The Stanwood Camano School Board will see change this fall — potentially dramatic change.

Four of the five seats are on November’s ballot, two of which are contested — the first contested races since 2005. All races are non-partisan.

Two are vying for the District 4 director position, which represents the area north of Stanwood.

Incumbent Ken Christofersen, a local business owner, previously served on the board from 1995-1999. He was re-elected in 2003 and has served continuously since. 

Supporting Career and Technical Education is a priority for Christofersen.

“In light of the increase in the number of credits needed to graduate, it is critical that the board continues to support all areas of study — especially Career and Technical Education,” he said of the skills-based curriculum route to a career. “We need to make sure that these students don’t get left behind.”

District 4 challenger Brett Kinney is a manager in the manufacturing industry. He has served on various boards, including on a county parks board and a legislative district political board. 

Kinney views the proper use of financial resources as critical.

“My top priority is to ensure that our students, staff and operations are resourced appropriately by working with the superintendent and fellow board directors to manage the district’s overall budget, considering both funded and unfunded mandates in a way that meets our current resources and needs,” he said.

Two are also running for the District 5 seat, which is a director-at-large position.

Incumbent Natalie Hagglund, is a local preschool teacher and is also employed by an area foundation. She was elected to the board in 2015.

Hagglund puts financial stability as a high priority.

“If re-elected, I will remain committed to students, staff and our community to continue to be financially stable while responding to funded and unfunded mandates, law changes and other needs of the district,” Hagglund said.

District 5 challenger George Zeigen is a retired local school counselor and is involved in many community organizations.

Zeigen said that connecting students to appropriate resources is a top priority.

“Strengthening student connections to their schools and our community will be a priority if I’m elected,” he said. “I want to examine student services, such as those provided by counselors and nurses, to make sure we are supporting the social and emotional well-being of students in the classroom and the community.”

Only one candidate is running in District 2, which represents the east and south sides of Camano Island, and District 3, representing the north and west sides of Camano.

However, each of these districts will see new representation because incumbents Chad Lewis and Julie Dean did not seek to retain their seats.

Charlotte Murry is seeking the District 2 seat, and Miranda Evans is unopposed for the District 3 position. 

 


 

The Stanwood Camano News sent each candidate a questionnaire with the same questions. Their responses follows.

District 2

Charlotte Murry  

Murry did not respond to the SC News’ questionnaire. 

 

District 3

Miranda Evans

Why are you running for this position?

I decided to run for this position as a way to get more involved with our great community and the school district my children attend.

What experience do you have and how will that help in this position?

I currently work for a large corporation where I audit files, manage large outside accounts, and am in charge of rolling out and supplying the necessary training for substantial process changes.  This means that I am a detail-oriented person that is good at taking in information and breaking it down for others to understand in clear concise ways.

What do you want to accomplish or change? 

My goal is to ensure that our school district is doing everything they can to set up, not only my children, but for all of the children in the Stanwood-Camano School District for future success.  

 

District 4

Ken Christoferson

Why are you running for this position?

I am running to continue the work underway. I want to contribute to the education of the children in our community and make sure that each of them has the opportunities for the best possible future. This community has been the home of my family for many generations, and I think that we should do what we can to provide for the future members of our community.

What experience do you have and how will that help in this position?

I have served as a Stanwood Camano School Board Director for several terms,

District 19 Fire Commissioner for 12 years, and served on several school district planning committees including facilities, curriculum, athletics and program review. I have served on the Washington State School Directors Association resolution committee for 10 years. I am a member of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church and serve as congregation president. I’m a member of Fritjov Sons of Norway and serve as counselor. I serve on the executive board advisory committee for the Stanwood Area Historical Society. I own and manage a business in Stanwood. I have served on the board and as president of Washington Concrete and Aggregates Association.

What do you want to accomplish or change? 

I want to support the work of our educators. We all are proud of our students and expect to provide for the best possible opportunities for their future. I pledge to work hard to make that happen. I am anxious to watch the construction of new school buildings and look forward to their completion, but the most important work is the continued efforts that take place in the classrooms and that is a cause for celebration each spring at graduation time.

Brett Kinney

Why are you running for this position?

I strongly believe that every student should have the opportunity for a quality education, because as we invest in our public education, we are ultimately investing into our community’s future. The district has made good strides in providing a quality education to our students, but I believe with the right leadership we can do more.

What experience do you have and how will it help you in this position?

For over 18 years I have been a professional manager in manufacturing. I am also a product of the public education system graduating from public high school and a public university, so I am familiar with how they function. My management experience has prepared me for the management or governance of the school district in all administrative functions such as strategic planning, budgeting, capital projects, personnel management, finance, operation management and administrative oversight. Additionally, I serve on a county parks advisory board, a legislative district political board, and a church board. The various boards that I have served on all had bylaws that board members needed to abide by and most cases guided by state laws.

