Sedro-Woolley School Board incumbent Enrique Lopez-Cisneros is looking to retain his seat in the Nov. 2 election against Brent Schiefelbein.
Lopez-Cisneros, who was elected to the board in 2017, works as the regional migrant education coordinator for Northwest Educational Service District 189.
He said he is running to retain his seat to continue to promote the successes of all of the district's students.
Some of the things he said the district is doing well include making sure students are learning, are safe and feel welcomed.
Especially as the district continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, the district must continue trying to find ways to help its students grow, he said.
"I also think it is crucial for educators to continue having grace for our students," he said. "We are still in a world pandemic and it is important to continue being there for our students and families. I will continue to recommend our district to listen to our Woolley youth and families on how to best support Woolley youth succeed and feel welcomed in our schools."
Schiefelbein, a Sedro-Woolley Public Works employee, said the district is doing well with its summer food program, as well as the installation of new safety features at the district's schools.
To address pandemic learning loss, Schiefelbein said the district needs to get back to normal.
"In my opinion kids need normal," he said. "They need their life back."
As for Gov. Jay Inslee's mandate that all students, staff and visitors in school buildings must wear masks, Schiefelbein said he would rather that decision be left to parents.
"I think the mask mandate is detrimental to the students," he said. "We have taught them to live in fear of a virus where there is no statistical risk for them. If nothing else, we need to make it the parents' choice. Health and medical choices for children is the parents' job, not the school's."
Lopez-Cisneros said that while he wishes there was something the board could do to address the situation, Inslee's office has made it clear the mandate is not optional.
"With that said, I do appreciate seeing children in person in our school buildings," he said. "Happy and excited visiting with friends, while wearing their masks and social distancing to keep themselves and those they love safe."
Schiefelbein said previously that the biggest issue facing the district was politics making its way into schools.
"Teachers should not push their bias, whether they are on the left or on the right," he said. "We need to teach kids to think critically and for themselves, not what to think."
Although the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction said critical race theory is not part of schools' curriculum, Schiefelbein said it should not be taught in schools.
According to the Associated Press, critical race theory is a “way of thinking about America’s history through the lens of racism ... (that) centers on the idea that racism is systemic in the nation’s institutions and that they function to maintain the dominance of white people in society.”
"It is divisive," Schiefelbein said. "No person should be told they can or cannot do something because of the color of their skin, or that they are the reason someone can't accomplish something because of their skin color."
He believes that basic health, not comprehensive sexual education, should be taught in schools, he said.
Lopez-Cisneros disagreed with Schiefelbein's assessment of such issues.
"I guarantee our community none of what my opponent stated is happening," he said. "We have such an outstanding school community, who care so much for all our students (and) families and want to see all our youth in our K-12 schools succeed, feel welcomed and excel beyond high school. I will continue to push for honoring and uplifting the stories, intersectionalities and experiences of all our children and families."