Editorial: Chase, Hirman merit return to their school boards

Chase seeks a third term to the Edmonds board. Hirman seeks voters’ confirmation of her 2022 appointment.

Carin Chase is running for a third term on the Edmonds School Board.

Carin Chase is running for a third term on the Edmonds School Board.

By The Herald Editorial Board

Public schools throughout the state continue work to help students regain learning lost during the pandemic, improve academic achievement, strengthen budgets and work with state lawmakers to meet the state constitution’s promise of ample funding; all issues among many that members of school boards are elected to address.

Voters in school districts for Edmonds and Everett will elect directors to their respective boards in the general election. Ballots will be mailed to registered voters on Oct. 19 and must be returned by Tuesday, Nov. 7. The county voters guide will be mailed Oct. 18.

Continuing its endorsements for the general election, the editorial board makes the following recommendations:

Edmonds School Board, District 1: Two-term incumbent Carin Chase is seeking reelection to her post and is challenged by Nick Logan. Logan did not respond to emails requesting an interview with the board.

Employed as a consultant, Chase calls herself a product of the state’s public schools, including a masters of public administration from the University of Washington’s Evans School. Her recent public service includes the county’s human rights commission. Her son is a graduate of Mountlake Terrace High School.

Chase, in an interview with the board, said she initially ran wanting to better understand the changes being discussed regarding academics and funding in the state Legislature. Chase has turned that interest to the board’s advantage and currently serves as legislative representative for the board and for the Washington State School Directors District 1.

Even after significant education funding reforms and following the pandemic, a lot of work remains in representing the district’s needs before state lawmakers, she said.

“We’re not done,” Chase said. “We’re still coming out of some of those impacts that students are facing from covid. And part of that has to do with social and emotional health, understanding that these kids need more support.”

Work remains, specifically, she said, to increase funding from the state for the school district’s special education spending.

After layoffs before the start of the school year, Chase said the district administration and board have worked to restore programs and class sizes to mitigate earlier cuts without dipping too deeply into the district’s reserve fund.

The budget cuts have focused more scrutiny on the district, she said, “but what’s helpful about that is people are now paying attention, so we’re inviting the community to engage and learn that this is what we’re facing.”

Among district successes, Chase said she is excited about its dual-language program, which provides instruction in Spanish and English, concurrently. Students, she said, are doing well and performing above previous levels.

Chase, nearly eight years into her tenure on the board, convincingly demonstrates full knowledge about the challenges and opportunities before the district and a commitment to transparency of the district’s operations and the best interests of students, parents, teachers, staff and others. Voters should return Chase for a third term.

Edmonds School Board, District 3: Hawk Cramer, a district teacher and former principal, is running unopposed for the position being vacated by current board member Gary Noble.

Edmonds School Board, District 5: Prior to the primary election, the editorial board endorsed incumbent board member Nancy Katims, who is seeking a second term on the board. Katims is challenged by Nicholas Jenkins, a defense lawyer.

Everett School Board, District 2: Jen Hirman, appointed to the board in 2022 to fill a vacancy, is running to complete the six-year term’s unexpired two years. She is challenged by Charles Mister Jr.

The editorial board, because of questionable statements Mister made in his voters guide profile when he last ran for the school board in 2019, did not consider him for its endorsement. Among his claims, Mister said he had earned a master’s degree in criminology and social child behavior from St. Louis University. The Herald reported that year that the university had no record of Mister earning a degree. Likewise, there is no record he served on the city council for St. Louis, Mich., as he had also claimed in the profile.

In this year’s voters guide he still claims a master’s degree in criminology, but doesn’t identify a college.

Hirman’s academic record and work experience, in addition to her service since joining the board, make her more than qualified for election by district voters.

Hirman, a Mill Creek resident since 2006, is the mother of two daughters, one a graduate and the other in high school. Along with a bachelor’s degree in economics, she has a masters in education and a doctorate in education leadership and policy, and has work experience for the Council on Educational Facility Planners International, the Arizona Board of Regents and USC’s Center on Educational Governance.

Her experience with Everett schools includes volunteer work with the PTA in schools and the state level and on district committees for elementary math adoption, elementary school boundaries and growth mitigation for the district’s high schools.

“I consider myself somewhat of a full time volunteer and a mom, with pride by the way,” Hirman told the board.

While her background and recent experience with the district prepared her for serving on the school board, she said her past year on the board has increased her appreciation for the district and for its challenges.

“I’m seeing how hard everyone in this system is working,” she said. “And yes, there are issues, but I don’t think I was coming in thinking that, ‘Oh, there’s a quick fix that we’ll be bringing.’”

While on the board, she has served as the board’s legislative representative, and she participated in difficult budget decisions to confront shortfalls while protecting kids in the classroom. The district, she said, worked hard to limit layoffs, taking advantage of retirements and vacancies as much as possible.

Hirman’s appointment to the board took advantage of her knowledge and her years of service to the district and its students. Voters can make the same choice by confirming her appointment to the board.

Everett School District, Position 5, at-large: Prior to the primary election, the editorial board endorsed Ryne Rohla, a Mill Creek resident and an economist with the state Department of Social and Health Services. He is challenged by Charles Adkins, a policy analyst for the Tulalip Tribes.

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