Candidates file to run for local offices
August 28, 2008 · Updated 9:09 AM
MARYSVILLE All three seats up for election to the Marysville School Board this fall will be contested, as several candidates filed at the last minute to run for director positions two, three and five.
Those seats are now held by incumbents Cindy Erickson, Darci Becker and Sherri Crenshaw, respectively. Erickson was elected to the board in her own right two years ago to seat number five, which covers the southern-end of the 72-square-mile district, and moved over to district two, which is on the north side, covering the Shoultes area. Because she was appointed to that seat by the other board members last June, she will be on the ballot with Don Wlazlak, who also applied for appointment to the same seat.
Becker will be challenged by Steve King for position three in the heart of town, and position five covering Sunnyside will feature a three-way race with Crenshaw challenged by former Marysville City Councilwoman Lisa Vares and Corinne Diteman. The trio will face off in the primary Aug. 21, with the top two voter getters advancing to the general election Nov. 6, when the fate of the other candidates is decided by voters.
Crenshaw was appointed to the board last summer in a mid-year reshuffling that moved Erickson over to her current position after former board member Carol Jason resigned due to religious reasons. Former board president Vicki Gates also left last year after leaving the district boundaries and moving to Everett. All of the appointees must now face the voters this fall.
Vares is an Arlington police officer who works as a school resource officer in that district. She served on the Marysville City Council for several years before resigning due to the time constraints of raising two kids as a single mother and working 12-hours shifts as a cop. Her current schedule will allow her to serve on the board, she said, citing her eight-hour, Monday-through-Friday shift.
Vares has two kids in Marysville schools in the fourth and second grades, and said she wants to focus on academics and security.
Im concerned about test scores and security issues, safety issues within the schools, Vares said. Marysville test scores are lower than for instance, Lake Stevens.
She attended Washington State University, graduating with a degree in English literature and has worked for the Arlington Police Department for three years, and emphasized her experience with the Marysville City Council, the Marysville Fire District Board of Directors and the Snohomish County Developmental Disabilities Board. One of her children has some challenges and Vares said she would take an interest in the special education programs in the district. Working with students in the Arlington system has given her great insight into the challenges students face today, she said.
I think the schools could do more against unwelcome visitors who are there for the wrong reasons, Vares said. I feel like Marysville could do more to combat issues like drug abuse with older members of the community.
Diteman is a lawyer and stay-at-home mother who volunteers for many school district programs, including several of the bond and levy elections of the last few years and the boundary revision, oversight and highly-capable advisory committees. She has never been elected to office before and thought about applying last year for one of the open seats but her husband was traveling for Boeing too much to make that practical . Now that the 787 is coming together Diteman said she can devote enough time to serve on the board. She has four kids, two Marysville-Pilchuck High School grads, one who will attend there next fall and another in elementary school. The Spokane native is 45 years old and has lived in town for 12 years. She received both her bachelors and law degrees from Gonzaga University and was an attorney before moving to western Washington. Like the other contenders for the seat, she thinks superintendent Larry Nyland is doing a good job, especially citing his work on the construction bond and operating levy elections during 2005 and 2006.
Its such an a huge effort, Diteman said. I wondered if his wife ever saw him.
Diteman was concerned last year as the district moved to split M-PHS into several smaller learning communities focusing on special subjects or interests. She supports the idea to reduce a high drop-out rate but expressed alarm at the pace of some key decisions and how the community was kept informed. Now that the work is on track to start next fall Diteman wants to ensure oversight for the implementation.
Diteman said she didnt know that much about her opposition.
To me its just a really good sign that people are interested and wanting to serve, Diteman said. I just see all these people that are interested in our district and our kids. Im impressed that there are so many people signing up for a lot of work.
Crenshaw is a former teacher who now stays at home, raising four kids, with her eldest graduating this month from M-PHS. A graduate of Kansas State University, she taught for eight years and thinks the district is on the right track, and supports the new curricula being adopted in Marysville elementary schools..
I think, me personally, I think having a uniform curriculum across the state it would be easier to check and see how we are doing, Crenshaw said. I definitely think that we need to focus on math in the district.
She hopes the new curriculum is family friendly so parents can help their kids with their homework. She downplayed security concerns, saying that she didnt think Marysville had a gang-problem but did have some battles with vandalism. As the city becomes more diverse there will be challenges getting people to come together. As the district worked on new boundaries for elementary and middle schools last fall, Crenshaw said she was surprised how much resistance there was from some parents.
People still have strong beliefs about mixing with other cultures, Crenshaw said.