School board candidates spell out their differences

POULSBO — Though the three candidates for North Kitsap School Board District 3 worked to distinguish themselves from each other July 16, it was the final question that enabled them to do it.

When asked what they would bring to the board that’s different from other candidates and how they would bring about changes, Ken Ames, Doug Prichard, and Beth Worthington each had their own articulation.

Ames, who was appointed to the position in October after Kathleen Dassel resigned, told the audience in Poulsbo City Hall he brings a “mental peripheral vision” from his earlier experience on the South Kitsap School Board and state Board of Education. He said he’s able to see different sides of issues — the decisions by the Legislature, for example. Ames said he also understands how each decision the board makes affects every child in the classroom.

Prichard thinks of himself as a facilitator. He’s an active listener, he said. He does not have preconceived notions or inflexible stands on issues, and would rather form opinions based on what he hears from other people. He said he is “willing to really work the issues” and question information provided to him. He wants to make sure everyone is represented, he said.

Worthington noted she would be the only woman on the board if she’s elected. More important, she said, she would bring her experience as a systems engineer working for a Navy contractor. She said she would be able to ask broader questions. Though the board works as a group, she believes individual board members can “open up the eyes on different perspectives.” She believes the board should be evaluated on a regular basis.

Ames (www.kenamesfornksb.com) moved from South Kitsap to Poulsbo in 2001 and had lived in South Kitsap since 1979. He served on the South Kitsap School Board for eight years and the state Board of Education for one year. He works at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard as a project planning engineer.

Prichard (www.dougprichard.org) has lived in North Kitsap for 14 years. He has two sons in the district. His wife, Colleen, is active in the district — she is on the Board of Trustees of the North Kitsap Schools Foundation. Prichard is vice president of information systems at Bentall Kennedy, a real estate investment advisory and services organization.

Worthington (http://bethworthington728.wordpress.com) has lived in Suquamish for 19 years and has one child in the school district; another child graduated from the district and is attending college.

Worthington is in a 28-year career as a senior systems engineer for FGS-LLC, a Navy contractor. Her work in education has included examiner, judge, and board member for the Washington State Quality Award, and serving on the NKSD 2013-14 Budget Committee.

Given one minute to talk about anything they were not asked during the forum, presented by the League of Women Voters of Kitsap County, Prichard and Worthington said they would like to see the board communicate better with the community.

Having seen six years of cuts to a declining budget, Worthington said she wants the board to “step back, engage the community,” and build a budget strategy based on input. She would like to see the board prepare better for the long term.

Prichard said he fears a school district levy would not be approved by voters because there is “a lot of anger floating around the district.” He would like to see board committees reestablished to receive more community input and show that the district is a trusted partner in the community. He wants an easy-to-read set of information regarding the “health” of the district.

Ames used his final minute before the closing statements to describe what he feels a board director’s job is.

“We’re policy makers,” he said. In a perfect world, he said, the board would create policy and hand it to the superintendent, who would then carry it out in the district. If there is something wrong, then either the policy is wrong or the person carrying it out isn’t doing it properly.

The District 3 candidates are vying for one of five positions on the North Kitsap School Board. Board directors serve four-year terms and are not paid. Directors are elected through school-districtwide elections.

The board’s responsibility include: establish general policy, adopt and revise the annual operating budget, select and evaluate the superintendent, employ school personnel with recommendation by the superintendent, exercise the power to administer schools conferred by the Legislature, and keep the public informed on the needs and progress of the education system.

The entire candidate forum will be shown on BKAT television Friday, 10:30 a.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.; Sunday, 7 p.m.: and July 24, 10 a.m.


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