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ORTING School District NO. 344 Director Dist. 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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    Carrie Thibodeaux

  • Vicki Williams

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 253-259-4621
Town where you live Orting
Experience (300 characters max) Current Vice President Orting Board Director, WIAA liaison. Customer Acquisition Manager, Smith Brothers Farms. Customer Experience Professionals Assoc., American Marketing Assoc. Pacific Lutheran Univ: BA Communication, BS Global Studies. Certified Customer Experience Professional
My unique experience includes serving Orting students as board director for the past two years. I am also a parent of two high school students who have attended Orting since kindergarten. Professionally, I bring strengths in communication, growth strategy, and long-range planning. In past leadership roles I have chaired committees, managed teams, led strategic initiatives, participated in task forces and championed change within small and complex organizations – experiences that prepared me well to continue serving the district. I’m also a Pacific Lutheran University graduate with degrees in Communication and Global Studies.
1. Communication and continuing to nurture relationships between students, schools and the community.

2. Providing ample and safe space for student learning as legislative funding evolves, and enrollment increases in Orting.

3. Leadership development in our schools to further support teachers and students.
Strengthening communication requires our district having the resources and tools to facilitate open dialogue. I’ve supported funding for classroom technology, hiring skilled talent with communication expertise, implementing reliable feedback loops and creating student, staff and community opportunities for engagement and conversation. This work must continue while we evolve to meet new needs, including more emphasis on internal communication. I will consistently prioritize communication, hold stakeholders accountable, and advocate for safe, open channels that encourage transparency and candid discourse.
Board director priorities include budgeting and policy, but we don’t work in a vacuum. Recommendations, data and insight from district and school leadership help the board to monitor how educational opportunities are balanced between schools. I will continue to listen carefully to school progress on educational goals while working with the superintendent to assure budget planning aligns with school needs and decisions made during the year keep all schools in perspective.
As director, I will continue to assure student safety in multiple ways. For example: 1. Review and refine district policies related to student safety, governing acceptable behavior and providing process and procedures to guide actions. 2. Oversee and prioritize expenditures to enhance student safety in school buildings. The entrance control systems, cameras, and fencing to protect students are examples of investments I’ve supported. 3. Support our Student Support services to assure student safety with programs for mental health support, homeless student services, health services, academic intervention and special education, among others. I’ll continue to advocate for these important programs to protect students in our schools.
In Orting, our mission is each student ready for college, careers and life. While students share common milestones for achievement, their paths can be unique and reflect their different passions and backgrounds. To accomplish this, we must continue to work toward racial equality by fostering safe, inclusive cultures within our schools, expanding access to a wider variety of opportunities for teaching and learning, deepening support services such as ELL (English Language Learner) programs and encouraging community involvement from all races represented in our district. Providing racial equality in our schools requires us to identify, break down and eliminate racial barriers to educational success for our students on an ongoing basis.
With my own high school senior leaning toward vocational trades as a career path, I’m passionate about offering students alternative learning experiences that support educational goals within the context of technical training. “How” this should be accomplished is better answered by professional educators and vocational experts. As a board director, I will continue to advocate for programs that align with employer needs and student goals, approve funding for vocational learning opportunities when resources allow, and consent to field trips and business partnerships that provide students access to technical learning experiences. I will support school and district-led efforts to offer a variety of technical courses. One of my favorites at Orting High School is the horticulture class where students develop carpentry and cultivation skills together with ingenuity, determination and teamwork – important qualities for future careers!
Schools are in a unique position to lift students above their challenges by providing access to education and resources that help them succeed despite obstacles they face. Orting students receive English learner and translation services, food, clothing and care packages and transportation services, for example, but it begins with a culture of caring. That is essential. With a culture of caring, Orting schools have built-in supports to listen and carefully address each student’s needs. The empathy and commitment from administrators and staff is exceptional.

