Candidates for school board discuss the important issues facing districts

As we approach the Nov. 5 general election, many school board positions in Bremerton and Central Kitsap School District will be starting new terms. Kitsap News Group reached out to the candidates in the Central Kitsap School District and Bremerton School District, to find out what is important to them.

CKSD Candidates

This year, the District 2 seat is the only contested race for Central Kitsap School District’s Board of Directors, which has current director Rob MacDermid running for re-election against Ryan Hamilton.

MacDermid has been an attorney in private practice in Kitsap County for more than 25 years and has over 20 years of service as a superior court-appointed arbitrator, as well as six years of experience as a district court judge pro tempore. He also was a U.S. Navy Surface Warfare Officer for six years and served 21 years in the Naval Reserve.

He has received degrees from Miami University, Tulsa University, and the U.S. Naval War College. Some of MacDermid’s community service efforts included serving as president of the Rotary Club of Silverdale and as a member of the Central Kitsap Community Council.

“Our job as the board of directors is to ensure that what the superintendent and the superintendent’s professional staff are doing makes sense and is in the best interest of the Central Kitsap community,” MacDermid said.

Hamilton retired from the Navy this year after serving 28 years on active duty. He has resided in Silverdale since 2010 and has three daughters, two of whom graduated from Central Kitsap High School in 2016, and the youngest who is currently a student at Central Kitsap Middle School.

Hamilton coaches youth soccer for his youngest daughter and is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Hamilton has received degrees from Saint Leo University and Eastern Connecticut State University.

“I believe we need to improve transparency and community engagement,” Hamilton said. “After speaking to CK voters over the past few months, many feel like they aren’t a part of the process. I believe there needs to be a more robust outreach in order to connect with parents in the district.”

Both candidates also addressed the district’s spending of taxpayer money and if spending could be diverted to different areas.

“I really do believe that the taxpayer’s money is well managed,” MacDermid said.

“Fiscal responsibility and accountability are extremely important to me as a candidate, as well as a parent and a taxpayer,” Hamilton said. “We owe it to students, parents, and teachers to use funding in a responsible and careful manner.”

MacDermid and Hamilton also both stated why they feel they are the most qualified candidate for the position.

“I am motivated to make [my daughter] and every other students’ educational experience as rewarding and meaningful as possible,” Hamilton said. “If elected, I will bring a fresh pair of eyes to the challenges we face in the school district.”

“I think the major difference is experience,” MacDermid said. “I have not seen [Hamilton] attend one board meeting since he declared his candidacy back in May. I’ve been involved in this community waist deep for 35 years. I’m doing the job now, I’m ready to go.”

Jeanie Schulze is running unopposed for CKSD District 4 Director. She has served in this position from 2013 to

2019. Schulze worked as a community relations specialist and volunteer and partnership coordinator for CKSD from 1987 to 2004. She is involved with the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce and the Kitsap Literary Council Board of Directors. Schulze received a Bachelor of Arts from Indiana University.

Schulze talked about some of the key changes she’s seen over the last few years in the district, including the rise of technology becoming a permanent part of students’ futures.

“They were born with technology and technology will be integrated into their jobs as they leave school no matter what path they take,” she said. “I’m very proud of the district and the board of directors for leaning forward to ensure that our students have access to technology and that our teachers have the opportunity to use a curriculum that helps integrate technology in the appropriate way into classroom instruction.”

Schulze also addressed some of the key issues facing the district at the moment.

“The most important work we have right now is improving student achievement, but also opportunities for all students to learn and grow so they’re successful as they move toward that next level of learning beyond high school.”

The sole candidate running for CKSD’s District 3 seat is Drayton Jackson, who is attempting his first run for office. Jackson is the founder and executive director of the Family Day Foundation, which is devoted to supporting low income, homeless families and families in crisis. He is currently studying Organizational Leadership at Olympic College and was the Student Body President in 2016.

“One of the reasons I decided to run for this position was because there are issues with students of color in the Central Kitsap School District,” Jackson said. “I feel their voices are not being heard the way they want it to be. I truly believe that when students of color see someone that looks like them in a board position, this will send a great message throughout the district to both students, parents, and teachers.”

Jackson also stated he wanted to reduce violence in the schools.

“We have to make sure that we talk to our students and give them a platform to express themselves no matter who they are,” he said. “I feel this will help in curbing violence in schools. I am hoping that we can create a foundation platform for students to vent and express their true feelings outside of social media to address issues they may be having or concerned with.”

Bremerton School District candidates

Three candidates for the BSD board of directors are running unopposed this year.

Karen Bolton is running for Director Position 1 and currently teaches Organizational Leadership at Olympic College. Bolton dropped out of high school before joining the Navy for 20 years. She has since received her Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership from Brandman University.

“My job going into the role of school board is to know that I’m here to serve my community,” Bolton said. “I’ve always believed in service, I’ve always believed in giving back and you need to step up sometimes. A lot of people will sit back and complain about things but nobody wants to do anything, so this is just my turn to step up.”

“I look at the school board and it’s not very diverse at all,” Bolton went on to say. “I’m the best candidate because I come with a different lens.”

The lone candidate running for Director Position 2 is lifelong Bremerton resident John Paul Hurley. Hurley is a Washington State University alum and recently graduated from Leadership Kitsap in 2016, as well as the UCLA Head Start Management Fellows Program in 2017. He is also a board member and volunteer coach for the Bremerton Soccer Club and has a family with two children who attend district schools.

“I have worked in early learning for the majority of my professional career and think some of those ideas, as well as a fundamental understanding of child development, provide me with a foundational knowledge of looking for solutions with the greatest positive impact on the number one priority: the students.”

“The way schools are funded is archaic and more and more districts rely on local levies to meet even basic needs,” Hurley went on to say. “This leads to greater and greater inequity between districts and makes it harder to provide the types of opportunities students need to compete for scholarships or college admissions.”

Current BSD Board Vice President and Auditor Jonee Dubos is also running unopposed and seeking re-election for Director Position 3. Dubos has supported the district over the last 18 years in various volunteer positions including PTA President and classroom volunteer. She has three children who have all graduated in the district.

Kitsap News Group reached out to Dubos for comment on her bid for re-election but attempts to reach her before deadline were unsuccessful.

“We have one shot at raising our kids and it does take all of us,” a statement from Dubos in the Kitsap County General Election Voters’ Pamphlet reads. “Teachers, coaches, and parents must work together to keep our kids safe, create equitable learning environments and empower confidence to learn with no excuses.”

“I humbly request the opportunity to serve the students another four years and continue the challenging but rewarding work as school board director for the Bremerton School District.”

Drayton Jackson, CKSD school board candidate District 3

Drayton Jackson, CKSD school board candidate District 3

Jeanie Schulze, CKSD school board candidate District 4

Jeanie Schulze, CKSD school board candidate District 4

John Paul Hurley, BSD school board candidate Position 2

John Paul Hurley, BSD school board candidate Position 2

Jonee Dubos, BSD school board candidate Position 3

Jonee Dubos, BSD school board candidate Position 3

Rob MacDermid, CKSD school board candidate District 2

Rob MacDermid, CKSD school board candidate District 2

Karen Bolton, BSD school board candidate Position 1

Karen Bolton, BSD school board candidate Position 1

Ryan Hamilton, CKSD school board candidate District 2

Ryan Hamilton, CKSD school board candidate District 2