortunately the state’s new Core 24 graduation requirements include options for students to choose courses that best fit their goals for a post-high school career or education pathway. I would work to preserve current CTE options, to address any gaps or barriers in certain career pathways or subject areas, and to ensure all options are available to our students no matter what school they attend.

Quality CTE courses provide students with foundational skills as well as real-life problems to solve in their area of interest, and provide opportunities for job shadowing, apprenticeships, and internships to receive real-world experiences as part of school. Whenever possible, the District should hire CTE teachers with previous professional experience in their specialized area, and to partner with local businesses to provide a robust offering of real-world experiences as part of high school studies.
My focus on ensuring students receive equitable access to the full range of services and opportunities applies to all who may be disadvantaged — including those experiencing homelessness and those with linguistic or cultural barriers. Our school-based staff must identify these students’ needs and provide accommodations and differentiated instruction to fit their unique challenges.

To break down barriers, the District should: (1) work with parents to sign up all students who meet free- and reduced-price meal eligibility; (2) ensure these students have at least one caring adult in the school responsible for monitoring their well-being, speaking their language and staying in contact with their parent or guardian; and (3) regularly monitor these students’ learning and make adjustments to their instruction as needed. Additionally, the District should establish partnerships with community organizations with expertise in providing specialized services to these groups of students.