There are opportunities to do more and limits on money and staff, but there is also determination and creativity. Schools can support these students by earning grants, hiring talented professionals, partnering with outside providers and taking an all-in approach to solving obstacles. Orting schools must continue to remove barriers and find workarounds for challenges that limit student achievement.
Mailing Address PO BOX 1629
orting, WA 98360
Phone (253) 590-9084
Town where you live Orting
Experience (300 characters max) Orting School District Employee for almost fifteen years, High/Middle school level coach, Local business owner for twenty years.
I am the first of three generations of Orting High School graduates and spent a large majority of my life as an Orting resident. I have raised five children and am now a Nina of twelve grandchildren and an honorary “Nina” of many others.. While raising my children I spent 15 years as an employee of the Orting School District. Throughout my life; first as a student, then as a paraeducator and coach, last as a twenty year local business owner I have had the unique experience of building relationships with many of the people within this city. That being said, I am deeply vested in the Orting schools. Through my years in Orting, I have had the opportunity to work collaboratively with the city, schools, businesses, community, organizations and clubs which prove that I am a team player and can work cohesively toward a common goal. I have remained very involved in the local community and genuinely care about the success of both the city of Orting and more specifically the schools.
1 Establishing and maintaining a collaborative relationship between the schools and the community.

2 The overcrowding of school facility and staff retention, which leads to lower academic progress and to the overall well being of our kids.

3 The last pressing issue that we are faced with is the safety and cultures within all of the schools. Failure to make safety and a positive school climate a priority for all students means that we as a board and school system are failing our kids.
In order to continue to build confidence and communication between the schools and community we need to move forward with transparency so that the community feels encouraged to be an active part of our schools. One way to do this is for information to be provided through a variety of methods such as the reader board, signs going in and out of town. Social media, and phone calls or text messaging. Moving forward, I would like to compile a committee that meets quarterly which consists of a city official (preferably the Mayor), superintendent, all school principals, nominated staff members from each building, parents, board members, and community members. The purpose of this committee is to rebuild the relationship between the community and schools and allow them to work together for the students. It takes a village to raise children, Orting needs to become this village again!
I believe that the best way to balance the educational opportunities between schools is to look at each schools individual needs and the impact of those needs. We would then need to evaluate the cost of each need and prioritize them. Depending on the budget, we may need to draft a long term plan to include these needs and make it known to all of the community so that they are aware of our short and long term plans for each school. This would be a great way for the board and the established committee to work together on this plan which will in return help in reestablishing a positive relationship and the support of our taxpayers within our community.
In order for students to be successful and want to be in school they need to feel safe and know that they have a place to express their worries and concerns in an appropriate manner without fear of retaliation or ridicule. Students and families should be provided with the resources that are needed to address outside support that are beyond the schools ability to successfully manage. It is my understanding that the schools are improving the physical aspects of providing a safe place. However, our schools are overcrowded and behaviors have begun to make our schools unsafe. We need to focus on the Whole Child concept of building culture, expectations and natural consequences. In order to do this our staff members need and deserve the support and resources necessary for them to handle behaviors and situations that arise in the classroom. Our goal is to make students and staff feel safe and know that their voice is heard
I would like to have the opportunity to meet with the staff and students to determine any inequality that is currently within the schools. This would allow me to move forward with helping to create a plan for addressing current issues. Overall, it is important that all of the students feel that they are being provided with the same opportunities and treatment regardless of their race. By educating both the staff and making equality a part of our culture, we are able to teach students of all ages to accept differences and provide equality throughout all of our buildings.
The Orting School District's motto is "All students ready for college, careers, and life." Our nation is seeing an increase in the number of students who choose a path that does not include college, that is why it is so important to offer technical training to our students. The first aspect of this is making students aware of the options available to them both during and after high school. By providing more CTE courses and partnering with our community we will be able to introduce students to career options and trades. It would also benefit students for our middle and high schools to work with our technical school and licensing programs in order to provide resources based on student interests. By teaching students basic life skills such as punctuality, commitment, and perseverance we are preparing them for any path that they choose to take in life.
Providing adequate education for all students cannot be only on the schools, In order to truly do this, we must partner with outside resources to ensure that we are giving students and families the opportunities that they need to be ready to learn. I would like to see what partnerships and services the schools are currently offering and build on those.