A look at the candidates running for empty school board seat

There are three candidates running for the empty school board seat for District 1, representing Ballard, Magnolia and Queen Anne. Current School Board Director (Position 4) is Michael DeBell, who is not running for reelection. Ballots will be sent out tomorrow (July 17) and must be postmarked by August 6.

The candidates are Suzanne Estey, Sue Peters, and Dean McColgan:

Suzanne Estey is an economic development consultant who has two children at Blaine K-8. According to her campaign website, her priorities include “ensuring educational excellence for every child while closing the achievement/opportunity gap,” providing adequate and sustainable funding for schools, and fostering community partnerships and strong family connections.

On funding, Estey says,  “…we will undoubtedly need to continue to lobby for increased funding for education.  I will help lobby for education solutions that focus on student achievement and increased state funding through sustainable revenue sources.”

Estey received a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Politics from Whitman College and a Master’s in Public Administration from the Daniel J. Evans School at the University of Washington. She is currently Principal of Dale Estey Partnerships, Strategy & Results, a recently established government relations and economic/business development consulting firm, according to her campaign site.

Sue Peters is a freelance writer and communications strategist and is founding member of Parents Across America, which is a national public education advocacy organization. Her freelance work as a journalist has been largely focused on educational coverage, analyzing public education policy and practice on both a local and national level, according to her campaign website. “I will apply this micro and macro knowledge to my job as school board director to help guide our district towards sound decisions that reflect proven, successful and meaningful education practices that benefit all the district’s students, and support their teachers.”

A parent of two, Peters says she’s been heavily involved in Seattle’s public schools for the last decade, working as a school volunteer, an educational blogger and a member of district task forces and advocating for local and national education. “I would like to help steer the largest school district in Washington State in a positive direction. I believe that I can serve the Seattle school community even better as a representative on the school board,” Peters states on her campaign site.

Dean McColgan is former mayor and city council member of Federal Way (2000-2008). His civic experience extends to several boards across the city; he currently serves on the Belltown Community Council, Home Owners Association, Downtown Seattle Association Committee and Mayor’s Neighborhood Action Team. He is also currently director of development at The Museum of Flight.

According to his campaign, McColgan aims to build confidence in the school board, encourage teacher participation in the board, emphasize STEM (science, tech, engineering and math) in schools, and improve fiscal responsibility. On encouraging teacher participation, McColgan says he wants to close the achievement gap by working with teachers at the middle school level. “I would build a process where teachers participate in solving school issues and give them the opportunity to lead and be innovative.”

McColgan hopes to see the STEM curriculum increased and emphasized, saying, “As an employee of the Museum of Flight I’ve seen the impact STEM education has on individual students. The further development of a rigorous STEM curriculum is important if we hope to continue to compete in a global marketplace.”

Photos courtesy of candidates’ campaign websites

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