New Everett School Board member chosen

EVERETT — Newly appointed Everett School Board member Caroline Mason said she is open to discussing the merits of six-year elected terms and would like to get the community more involved in school district issues.

The school district is one of few in the state with six-year terms. Mason said she knows that term length has been an ongoing topic of discussion among the public.

“I would like to hear what people feel on four-year versus six-year terms,” she said. Shorter terms might attract more people to run for the office, she said, but she wondered if the tradeoff would be “giving up the stability of knowledgeable board members.”

“Which one outweighs the other?” she asked. “Those are discussions that I’m hoping to have with people now.”

Mason was appointed by unanimous vote Thursday night to fill the two years remaining after board member Jeff Russell, resigned in December.

Mason said she doesn’t know if she will seek election to a full six-year term thereafter. She said she thought hard before deciding to apply for the opening. “If all goes well, I would be very interested,” she said. “But I would have to put my family first.”

She would like to see more community members get involved with the district, Mason said, whether that means simply talking to board members, getting on committees or reading up about issues that go before the board.

It’s healthy for an elected body to have something other than consistently unanimous votes, Mason said. “I hope there are a variety of opinions on the board,” she said. “I hope all the new board members bring differing views and energy and insight to the conversation.”

The resignation of a second board member earlier this week, four-year veteran Jessica Olson, means that three of the school board’s five members will have changed recently.

Board member Ted Wenta was elected in November. The two veterans are Pam LeSesne and Carol Andrews. An appointment for Olson’s seat is scheduled for early next month.

Mason said she thinks her previous work on the district’s bond and levy committee and as a volunteer in a group that made budget recommendations to the school district have helped prepare her for her work on the board.

Mason said she was honored to be selected from five finalists who were considered for the appointment. “I recognize the voters did not select me,” she said. “I recognize that I need to do due diligence on this position. I need to bring myself up to speed as quickly as possible and hope the voters, students, parents and teachers look to me as an excellent choice.”

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

Caroline Mason

Age: 48

Residence: View Ridge neighborhood

Family: Married; two children who attend Everett High School and Evergreen Middle School

Employment: Owner of Motion Marketing in Everett, a company she founded in 2001

Previously: Nextel Communications, AT&T Wireless Services and Redmond-based Alta Consulting Services

Education: Master’s degree in business administration, Seattle University; bachelor’s degree in speech communication, University of Washington

Volunteer experience: City of Everett Salary Commission, Everett School District Fiscal Advisory Council, Citizens Levy and Bond Committee, Imagine Children’s Museum board of directors

Term: Serves the remaining two years of former board member Jeff Russell’s term. She is undecided on whether she will run for a full six-year term.

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