Horan steps down from Sequim School Board

After nearly a dozen years on the Sequim School Board, Bev Horan is stepping down.

The director with the most experience on the five-member board said she is resigning because of health issues and a chance to free up her schedule.

“It’s time for me to get better and take time to do other things I want to do,” she said after the board’s March 7 meeting, where she announced her resignation, effective March 20.

Horan serves as an at-large director; her term would haveexpired this November.

Board directors set a timeline that could have Horan’s appointed replacement on the board by mid-April. Applications for the open board position will be accepted through March 15. Board directors will interview candidates during their regular March 20 board meeting.

During an executive session following that meeting, directors will review candidates and make nominations after the executive session.

School board application forms are available at the district office (503 N. Sequim Ave.) or at the district website, www.sequim.k12.wa.us, at the “Announcements” link. For more information, call administrative assistant Marilyn Walsh 582-3262 or email mwalsh@sequim.k12.wa.us.

Candidates must reside in Sequim School District boundaries. See www.clallam.net/elections for more filing information.

The newly appointed board member would be sworn in and join the board at the next regular board meeting set for April 17.

That board member would finish Horan’s remaining term through the end of 2017.

Two school board directors — Horan and Michael Howe — are up for election in the November General Election.

Appointment timing

Howe said the timeline to bring in a new director seems rushed, particularly with potential school board candidates filing for Horan’s position in May.

Howe suggested holding off on appointing a board director until after the filing deadline. If only one person files, he said, the board could appoint that person, but if multiple people apply, the board could select someone who isn’t running for the seat. That would keep a candidate from having an unfair advantage in the November General Election, he said.

Board president Robin Henrikson said appointing a board director before the filing deadline presents an opporunity for that person to gain some experience before deciding to run for office.

“They can have a couple of meetings before filing — it’s such a huge ordeal to campaign,” Henrickson said. “(They’d have) two meetings under their belt (and) a better understanding of what that entails.”

Howe also expressed frustration about not having a board discussion about the appointment timeline.

“I don’t understand the rationale of not discussing it,” Howe said. “I was under the impression we were operating as a team.”

Stoffer said information about the appointment timeline was available to board directors last week via OneNote, a computer program that allows directors and district administrators to share information.

“I’m comfortable with (the timeline); I like the fact we are going to do the interviews in public at the next board meeting. I think that’s very positive … I want to hear what they’re thinking about McCleary and district goals.”

Stoffer said getting a new director now will help the board as it works on a board strategic plan and setting goals.

“If we’re all working together as we’re supposed to be, it will be OK,” he said.

The school board sets policies that guide Sequim’s public education in grades K-12. Voters within the school district elect directors, who generally serve a four-year term (unless appointed to fill a vacancy). Two members serve in at-large positions while the remaining three are elected from specific geographic areas.

Influential director

Horan was elected to her school director position in 2005, when she ran unopposed.

After Tuesday’s meeting, she said she was influenced by a number of fellow directors — Sarah Bedinger, Virginia O’Neil, Dave Blake and June Robinson, in particular.

“They had the heart for where they want (the district) to go,” Horan said.

Board directors praised Horan’s service.

“She’s done amazing work for our kids,” Short said.

“She is, without a doubt, one of the hugest advocates for students I’ve ever met,” Henrickson said.

“She’s a really good model for what it means to be a (board) president, but … even more than that it’s her advocacy for students, that their needs were met.”

“I’m sad to hear she’s going,” Henrikson said, “but I get it.”

Horan said, “The three new people (board members Henrickson, Short and Stoffer, who were elected in 2015) have so much more knowledge and energy to go for it.”

“I’m just excited to work on my health.”

Her school board highlight? “Watching this district grow,” Horan said.

A reception to honor Horan is scheduled for 5:30-6 p.m. May 20, in the district boardroom, 503 N. Sequim Ave., prior to the regular board meeting; the public is invited.

Other board news

In other school board action on March 7, directors approved an overnight travel request for the Sequim High School Knowledge Bowl team to travel to Arlington on March 17-18 for the state Knowledge Bowl Tournament.

Directors also accepted a leave of absence request from Nicolena Hutchins, Olympic Peninsula Academy Elementary teacher, from March 10, through the end of the 2016-2017 school year, and approve a request to reduce contract and work hours from Sequim High School paraeducator Victor Lancheros.