New Everett board member has been busy volunteer

Traci Mitchell, the Everett School Board’s newest member, said that she thinks her previous experience with the Everett Public Schools Foundation will help guide her in her new role on the school board.

Mitchell, 43, was chosen Monday night from a group of five finalists to serve the remaining two years of former board member Jessica Olson’s term. Olson resigned last month. Mitchell manages pharmacy services and infection control at Valley General Hospital in Monroe.

Mitchell has volunteered with the Everett Public Schools Foundation since 2008. She helped launch the annual “Stuff the Bus for Kids” project, which collects 1,700 backpacks and school supplies for low-income children.

The non-profit foundation is not connected to the Everett Public Schools and is led by Kristie Dutton, a former school board member. It makes grants for innovative teaching, and offers tuition help to families who can’t afford all-day kindergarten, summer school or online high school.

Mitchell also helped oversee the foundation’s distribution of $28,000 in classroom grants to teachers as well as scholarships to low-income families.

Mitchell has been active in PTA, now serving as the organization’s treasurer at Gateway Middle School, where her daughter is in the sixth grade.

Mitchell said she intends to remain active with the foundation while serving on the school board, guiding a district of 18,743 students, the second-largest school district in Snohomish County.

Mitchell said she first started thinking about running for the board last spring, when former school board member Ed Petersen, who had served since 2006, announced he would not seek re-election.

Mitchell said she attended board meetings and watched videos of meetings to learn more about school board issues. Ultimately, she decided not to run against Ted Wenta, who was elected to fill Petersen’s seat last fall.

When Jeff Russell, former school board president, resigned in December, Mitchell applied to be appointed to his seat, but the school board appointed Caroline Mason.

When Olson resigned, Mitchell applied a second time.

The other four finalists seeking appointment to Olson’s seat were Kristine Petereit, fund development coordinator at the Dawson Place Child Advocacy Center; Arletha Northrop, who works as a paralegal at an Everett law firm; Michelle Black, who works for an environmental consulting firm in Seattle; and Daniel Mills, an attorney for Everett’s Woodstone Industries.

The school board selected Mitchell on a 3-1 vote after meeting in executive session for almost two hours. Those voting for Mitchell were Mason, Wenta and Pam LeSesne. Board member Carol Andrews voted for Mills.

“This is not easy work,” Wenta said of the deliberations. Board member Caroline Mason agreed. “It was made difficult by your breadth of experience and work in the community,” she said.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com.

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