Jeremiah Campbell, left, and Crystal Blakely

Jeremiah Campbell, left, and Crystal Blakely

Candidate pool already whittled down in Monroe School Board election

Jeremiah Campbell is running to hold the seat, while Crystal Blakely is challenging. Two candidates have dropped out of the race.

MONROE — Three candidates initially filed to unseat incumbent Jeremiah Campbell on the Monroe School District’s Board of Directors but just one challenger — Crystal Blakely — remains.

The election comes in the wake of years of turmoil in the district that led to a superintendent’s resignation over allegations he created a toxic workplace and that the district let racism fester in its schools.

Campbell has held the seat for three years and serves as the board’s vice president. Tiana Armstrong, Blakely and Trey Sherrill filed to unseat him. Sherrill has reportedly withdrawn from the race and he did not respond to an interview request.

Armstrong has also withdrawn from the race, saying in a Facebook post that she no longer resides in the district. She threw her support behind Blakely.

District 1 is the only Monroe school board race that will have a primary Aug. 1. Two candidates will advance from the primary to the November general election.

Even though two candidates have dropped out, there will still be a primary as ballots with all four names on them have already been sent out.

The newly elected school board will also be working with a new superintendent, Shawn Woodward. As part of an ambitious first 100-day plan, the new superintendent is seeking to strengthen the relationship between his position and the school board.

Woodward suggested a school board retreat and a strategic plan for the district. He is also seeking one-on-one meetings with board members.

In Monroe, board members are elected to four-year terms. The position is one of four up for grabs. If authorized by board resolution, school board members are paid up to $50 per day for either attending meetings or other services for the district, up to $4,800 per year.

Crystal Blakely

Crystal Blakely


Blakely is running for elected office for the first time. Her three kids — one graduated from the district and two are current students — have attended the district for six years.

Blakely has also volunteered in the district the past six years and has held leadership roles in several parent-teacher organizations. She has also tutored, helped run school book fairs and volunteers for school picture day.

“I had the chance, as a stay-at-home mom, to go in and volunteer at every single school,” Blakely said. “I am the type of person that seeks out those volunteer opportunities.”

She cited communication from the school district as a major issue. She said the school has made “missteps” and appears transparent, “without actually doing the work of being transparent.”

Blakely also said she would like to see more teacher involvement with the school board at meetings. Currently, the only option for teachers to address the board is via public comment, she said.

“The last couple years, the teachers haven’t been given a voice,” Blakely said. “Their voices have been, quite honestly, hushed if they’re not positive. And they need to have a safe space to air those things.”

Jeremiah Campbell

Jeremiah Campbell

Jeremiah Campbell

Campbell has served on the school board for three years after applying for a vacant seat. He ran for and kept the position in a heated 2021 election.

He said school board continuity is important, and cited it as one reason he was running again.

Using one-time COVID dollars effectively is also part of his platform.

“We’ve been through a pretty rough few years with a lot of turmoil going … and so we’re finally getting to a really good place, making a lot of progress with a lot of the issues that COVID has brought, a lot of divisive issues in our community,” Campbell said. “We want us to continue to see that going forward.”

Campbell has nine years of experience as a public school teacher in four districts, working now as a Spanish teacher in the Northshore School District. He has also been an adjunct professor at Northwest University for five years. He spent a decade in Bolivia doing missionary work and is ordained through the Assemblies of God denomination. He has two kids in the district.

He cited three major issues for Monroe schools: student safety, academic growth and fiscal responsibility. He said he wants more protective fencing around schools that are on busy roads, along with other safety measures.

Academically, he is campaigning on better support for multilingual learners.

“Many of them have the biggest (learning) deficits, and so that means the biggest lift needs to be in their areas,” Campbell said.

He said the biggest challenge to the district is trust.

“There’s a lot of things that keep going on and so every time that happens, it feels like one step forward, two steps backward,” Campbell said. “And so continuing to partner with our community and continuing to build trust, it’s a continuous exercise you have to do. Trust is earned slowly and lost quickly.”

Jordan Hansen: 425-339-3046;; Twitter: @jordyhansen.

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