News

Only 1 school board seat is contested

In district 2, which includes Dungeness and the area north of Sequim, incumbent Virginia O’Neil faces challenger Jon Kirshbaum.

Running unopposed are directors John Bridge (position 3) and Beverly Horan (position 4).

Bridge is seeking to retain the position he was appointed to in June following the death of board director June Robinson; if elected, he would fulfill the final two years of Robinson’s term.

Horan is seeking to retain one of the board’s two at-large director positions.

School board directors are unpaid. The offices are nonpartisan and directors generally serve a four-year term unless appointed to fill a vacant position.

According to district officials, the school board’s job is to “determine a vision for the educational program, design a structure to achieve that vision, assure that the schools are accountable to the community and advocate for continuous improvement in student learning.”

The five-member board sets policies and selects a superintendent to administer those adopted policies.

All voters within the school district elect the directors. Two members serve in at-large positions, with the remaining three elected from a specific geographic area.

Though not paid for their time, board members may have the district pay for attendance at workshops, conferences or similar meetings.

The school board generally meets twice per month each school year — the second and fourth Mondays — and once each month during the summer.

Jon Kirshbaum
I’m a product of the public schools and lifelong learning; have a B.S. in comprehensive marketing and an M.B.A. in finance; taken doctoral courses (57 semester hours) in educational administration, school business management and adult continuing education; and earned the chief school business official endorsement to the Illinois K-12 administrative certificate in 1989 (the CSBO is designed to assure a minimum level of competency and related experience for school business managers in Illinois).

Employment:
• I.B.M.: Sales representative/sales support administrator (1965-1967), Systems analyst/planner (1967-1971)
• Chicago Public Schools: Information technology project manager/financial systems analyst (1974-1996)
• IT consultant  (1997-2001): Served as executive editor for a travel magazine (1991-1997 parttime) and a freelance travel writer/photographer for approximately 11 years.

I would bring greater diversity to the Sequim board, along with 23 years of experience within a large K-12 environment including extensive training and experience in government-funded finance, school budgeting and accounting practices; serving as a core team member and sole IT specialist on a complex process re-engineering project (2 years); being a communications (a defined core process) team member during the build and test phases; and successfully interacting with various vendors, board and community members, and central office and school staffs.

District 323’s mission is “All students will experience success.” Understandably, there are many impediments and challenges to this goal. My greatest concerns include:
• Fair and realistic student assessment
• Obtaining adequate resources
• Encouraging two-way communication and greater community involvement
• Improving school climate/safety
Sequim students can succeed!

Virginia O’Neil

My guiding belief is that all children need to love learning so that they can become creative, conscientious, productive members of society. As a parent of school-age children and a community volunteer, I am very aware of the Sequim school district’s unique needs.

My focus the past two years on the board has been to support not only our college-bound seniors but those who will be going into the trades, to advocate for our facilities and to provide continuing professional development for all staff.

Maintaining a transparent budget process and sensible fiscal management practices have been my priority, allowing our district to preserve a balanced budget and a healthy reserve.

I graduated from Stanford with a B.A. in English, studied in England for a year and completed master’s coursework at New York University.

My background is in corporate finance where I have successfully managed my family’s business for well over a decade. My husband, three daughters and I have lived next to the Dungeness River for 14 years in a home we built ourselves.

A public school’s job is to ensure our students reach their potential no matter their chosen trade. Everyone should have a place, and that place should have value.

I may not have all the answers but I do have the energy, commitment and the institutional knowledge to continue leading the Sequim school district through these challenging times.

Cultivating young people to be the Olympic Peninsula’s next generation of leaders, workers and dreamers is my primary goal.

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