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Northshore School District No. 417 Director District No. 5

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.
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    Amy Cast (NP) Web Designer

  • Rob Taft, Jr. (NP)

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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?

Phone (206) 601-7909
Town where you live Redmond, WA
Experience (300 characters max) I have served the board for the past four years, including time as VP and President. Professionally, I am the owner of a web design and marketing firm, and have worked in marketing, communications, program management and project management.
The three major issues facing our district are: 1) the need to provide an education for our students that allows them to compete in a global economy, whether it be through traditional "college prep" programs or a vocational, skills education; 2) the need to ensure that we are not creating or perpetuating barriers to access or completion of our programs to any student, no matter their background, financial status, or gender identity, expression or orientation; and 3) the need to adapt to the population growth in our region. The first need is the most urgent - it's at the core of our mission.
As different people have different ideas of what the term Charter Schools means, I like to clearly state that I believe in innovation in public education, but am not in favor of creating a parallel but separate system for delivering innovation to just a sub-section of a district's students. You cannot ignore the students who are *not* in Charter Schools, whether it be by choice or because of barriers to access like transportation. Creating a second system of overhead, diverting significant financial resources, and focusing innovation in instruction in only one area of a district ignores a districts' responsibility to creating strong educational outcomes for each and every student in their community. Instead, I am in favor of system-wide innovation as seen in strong K-3 literacy programs, consciously planned STEAM and CTE programs, and a system of multiple pathways to meaningful work after high school graduation.
I believe that you cannot improve what is not measured, but you cannot not meaningfully measure what is not defined. Too many districts implement assessments for the sake of assessments and data, which is a waste of taxpayer resources and does not often result in improved outcomes for students. If we are going to take important time away from instruction in the classroom to do testing, we need to make sure it is consciously designed to inform how programs are created and delivered, and how each student is receiving (or not) that instruction. I believe we must conduct assessments, as they are important to ensure we are constantly improving our instruction and its delivery.
I believe the science is clear that the start times of our schools has a direct correlation to our students' success. While the logistical barriers can be significant - especially the financial constraints, and the impact on transportation - we must continuously work to overcome those barriers, even if it means that progress is incremental.
Conscious, deliberate, and personalized review of a student's credit readiness (especially in 9th grade) is imperative. In addition, other correlators such as a student's absenteeism rate must be constantly monitored.
First of all, the prevention of bullying requires us to foster and feed a culture of respect amongst our students and teachers. The use of a K12 social-emotional curriculum is a must (but especially in the middle school years). When a bullying incident happens, a district must have clear and consistent rules that allow a teacher and/or administrator to quickly and decisively address the incident. If bullying becomes chronic and/or the threat of violence is involved, administration must not hesitate to conduct a formal threat assessment.
I believe that an education in civics is a primary responsibility of a public school system. I do, however, believe that this education can be delivered at different academic levels to match a student's learning style. Our school district requires every 12th grader to enroll in a civics class, and I support the continuation of that requirement.
The very term, classroom disruption, is incredibly subjective - which gets at the root of the problem. Because student suspension so greatly interrupts a student's education, it must be implemented with great care. Our district has rolled out a Positive Behavior Intervention System to guide student behavior on a system wide basis and seeks to coach students towards behaviors that supports their (and their peer's) learning most successfully.
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