Candidates for Edmonds School District Director District 4 are (from left) Deborah Kilgore, Cindy Sackett and Cathy Baylor.

Grad rates and budgets concern Edmonds School Board hopefuls

LYNNWOOD — Three candidates are competing for the District 4 seat on the Edmonds School Board now held by school board President Susan Phillips, who decided not to seek reelection.

It’s the first time all three candidates have sought elected office.

Cathy Baylor is a piano teacher. She previously worked with the school district as head of its Indian Education program. Her father served on the tribal council of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in Montana.

“I’ve been involved in education all my life,” she said. “It’s the magic bullet for all social ills.”

Baylor said she thinks that the school district could do more to adapt to “hands on” learners. “I know there is a significant population whose needs aren’t being met,” she said.

The school district’s enrollment is about half non-white. “I think the time has come for the social studies curriculum to reflect that — less Eurocentric,” Baylor said.

Baylor said she’s an ardent supporter of arts programming, which often gets reduced during budget cuts.

“It’s been proven that academic success is improved by arts study,” she said.

Deborah Kilgore, a research scientist at the University of Washington, is past president the Lynnwood Elementary Parent Teacher Organization and continues as one of its board members.

About half of the school’s students qualify for free- or reduced-priced lunches, she said.

Parents have pitched in to raise money for the school’s library and were asked to contribute to the school’s supply fund, she said.

“I decided to run because I felt it was important to have somebody who has on-the-ground experience and insight into what’s going on day to day as a result of budget decisions,” Kilgore said.

Parents are concerned that class size is starting to creep up across the district, she said. Teachers tell her that more students are coming to school with social and emotional issues that require more attention than current staffing can provide.

Cindy Sackett is director of operations for the Washington Alliance for Better Schools, a nonprofit that serves 11 school districts from Marysville to Kent.

Its mission is to graduate more than 250,000 students each year who are career and college ready, she said.

The group currently is working with the Marysville School District on a five-year federal grant targeting low-income students and those with achievement levels lagging behind their peers.

Sackett said that the district has an 82 percent graduation rate while neighboring districts have rates exceeding 90 percent.

“One of the things I know will work well is making sure we’re offering the right types of elective classes to keep kids engaged in school,” such as culinary and automotive classes, she said.

The two candidates with the most votes will face off in the November general election.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486;


Age: 60

Experience: Independent piano teacher




Age: 53

Experience: Research scientist, University of Washington




Age: 47

Experience: Director of Operations and Expanded Learning for Washington Alliance for Better Schools


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