POULSBO — Beth Worthington weathered some big storms during her term on the North Kitsap School Board.
The school district failed several times to notify parents, in a timely manner, of school safety issues; one case involved sexual activity on a school bus. And the previous superintendent’s leadership style led to a vote of no confidence by the teachers union.
Still, Worthington preferred to look to the future rather than revisit the past.
“I have four years of board experience and, while always learning and growing, I can immediately contribute fully,” she said. “We will have a community that understands, trusts and supports the North Kitsap School District … We will have in place a continued enrichment levy and a first-ever capital levy to sustain our facilities and technology. We will be in the top 5 percent of the state for graduation rate. All of our third-graders will be reading at grade level or better. … Educational experiences will involve art, local and world culture, music, dance, and just making the world a better place by finding and feeding individual passions.”
It was a vision that appealed to voters, who on Nov. 7 re-elected Worthington.
As of 8:15 p.m., Worthington received 4,059 votes to Richard (Dick) Lockwood’s 3,021, the Kitsap County Auditor Elections Office reported.
Richard (Rick) Eckert was elected to the District 1 position, receiving 4,135 votes to Daron Jagodzinske’s 2,791. Eckert will succeed Cindy Webster-Martinson, who had to forego this election because she moved out of her director district but has indicated she may run for school board again.
At a candidate forum in October, Lockwood said he and Worthington had been colleagues for a long time, serving together on various district committees. But, pointing to the district’s past failings, he said he was running against her “because someone needed to.”
As a school board member, he said during the campaign, he looked forward to healing wounds, adding more arts teachers, seeing more students headed to college. “I want parents to say, ‘My kids have great teachers; the principal is easy to work with,’ ” he said. “I want educators to say, ‘I have a great principal; the superintendent is easy to work with.’ “
Lockwood is a retired Air Force officer and technical requirements supervisor for Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific. He served as president of the North Kitsap High School Choir Boosters; and member of the district’s Community Financial Advisory Committee, Strategic Planning Group, Long Range Facility Planning Committee, and Principal Selection Committee.
Worthington, a professional engineer and certified project manager, had likewise been involved in the district before being elected to the school board four years ago. She collected signatures for I-728 for reduced class sizes, served on the district’s budget committee, coached soccer (she was Recreational Coach of the Year in 2003), and led a Girl Scout troop.
On Election Day, voters extended Worthington’s involvement.
Eckert is a retired Navy chief petty officer. His goals: achieving the district’s goal of graduation rates in the top 5 percent of the state; more support for special education, with student graduation rates at or above the state average; more technical training for students who do not intend to go to college.
”I have devoted virtually my entire adult life to public service in the Navy,” Eckert said during the campaign. “I wish to continue to serve in our community. I possess a unique outlook that will bring positive ideas, a dedicated heart, and an open mind to the North Kitsap School Board with the goal to better the education for all our students.”
Jagodzinske brought some diverse credentials to the campaign. He’s a pastor, as well as a former auditor for the firm of Deloitte & Touche. He has five children in North Kitsap schools and since 2005 has volunteered as a tutor, basketball coach or soccer coach. He served on the district’s budget committee and is chairman of the Kitsap Public Facilities District Board of Directors.
“I hope when I’m done [with a term as school board member], parents and our entire community would have high trust in our school board, our administrators and our schools,” he said during the campaign. “I hope to see North Kitsap School District recognized as one of the best in the state, and our community [taking] great pride in our teachers and students. People moving to the area would want to live here not only for the community itself, but for the outstanding quality of our schools.”
— Richard Walker is managing editor of Kitsap News Group. Contact him at email@example.com