What do hope to accomplish or change?

Improve the quality of education our students receive and having measurable results that show successful outcomes — we do this by improving curriculum, resourcing our teachers with quality materials and recruiting and retaining great teachers and staff. I also want to make sure that we are fiscally accountable to the voters — we do this by having a responsible budget. I also want to improve the communication between board and staff by being transparent with our planning and communication.

 

District 5

Natalie Hagglund

Why are you running for this position?

I have enjoyed my term on the school board and believe that I continue to have a valuable perspective. I am experienced, do my job with integrity, and have relevance for what is happening in our district now. We have four positions on the ballot this year — two of them do not have incumbents running. It’s important that the other two races keep experienced people on our board. In the time that I have been on the board, eight schools have received awards of recognition, graduation rates and test scores have risen, we have remained financially stable, and are accomplishing wonderful capital projects. I am proud of the work that our district is doing and would like to continue to be part of it. I am intentional about my work as a board member — I listen and respond to inquiries, am supportive of staff, and participate in our schools. I am the only member with children attending school full-time in our district. 

What experience do you have and how will that help in this position?

I am completing my first four-year term on the board and have received extensive training through the Washington State School Board Association. I also grew up in this community. My first job was at Twin City Foods, and I began to volunteer in our schools before we even had children. I went on to coordinate MOPS groups, was the PTA president at Twin City Elementary, and am active in the PTO at Port Susan Middle School. Before joining the board, I was a classified substitute employee for the district. I teach preschool at Our Saviour’s Lutheran, and am the scholarship coordinator/executive assistant for the Stanwood-Camano Area Foundation. I am also a piano accompanist, often playing for our school choirs, and have the privilege of accompanying the Stanwood High spring musical. I am the registrar for Stanwood Lacrosse, a Boy Scout merit badge counselor, and volunteer at my church. I am connected to many people in our community and understand our students, parents, staff and neighbors. 

What do you want to accomplish or change?

The school board is a cooperation. Directors do not act alone; our interaction models the culture and expectations for our district, and we can only take official action when together. Quite frankly, our district is always changing. We are constantly having to respond to changes in the law, figure out how to pay for new requirements that we don’t receive funding for, and adapt as the needs of our students change. I am glad that our district continues to focus on safety, and I would like to see us communicate our plans more clearly with families and our community. I am proud of how many students take advantage of our Career and Technology Education classes and want to continue to make sure we are helping kids find their specific way to succeed. Our staff continues to display their excellence with clean state financial audits, and I want to continue to make decisions that keep us fiscally sound. It is important to me that our employees keep their jobs and we maintain the ability to follow through on everything we have promised to our community.

George Zeigen

Why are you running for this position?

I am running for school board because I love our students. I’ve considering being on the school board for a number of years. Now that I’m retired, I am able to do so. Having worked in the school district for 30 years, I feel strongly that our students need a voice in their education and future. Being on the school board will allow me to ask tough questions and get answers. I want to ensure we are providing the strongest education along with college and career readiness upon graduation. I want to ensure all employees are valued and compensated fairly. I want to work with an independent board that is willing to make changes in our district, changes that will improve our schools and community. 

What experience do you have and how will that help in this position?

I started as a school counselor in Stanwood-Camano School District in 1987 and retired in 2018. During those years I worked with thousands of students and hundreds of families, dozens of teachers, numerous administrators, and two superintendents. My position as counselor at Stanwood Middle School put me in the unique position to directly help students work through challenges, mediate for teachers, and represent the district when tragedies struck families from our community and the neighboring communities of Marysville and Oso. These experiences equip me to face challenges and look for unique solutions that provide positive outcomes. I have raised children and have eight grandchildren. I care about their future and the future of all our students. My dedication to our students motivates me to hear their voices and to be their voice on the school board.

What do you want to accomplish or change?

I want to see the school board make more connections with students and staff in our district. I’d like to see more face-to-face meetings with groups of students (and parents) to hear their concerns and needs. I’d like to see more time given to teacher collaboration. I want to improve Stanwood High School’s graduation rate along with the college and career readiness of students. I want to ensure we are doing all we can to close achievement gaps and provide the best possible practices in serving all our students, including special populations. I want to approach contract negotiations with good will and integrity. I want to address our population growth in a manner that respects families, school capacities, and the community.

Contact reporter Evan Caldwell at ecaldwell@scnews.com and follow him on Twitter @Evan_SCN for updates throughout the week and on Instagram @evancaldwell.scn for more photos.

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