STANWOOD — Four positions on the Stanwood-Camano School Board are up for election, with two veterans defending their seats and a few first-time candidates looking to bring fresh perspective.
Here’s a snapshot of the races:
Charlotte Murry is running for District 2 against Keith Pappas, who withdrew from the race in July due to a family illness. But it was too late to take his name off the ballot.
Murry, a mother of three district students, said she’s running to make a change.
“Our students and teachers are not properly supported in our district,” she said.
Murry cited a lack of education for students on how to handle stress.
“If we taught them coping mechanisms to deal with all the things coming at them these days, at a much faster rate than we’ve ever experienced, it might help with mental health issues,” she said.
She said additional support for teachers — including training and more teaching aides — is needed for classes with students of varying abilities.
To fund that, Murry said she would look to state and federal grants. She suggests seeing if any retired folks in the community may have grant-writing skills to share.
“We should be reaching out to the community and trying to use some of the resources we have,” she said.
Miranda Evans is running unopposed to represent District 3 on the board. A mother of two children in district schools, Evans said she would like to increase communication and transparency between district administrators and the community.
She also highlighted making sure “everyone is clear on their role” in case of emergencies and evaluating school curriculum for effectiveness as priorities.
Ken Christoferson, a board member of 20 years, is running against manufacturing manager Brett Kinney.
Christoferson said the board needs continuity to keep current projects like the new high school on track.
Christoferson said safety is his top priority, and he’d like to see more vocational and tech training opportunities for students.
“The more options you can provide, the higher likelihood you’ll have for graduates,” he said.
With a year-long state school leadership course under his belt, Christoferson said he’s prepared to advocate for the district on a state level. Christoferson is a life-long Stanwood resident.
Kinney highlighted additional vocational and tech training opportunities for students as a top priority as well.
“The majority of students that graduate will go into some sort of vocational program,” he said. “I want to prepare those students that choose that career path.”
To do that, Kinney said he’d like to forge connections between the district and tech and manufacturing companies so students can get real-world exposure through internships and job shadowing.
“So (students) can really vet out what is their interest, what would they like to do,” he said.
Kinney also said safety and collaboration with home-schooled students in the district are priorities.
Director-at-Large, Position 5
First-time candidate George Zeigen is challenging incumbent Natalie Hagglund for Position 5.
After 30 years as a counselor at Stanwood Middle School, Zeigen said he understands the challenges students and parents face.
“I am uniquely positioned to bring a fresh perspective to the school board,” he said.
If elected, Zeigen said he will be a voice for students. He wants to make sure there are enough counselors, mental health professionals and nurses.
“Especially in middle school, because that’s where it all begins,” he said.
Zeigen said equity is a top priority, and hopes to close achievement gaps for disenfranchised student groups.
“I’m not a part of the old guard,” he said. “I am part of people that truly care about our children’s success. I am not a candidate who believes in being a rubber stamp for the superintendent.”
Hagglund feels her work on the board is not done.
“I feel like my voice and my perspective is still one that is valuable,” the preschool teacher said.
Hagglund runs a local scholarship program for high school seniors and said she volunteers in schools regularly.
“I’m also currently the only member on board with a kid in school full-time,” she said.
Hagglund said she sees a need for better emergency planning and for sharing those plans with the community.
With deep roots in the community, Hagglund said she’s willing to listen and not afraid to ask questions.
Julia-Grace Sanders: 425-339-3439; email@example.com.
Meet the candidates
Name: Ken Christoferson
Experience: Elected to four terms Stanwood-Camano School Board, owns and operates Stanwood Redi-Mix Inc.
Name: Brett Kinney
Experience: Boards: Snohomish County Parks Advisory Board, church board. Chair of Legislative District 10 Snohomish PCO for the GOP. Over 25 years of management experience.
Website: Facebook: Brett Kinney for Schoolboard
Name: George Zeigen
Experience: Thirty years as a counselor at Stanwood Middle School in the Stanwood-Camano School District.
Name: Natalie Hagglund
Experience: Currently finishing first 4-year term on board
Website: Facebook: Re-elect Natalie Hagglund for School Board