Longtime Marysville school board member faces rare challenge

MARYSVILLE – For the first time in his many years of service, Tom Albright is being challenged for District 5 on the Marysville School Board. And it’s not just by one challenger, but by two. That means he’ll be matched against them in the Aug. 6 primary election. The top two voter-getters advance to the November general election.

Voters pamphlets will be mailed out Wednesday and ballots Thursday.

Albright’s challengers are substitute teacher Halleh Stickels and community activist Ryan Muri.

Tom Albright, 72

Employment: Retired United Methodist pastor

Education: B.A. University of Puget Sound in Religion and Philosophy, Doctor of Religion (Rel.D) from the Claremont School of Theology

Why did you decide to run?: Having been on the Marysville School District board of directors through two superintendent transitions and several significant crises, I believe continuity and consistency of leadership is essential. I believe that the Marysville School District is in the beginning of an exciting time of alignment of vision and clarity of direction. I want to be part of that future. Experience: I have served on the board for almost nine years. Throughout my career I have served on and led many boards, committees and community efforts. I understand how to listen to people’s needs, bring them together around a common direction and bring change to systems and those effected by them. Top 3 issues:

1. In response to financial pressures and changes made by the State Board of Education for high school graduation requirements, the board has made the major decision to create boundaries for our high schools and set in motion a major review of our secondary curriculum and programs. I support those changes and believe they are a better use of resources and will improve our graduation rate. 2. Marysville School District has an invaluable resource in the diversity of our students. It is essential for us as a community to value and celebrate these differences so that they become assets that each student brings into the school. The board has established a community task force to recommend an Equity Policy which is a first step. However, a policy is just the beginning. I am committed to the district actively valuing each student’s culture and life experience thereby shaping their education to help each student reach their full potential. 3. It is the community’s responsibility to provide educational facilities in which to educate our children. For decades we in Marysville have fallen short of maintaining and updating our facilities. For safety and educational effectiveness, we must work to pass school construction bonds and/or capital levies to replace our older facilities and update many others including Marysville-Pilchuck High School. I support such measures as long overdue for our students and for the good of our community.

Ryan Muri, 44.

Education: Graduated Inglemoor High School in Kenmore.

Employment: I work for my father-in-law and sister-in-law at Shelco Inc.

Why are you running?: I want to provide representation for all individuals who reside in our district.

Experience: Community service, such as Leah’s Dream auction and golf tournament.

Top 3 issues:

•Improving facilities. School building quality has a significant impact on attendance and dropouts. Students are less likely to attend or do well in school if their building is in need of repairs. If our facilities and fields don’t support learning, students can’t get the most of out their education. I will work to find funds, identify partnerships, and put energy into efforts that build and maintain these important community structures.

•Addressing bullying. Our district must continue to implement evidence-based programs that help students understand actions and develop conflict management skills. I am committed to implementing anti-bullying programs across our district.

•Protecting Special Education. With upcoming state and federal changes to special education funding and programs, we must seek to protect our most vulnerable students and ensure they have opportunities to succeed. I am committed to protecting these funds so all students thrive.

Why should someone vote for you rather than your opponents?:

As an active community member who has dedicated countless hours to the betterment of our schools I promise to continue my advocacy on behalf of our students and community.

Halleh Stickels, 50

Employment: Substitute teacher, Marysville School District

Education?: Bachelor’s of Science in General Science for PreMed from Seattle University

Why are you running? I have been a strong advocate for our students and teachers for the 15 years we have lived in Marysville. I believe serving on the school board is where I can best continue to lead and guide our district.

Experience: I have experience as both an MSD parent and employee. My family been a part of MSD for the last 15 years. I have served in PTSA as president, vice president or secretary at every level for 14 years. I’ve been an elementary paraeducator for five years, and emergency substitute teacher for two years, allowing me to experience a broad range of perspectives.

Top 3 issues:

1. Replacing/repairing schools – We need to approach replacing our older schools with a practical plan. Our community is not set up to support a large tax increase to replace every school at one time. We need a long-term plan to replace and repair schools based upon greatest need.

2. Transparency/community input – The school board is responsible for making important decisions on behalf of our students, teachers and staff. Unfortunately, many times the community is left questioning why decisions were made and with the impression that their input has no impact. The school board needs to approach decisions with transparency and honesty. 3. Student engagement – Graduation rates are dependent upon students seeing the value in their education and engaging with their teachers and other school staff. Education is not a one size fits all. We need to support our teachers and schools in their effort to reach every student through traditional and innovative programs.

Why should someone vote for you rather than your opponents?: Our district has experienced growing pains the past 15 years, and we have lost many good teachers and families in that growth. In my experience, many left due to a perceived lack of support. I would like to help establish a better connection between the school board and the families, teachers and staff of the Marysville School District.






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