Elections

North Thurston Schools Board of Directors District No. 1

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Candidates are listed in the order they will appear on the Aug. 6 primary ballot.

Marlene Inverso

Age: 77

Occupation: Retired Developmental Optometrist serving Olympia/Lacey/Tumwater for 33 years

Have you run for public office before? If so, for what office?

No, I have never run for public office.

Please list any other experience you think is relevant to the position you are running for.

I taught High School English in Los Angeles, Toronto and upstate New York for 14 years before returning to graduate school for a Masters in Education and a Doctorate in Optometry.

Why are you running for this position?

I want to make sure that what we teach children is developmentally appropriate and scientifically accurate.

What are the top three issues you see facing the district you are running to represent?

1. Developmental inappropriateness harms

2. Pseudo science replaces scientific accurateness

3. Political indoctrination stifles freedom.

Jason Noahr

IMG_0564 - Jason Noahr.jpg
Jason Noahr Courtesy photo Jason Noahr

Age: 42

Occupation: Washington State Patrol Trooper Detective

Have you run for public office before? If so, for what office?

I have not

Please list any other experience you think is relevant to the position you are running for.

I have been a public servant for 21 years. This service to my community has allowed me to engage and work with citizens every day, make a difference when people need help the most and develop skills that allow me to see issues from all sides to draw logical conclusions.

Why are you running for this position?

I am running for NTPS Board to ensure all students have the same opportunity for success, to partner with parents and educators and to guarantee our students feel safe and welcome at school.

I am a lifelong Lacey resident and a product of North Thurston Schools. My vocational path at the New Market Skill Center launched me into a career in law enforcement. I am a foster parent and uncle to 32 nieces and nephews. My large family and this community give me the unique perspective, having seen the different experiences, challenges and successes many kids also face.

What are the top three issues you see facing the district you are running to represent?

I believe the district schools are operating well, but there is room to grow. I am concerned about how resources are provided from school-to-school. It is important that programs, resources and funding are provided equitably across the district. Some schools may need more resources to address challenges of certain student populations such as special education or English language learners. Additional supports should be provided to students who need it to make sure every student can learn to their full potential.

I believe students should have educators in their school that share their diversity. This is not a problem easily overcome as there are societal barriers that lead to a lack of educators of color that this school board will find challenging to overcome on their own. But, in the short-term we should work hard to make sure students can see themselves in the books they read and the curriculum they are taught.

It is important that students experiencing homelessness and in foster care receive the support they need to stay in their school when they are transitioning from place-to-place in the evenings. In most of these cases, a student’s teacher and school friends are the only constant in their life.

Gretchen Maliska

Gretchen Maliska - Gretchen Maliska.jpg
Gretchen Maliska Courtesy photo Gretchen Maliska

Age: 47

Occupation: Program Manager, Career & Technical Education

Have you run for public office before? If so, for what office?

North Thurston Public Schools Board Director

Please list any other experience you think is relevant to the position you are running for.

As a current School Board Director, I continue to be a strong community leader in education. Since 2006, I have served students, staff and community members on Legislative Committees, Levy Campaigns, Boundary Committees, Strategic Planning and much more. As CTE Program Manager in Career & Technical Education, I provide administrative oversight to 60 Teachers, Para-educators and Office Professionals in Career Connected Learning. I have served as an executive administrator at a K-8 private school, providing oversight on budget, funding, enrollment, curriculum, and staff development.

As an active parent of 5, I have also managed youth football, served on preschool boards and organized school fundraising activities. I have provided advocacy for children with special needs and am an active supporter of Activities, Athletics and Performing Arts as part of comprehensive public education.

These experiences have given me a deep understanding of K-12 education.

Why are you running for this position?

As a School Board Director for the NTPS, it is my privilege to be a critical public link to the schools in this district. This committee creates the big picture view of education, making decisions about programs, incorporating the community’s view, being accessible to the public, and a part of the accountability and vision for the district. I am honored to understand the many different views and perspectives of our community in order to continue working with district leaders, staff, students and community members to provide our youth the opportunity to become contributing citizens.

What are the top three issues you see facing the district you are running to represent?

1. Career Connected Learning.

It is vital that North Thurston Public Schools continues to provide opportunities that lead our students to the work force. We can continue to build on dual credit, apprentices and career connected pathways to provide all of our students a great future. Giving our students equal opportunities into the work force and college are vital to our community.

2. Equity.

In order to change there must be a great understanding from all involved. Understanding that everyone comes to the table with a different set of barriers and tools is a very different message to each community member. It is vital that we continue to move toward providing each person with the tools they need to be their best self.

3. Respectful conversation and teamwork. Coming back to a community that strives for democracy.

We can overcome our limitations, break through barriers created by our history, and live extraordinarily equitable lives by listening as individuals and collectively agreeing to move forward in a positive light. We must create conversations with respect and dignity for all, with open dialogue. This is such a necessary lesson we much teach our children in order to move forward as a community.

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