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 Sherrill has reportedly withdrawn from the race and he did not respond to an interview request.

Armstrong has also withdrawn from the race, saying in a Facebook post that she no longer resides in the district.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

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; jordan.hansen@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @jordyhansen.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

FILE — President Joe Biden arrives for a Medal of Honor ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, July 3, 2024. Biden abandoned his campaign for a second term under intense pressure from fellow Democrats on Sunday, July 21, upending the race for the White House in a dramatic last-minute bid to find a new candidate who can stop former President Donald Trump from returning to the White House. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
Biden drops out of race, endorses vice president Kamala Harris

The president announced the decision on social media Sunday.

Granite Falls ‘10-foot alligator’ is actually a tegu named ‘Tazz’

Anybody who spots the docile lizard, last seen near Granite Falls, is asked to notify 911, so Tazz can be reunited with owner.

Photos by Olivia Vanni / The Herald
Gabby Bullock sits on her bed in a room she shares with another housemate on June 14 in Everett.
‘We don’t have openings’: SnoCo recovery houses struggle with demand

Advocates say the homes are critical for addiction recovery. But home prices make starting a sober living house difficult.

Melinda Grenier serves patrons at her coffee truck called Hay Girl Coffee during the third annual Arlington Pride event in Arlington, Washington on Sunday, June 2, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Food safety team defends its work: it’s a ‘high pressure, thankless’ job

Management tried to set the record straight about long permit delays in Snohomish County.

Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. (Olivia Vanni/The Herald)
Global tech outage leaves a mark on Snohomish County

The CrowdStrike software update hit some systems at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett and briefly disrupted 911 operations.

Performers joust during the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire at Sky Meadows Park in Snohomish, Washington, on Sunday, Aug. 06, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Royalty and revelry: The spirit of the Renaissance comes to Monroe

The annual Renaissance fair will open its doors every weekend from July 20 to Aug. 18

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.