MARYSVILLE — Chris Nation will soon be wearing two hats in the educational field, since not only will he continue to serve as president of the Marysville School District Board of Directors, but as of Nov. 24, he will also serve as vice president of the Washington State School Directors' Association.
"We are very proud of Chris," said Dr. Becky Berg, superintendent of the Marysville School District. "He is well deserving of this position, and we thank him for representing Marysville so well. His commitment to improving student learning for every child we serve is steadfast, and he will be an asset to the WSSDA as their new vice president."
Nation was chosen in a runoff election against Marnie Maraldo of Issaquah, which ended at midnight on Friday, Oct. 18, after Nation received 186 votes and Maraldo received 137.
"We had great candidates, and it's a real testament to the respect voters across the state have for Chris," WSSDA Executive Director Jonelle Adams said. "He has helped accomplish some amazing things in Marysville, and will be a very strong addition to the board."
School directors from the state's 295 school districts cast their ballots in the September election and October runoff, both of which were held online. The election process was conducted through a third-party independent firm to ensure its fairness and accuracy.
Serving as the WSSDA's vice president will mean more meetings and commitments for Nation, but he reassured members of the Marysville School District and its surrounding community that he will continue to fulfill his duties to them, and then some, now that he'll be connecting with state and federal officials, on educational issues impacting both Marysville and the state as a whole.
"I'll be educating our legislators on our needs, since many of them have limited exposure to how school districts work, so they might not fully understand how their decisions affect us on the local level," Nation said. "It can be an eye-opener for them, and once they receive that information, they're more likely to recognize when something's not a great idea."
To that end, Nation hopes not only to obtain more funding for Marysville and other state school districts, but also more outside assistance for mandates that he's often seen imposed by the state and federal governments without the monies or manpower to carry them out.
"The biggest thing is the state Supreme Court's verdict in the McCleary case, and making sure the legislature is moving forward to carry that out, by providing the needed funds for education," Nation said. "Every time they cut our budgets, it does a disservice to our kids, and the new teacher and administration evaluations take resources away from our school districts, especially the smaller ones. Those evaluations have great intentions behind them, but they need time and support to be implemented properly, or else they become haphazard and you get inflated scores."
Although Nation credited U.S. senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell with supporting education on the local level, he still sees value in being able to keep them informed of the state school districts' progress, just as he aims to bring back some of the lessons he learns from his dealings with state and federal officials to his own school district.
"I'm just in awe and so humbled to have been selected as vice president," Nation said. "I intend to validate the WSSDA's confidence in my leadership, and take my own learning to the next level."
Nation will assume his new position at the conclusion of the Washington State School Directors' Association annual conference, during which the WSSDA's new officers will be introduced and sworn into office as part of the conference's general session on Nov. 24.