New SKSD directors ready to serve, begin terms

South Kitsap School District officials say they are looking forward to what is ahead with a new team and new opportunities after three directors -two new and one returning- swore their oaths of office Dec. 6.

Megan Higgins of District 2 and Jay Villars of District 5 were called up individually and took their seats for the first time as elected officials of SKSD, winning their respective races against Jaime Cross and Rhonda Edwards in the November general election.

Higgins expressed her enthusiasm to serve the community in her opening statement as a director while also asking the public to hold her accountable in her position, even in her first days.

“It’s a little overwhelming, to be honest, and I have a lot to learn and intend to ask a lot of questions,” she said. “I hope the community will give me a little bit of grace as I learn and go through this process.”

Villar added, “I’m honored to be with this group of people and privileged to have this office. I’m excited to be part of this organization and to listen to our community as we move forward.”

District 1 Director Kate Espy took her oath over Zoom, returning to the position she had been appointed to in 2021 to fill a vacant seat.

“I’m super, super excited that we have five board members who can now get together and focus on our kids,” she said. “That is the reason we’re here, and now we can put our emphasis and time into that and decide what’s best for the children of South Kitsap.”

Superintendent Tim Winter extended words of gratitude to the newly elected officials as well as those no longer serving on the board as of that night. “Being a board member is not easy. It is sometimes thankless, but it’s an important part of the work we do in the school district,” he said.

John Berg was beaten in the primary election by Higgins and Cross, while Jeff Daily chose not to run. Even in that choice, it was made clear throughout his term and in that night’s public comment section of the meeting that Daily would continue to be a voice against the district’s higher-ups.

“I hadn’t planned on coming here, but at the end of the meeting last week, since everyone wanted to make a big deal out of it, Mr. Wilson,” he said, speaking directly to Director Jeffrey Wilson. “A couple of people called me a liar. If you’re going to call me, call it to my face, but don’t call it behind my back when I leave the building.”

Daily had left the Nov. 14 meeting of the board calling for the resignation of all of the district’s head officials, including Winter, even approaching to within inches of Berg and attempting to bait directors into escorting him out of the building. That meeting was sent into a recess.