Diana Farnsworth and Erik Schorr will face-off for Anacortes School District Board of Commissioners, Position 2, in the general election Nov. 2.
School Board members are elected to four-year terms.
The following answers were submitted in the candidate's own words.
Name: Erik Schorr
Occupation: Owner/Operator; Anacortes Kayak Tours (18 years), Blue Otter Outfitters (10 years), and Body Boat Blade International (2 years).
Anacortes Chamber of Commerce - Board of Directors
Anacortes Chamber of Commerce - Marketing and Promotions Committee
City of Anacortes - Lodging Tax Advisory Committee
Anacortes Youth Sports Coach - Soccer & Indoor Soccer
Anacortes Futures Project - Committee Member
Deception Pass Park Foundation - Centennial Celebration Committee
Sea Kayak Coach
The University of Washington, B.A. (American Indian Studies)
Why are you running for the Anacortes School Board?
I am at a point in my life where I can focus more time on community service and engagement. I believe in the value of public education and would like to contribute to strengthening the Anacortes School District’s reputation as one of the top districts in Washington State.
What do you believe qualifies you for this position?
I have many years of service on various boards and committees, as well as owning and operating three small local businesses for 18 years. These experiences have given me the ability to work with a wide variety of people, to be a creative problem solver, to manage and analyze budgets, and to become adept at risk assessment and risk management. I also am the father of two kids currently enrolled in the district and so I have a vested interest in helping the ASD to create an excellent learning environment for all of our students.
What do you see as the biggest obstacle facing the School District right now?
Although I feel like our district did the best that it could during the pandemic, the kids essentially lost more than a year of learning. It is vital to work tirelessly to help the students catch up with this academic loss.
What are some new policies or changes you want to bring to the district?
I would like to see the district do more to support publicly funded Pre-K, special needs education, and Para Ed training. It is far more cost-effective to develop a solid foundation of learning at the pre-K level and early grades than it is to try and help kids who have fallen behind later in their schooling.
What is the School District doing right?
I think that the school board did a good job in finding and hiring Dr. Justin Irish as our superintendent. All of my interactions with him so far leads me to believe that he is a highly intelligent and dynamic individual who can adapt to difficult circumstances. His first year on the job was hopefully the most challenging one that he will face.
What is your opinion on the equity work the School District is undertaking?
I support every effort made to ensure that each student gets the educational support that they need in order to reach their full potential. Everybody deserves equality of opportunity to succeed.
What is your opinion on mask requirements in schools?
As we enter our second school year with mandates, I am worried about masks at the primary school level. Young kids need to learn non-verbal communication skills in order to properly develop. Masks hinder this learning. We are told that these are temporary measures but for the youngest students masking has already covered a significant portion of their lives. The indefinite nature of the masking requirements seems problematic for primary school learning. European countries have already figured out that the risks of masking young children outweigh the benefits and do not require it. Some countries never required them, even during the height of the pandemic, and did not experience problems. I do not think that science informs us differently here in Washington State. If it does then our health officials need to do more to show us how they come to this conclusion.
What do you think the district needs to do to help students catch up on education they may have missed during the COVID-19 pandemic?
We need to focus all of our resources, energy, and time on academic rigor. It will not be easy to catch up and so we need to ask a lot of our students, teachers, and staff. Quality education can have a profound effect on a child’s future success. We do not have much time to waste.