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Webster-Martinson makes history in North Kitsap School District | Election
POULSBO — Cindy Webster-Martinson was doing her best not to get too far ahead of herself early Nov. 5 before the election results were released.
"I'm still just trying hard not to get excited until it's done …," Webster-Martinson said. "I never take anything for granted."
Though she didn't want to assume she had won the general election for the District 1 position on the North Kitsap School Board, it was a pretty safe bet. Steve Hancock, Webster-Martinson's opponent, dropped out of the race in September. Hancock was still on the ballot, however.
Webster-Martinson becomes, it is believed, the first Native American elected to the North Kitsap School Board; Marie Hebert, Port Gamble S’Klallam, was appointed to a vacancy on the school board and served in 2000-01.
As of 8:15 p.m. Election Day, Webster-Martinson had 4,438 votes to Hancock’s 2,244.
Webster-Martinson will succeed Tom Anderson, who was first elected to the position in 2005. She hopes to take over as the tribal liaison for the board, and hopes to improve communication between the school district and the Suquamish Tribe and Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe.
"I just think there's certainly room for improvement," she said.
An example of improving board/tribal government relations is showing exactly how Title 7 funding is being spent, and the benefits for the students. Title 7 is federal funds given to school districts to improve academic achievement with Native American students.
Webster-Martinson would also like to see the board and district improve transparency. One of the largest complaints was the district's decision to consolidate the Parent Assisted Learning program, despite parent opposition. The PAL program saw a significant decrease in enrollment, and Webster-Martinson said she has still not heard an explanation as to why the PAL program was changed.
Webster-Martinson also wants to see the board continue supporting programs that are not considered basic education, such as art, music, drama and sports.
"I believe that education is more than just reading, writing and arithmetic," she said. "For a child to get a full education, [extra programs] must all be available to not only enjoy school, but develop talents that they might have. The left side of the brain is just as important."
Webster-Martinson served on the Suquamish Tribal Council in 1980-82 — her grandfather, Lawrence Webster, was chairman at the time — and this year she was elected to the Suquamish Tribe Elders Council. She has a BA in education and K-8 teacher certification from Pacific Lutheran University, and a master’s degree in education administration from Seattle University. She taught in grades K-6 for three years and for the past five years has worked as an educator/teacher for the Suquamish Tribe education department.