Teacher Jennie Beltramini was the top finisher in the Aug. 6 primary for Anacortes School Board Position 4.
Updated election returns at the end of the week showed her with 45.6% of the vote. Incumbent Bill Shaw finished second with 33.3%. He and Beltramini advance to the Nov. 5 general election. Maggie Santos finished third with 21.1%.
Shaw’s work as an oceanographer will pull him away from the campaign from mid-September to October, and he’s counting on his record to carry him.
“I’ve been doing this job for four years, and I’ve been successful,” he said. “I’m most proud of the work we did together on the district’s new strategic plan. With community involvement, we developed a good plan. People really connected with the emotional- and social-learning part of that plan. We’re starting to put the plan in place now and I want to see it fully come to life in all the schools.”
The strategic plan established goals and objectives in five areas: Quality Instruction & Curriculum, Partnerships, Social-Emotional Learning, Equity, and Stewardship.
Beltramini, a math teacher, said her 22 years of experience as an educator — 13 of those years in Anacortes schools — “sets me apart from the other candidates.”
Beltramini said board members don’t ask enough critical questions during the budget process; financial decisions made in the district should be centered on students’ needs; there needs to be more attention paid to students who “might struggle in the system right now;” and there needs to be more options for students who might not be college-bound, such as training for high-demand jobs in local industries.
“Our focus needs to be how we’re meeting the needs of all kids,” she said.
School Board members are elected to four-year terms. The School District had a $39.4 million budget during the 2018-19 school year. The district has seven schools: Anacortes and Cap Sante high schools; Anacortes Middle School; Fidalgo, Island View and Mount Erie elementary schools; and Whitney Early Childhood Education Center.
Shaw is a research professor at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Princeton University and a doctorate in oceanography from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He served on the board of a K-8 charter school he helped found in Monterey.
Beltramini earned a bachelor’s degree in K-8 education, with an endorsement in special education, from Washington State University; a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Lesley University; and a certificate of teacher leadership from the University of Washington.
She is a national board-certified teacher in early adolescent mathematics and a mathematics specialist for Student Achievement Partners, which according to its website, works to improve “mathematics outcomes for K-12 students nationally, with a particular focus on accelerating academic progress for students who face barriers of racism or poverty.”