Elections

Olympia School Board of Directors District No. 1

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Washington is one of three states that send ballots in the mail to all registered voters. Here is how you can check if your vote has been counted.

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

Ahniwa Ferrari

Age: 39

Occupation: Librarian

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

No

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

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Ahniwa Ferrari Courtesy photo Ahniwa Ferrari

I’ve been working professionally as a librarian, educator, and manager since I received my Master’s Degree in 2008. I’ve been in higher ed since 2015, first as Associate Dean for the Library at Grays Harbor College and currently as Associate Dean for the Library at The Evergreen State College. In addition, I have experience working with associations and on boards. I am currently on the boards for ACRL-WA (our state chapter of the Association of College and Research Libraries) as treasurer and WLA (Washington Library Association) representing academic libraries.

Why are you running for this position?

I’m running to represent the voices of families in District 1, covering multiple neighborhoods including Bigelow Highlands, the Upper Eastside, Boston Harbor, and the NE Neighborhood where I live. I would make sure everyone’s voices felt heard and that information about the Board’s activities were communicated back to them. In addition, I’d explore new opportunities for partnerships between our schools, local businesses, and non-profits, including expanded internship and job experience opportunities, educational events, and coordinated offerings with our public libraries and institutes of higher education.

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

Homelessness is a big issue impacting every aspect of our communities right now. In terms of our schools we can best address this by investigating additional ways to provide free or reduced cost before- and after-school care and meals to students in low-income families. Sustainability is another big issue we need to address. Making investments now in a sustainable future may entail some short-term sacrifices, but we are responsible for ensuring that we do everything we can to create the world we want our children to live in. We can address this by reducing waste across the district, making our buildings, new and old, as eco-friendly as possible, and teaching our students across the curriculum how best to care for the future of their planet. Last but not least, in an uncertain economy we need to ensure that our K-12 experience is not only preparing students for higher ed but is also providing them pathways into the workforce. We can accomplish this by increasing partnerships with local businesses and organizations, providing additional opportunities for internships and job experience, and by establishing pipelines into trade schools and apprenticeships after graduation.

Maria Flores

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Maria Flores Courtesy photo Maria Flores

Age: 38

Occupation: Director-Title II, Part A- Supporting Effective Teaching and Leading & Special Programs

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

No

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

Education: MPA,Master of Public Administration, Public Policy- The Evergreen State College Alternative Teacher Licensure Program-Elementary K-8- University of New Mexico BA, Bachelor of Arts, Politics and Environmental Studies- Whitman College Experience: Director, Title II, Part A- Supporting Effective Teaching and Leading & Special Programs, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) Assistant Director, Office of Student and School Success, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) Research Analyst, Government Relations & Fiscal Resources, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) Facilitator, Center for the Improvement of Student Learning (CISL), Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) Education Ombudsman, Office of the Education Ombuds, Office of the Governor, Governor Christine Gregoire 8th Grade Teacher, Chemistry, Physics and Algebra, Ft. Wingate Elementary School, Eastern Navajo Agency, Navajo Nation, Bureau of Indian Education 4th & 2nd Grade Teacher, Tse’ii’ahi Community School, Eastern Navajo Agency, Navajo Nation, Bureau of Indian Education Assistant Director, Intercultural Center, Whitman College Certifications and Training: Mediator- King County Dispute Resolution Center Social Justice Mediator- University of Massachusetts, Amherst Restorative Practices Facilitator-International Institute for Restorative Practices Compassionate Schools Facilitator-Compassionate Schools Initiative, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) Memberships: Former union member, Indian Educators Federation, AFL-CIO

Why are you running for this position?

I am devoted to ensuring that every student receives an excellent education, every educator is supported, and every school district has ample resources. My career began as a teacher – both in elementary and middle school classrooms. I have worked as an education ombudsman - helping schools and families resolve issues. I currently serve as a leader in educational policy at the state level. Most importantly of all, I am a parent of a student in Olympia School District. I am running because I want to use my extensive experience in education to : -Ensure equity & close the opportunity gap -Strengthen student supports -Invest in educator growth -Engage families & build community partnerships -Implement the new strategic plan.

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

1. Implementation of new high school graduation requirements under House Bill 1599, which changes high school assessment expectations for graduation and provides multiple personalized pathways to graduation and career or post-secondary options.

2. Changes in student discipline rules which provide additional support for students, addresses disproportionate discipline, limits the use of suspension and expulsion for minor offenses and provides reengagement meetings for the student, family and school to support the student returning to school

3. Increased state funding for Special Education students being served in an inclusive setting, changes to compensation and levy funding requirements As a board member, I will focus on assisting the school district implement the new graduation requirements through a needs assessment of existing programs, identifying where the expanded pathways to graduation will need to be created. I led the effort to reform the student discipline system at a state level and I will use my experience and expertise to help implement the changes in the district. I was the lead researcher to the Compensation Technical Working Group report the Legislature, which led to the basic education being fully funded by the state and I will use my knowledge to inform the school board.

Heath Howerton

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Heath Howerton Courtesy photo Heath Howerton

Age: 37

Occupation: Business owner

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

No

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

I’ve served on multiple boards in the past 10 years. 1 year with big brothers big sisters, 2 years with Olympia master builders and I currently serve on the board for Black Hills Youth Baseball. I’ve spent the past 16 years being self employed in construction and managing budgets for multiple companies with multiple employees. I serve as an advisor/marketing consultant for two non profits. I’ve assisted in coaching wrestling at Reeves middle school. This coaching gave me a first hand look at some of the struggles that students from low income families face.

Why are you running for this position?

I feel that my background in contacting and managing budgets could be of significant help in managing the budgets for our public schools. Also I believe that service to others and our community is one of the most important things we can do to better everyone’s lives.

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

-Budget challenges with the state formula.

-Addressing low income challenges so that ALL students have equal access to resources.

-An equitable formula for staffing so that the highest risk buildings get more staff, especially counselors and nurses, to address the issues that accompany poverty — mental health, substance abuse, physical abuse, etc.

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