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Changing of the guard at Lakewood School Board

Kathy and Ken Christiansen show off his going-away cake at his last Lakewood School District Board of Directors meeting as Director District 3 on Dec. 18. - Kirk Boxleitner
Kathy and Ken Christiansen show off his going-away cake at his last Lakewood School District Board of Directors meeting as Director District 3 on Dec. 18.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

LAKEWOOD — The Lakewood School District Board of Directors marked the end of an era on Tuesday, Dec. 18, as 11-year Director District 3 incumbent Ken Christiansen attended his last Board meeting as a Board member, but his successor was already there to greet the Board and his predecessor.

Christiansen was joined at the Board meeting by his wife Kathy and their children, Rob and Karen, as Ken carved off slices of chocolate cake to commemorate the occasion and posed for photos with an oversized farewell card signed by well-wishers. Although Dave Kiefer was appointed as Ken Christiansen’s successor in the Director District 3 position by the Board on Dec. 7, he won’t be sworn into that seat until Jan. 16 of next year. Kiefer still showed up at the Dec. 18 Board meeting to join those congratulating Christiansen on his accomplishments.

“While the other board members and I are sad to see Mr. Christiansen step down, we are all pleased to have Mr. Kiefer join us,” Lakewood School District Superintendent Dr. Dennis Haddock said, as he noted that Dave Kiefer and his wife Kim have lived in the school district for 15 years. “Dave comes equipped to serve on the school Board with a comprehensive skill set. He has been a staunch supporter of the Lakewood School District from early on and we are delighted to welcome him  into his new role.”

Dave and Kim Kiefer have two children whom he deemed “Lakewood lifers,” having attended Lakewood schools from kindergarten through high school — their son Sam is a sophomore at Pacific Lutheran University, and daughter Rachel is a senior at Lakewood High School — but Dave remains concerned with the state of the school district even as his youngest child prepares to graduate out of it this school year.

“It’s not just about my own kids, but everyone’s kids in the district,” Dave Kiefer said. “I’d like to see us help them become successful in whatever career path they choose, whether it involves college or not. Only 17 percent of the students in the Lakewood School District go on to college after graduation, so we should also be preparing them for other paths, from technical schools to directly entering the workforce. We need to be giving them a wide variety of tools.”

As a parent, Kiefer takes his responsibility for his own children’s education seriously, and he hopes that other parents do the same. At the same time, Kiefer’s investment in education was seeded well before he had children of his own.

“I’ve been involved in school levies since I was a kid myself,” said Kiefer, who’s served as a Career and Technical Education Program Advisor for the past several years in the Lakewood School District. “When I was a teen in Seattle, my mom was in charge of running the levy campaigns, so through college, I was stapling signs together and manning phone banks. This all seemed like the next logical step.”

Kiefer has already served 10 years as a HELP Committee member, and Haddock touted Kiefer as well-versed on private and public finance affairs from his job as a Chief Financial Officer of a skilled nursing facility company.

“I’ve also been involved in the levy campaigns since 2000 and the bond to build Cougar Creek Elementary,” Kiefer said. “Our kids are the future. They’re going to be the next leaders in our cities, in our state and in the nation. They’ll be the ones who will take care of us. My wish would be that all our parents and other community members join the school district in its goal to prepare all our children for their next steps in life.”

 

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