By Marysville Globe and Herald staff
MARYSVILLE — Two incumbents on the Marysville School Board say the district is in good hands while their challengers hope voters will seek change in the Nov. 7 election.
Chris Nation, 51, has served on the board for eight years. His opponent in the race for Position 1, Ray Sheldon Jr., 60, suggests that Nation hasn’t adequately represented people from the Tulalip Tribes.
Meanwhile, Bruce Larson, 69, wants to continue to serve the board and complete work he began when he joined four years ago. Vanessa Edwards, 37, suggests she’s better prepared to lead in Position 4, and brings a deep understanding how schools work.
Sheldon says that ever since Don Hatch retired from the Marysville School Board in 2009, the Tulalip Tribes have not been well represented .
“No one sees him,” Sheldon said of his opponent.
Nation counters that he is regularly in touch with tribal members, but he has a duty to represent all the students in the district.
Marysville schools need to continue to focus on equity and accountability, academic rigor and enrichment through music, arts and vocational programs, Nation said. All children have a right to receive quality education.
“I have found ways to bring stakeholders together, listened to all voices, valued the difference of opinions and worked in a collaborative manner to develop visionary solutions toward shared best outcomes for our students,” he said.
Sheldon said he’s not alone in being unimpressed with school district leaders and suggests that is why bonds to build new schools are not passing.
The last bond was too big, and the district needs to scale back its plans to make them affordable, he said.
Sheldon said he is a firm believer in providing vocational opportunities for students who don’t want to go to college. He also wants more education to encourage young people to avoid drugs.
Nation said he, too, believes in programs for kids who don’t go on to higher education and he wants to find more ways to partner with others in the community for opportunities.
Larson, who retired from the Boeing Co., said his deep connections in the community are key.
“My wife and I have lived in Marysville for 38 years. During that time we raised three children who attended Marysville schools. Our two sons married teachers; my mother and grandmother were teachers. We have two grandchildren enrolled in Marysville schools. As you can see, my life has been deeply embedded in education and the Marysville community.”
The time he’s spent in office has led to important work, and he wants to see it through. Achieving equity across the district is something the board considers in every decision, he said.
“There is more right than wrong with public education, and that is true in our district. Marysville School District has a good foundation,” Larson said.
Edwards works as a secretary at Marysville schools. She previously served as a Navy meteorologist and oceanographer and has worked in marketing and has been a prolific volunteer.
“I know how to build teams and relationships, and I know how to lead them,” she said. “… As a school secretary and parent, I am very familiar with the school-related challenges. I don’t just listen to the problems — I hear and understand them from all points of view.”
Edwards said the school district would benefit from focusing more on students and extending them the respect to insure an “authentic student voice” becomes part of the culture. Work also needs done to built trust between school staff, district leadership, and the community, she said.
“Our decisions must be guided by a clear vision of what success looks like for our students,” Edwards said.