January was School Board Appreciation Month and at the Jan. 25 board meeting our local board of directors were recognized for their outstanding contribution to the district. While the recognition is well deserved it cannot begin to express the gratitude we all have for these unpaid elected officials who labor in our collective best interests.
Getting to Know your Local School Board of Directors
School board members are the only elected officials whose sole purpose is to represent children by helping to plan the education of our communitys youth one of the most important responsibilities assigned to any citizen. Having a school board narrows the gap between parents and the key decision makers who have direct oversight of public education imagine if you had to contact your local representative or governor to discuss an issue with your neighborhood school? That is why we elect public-minded citizens to the local school board, where they are charged with articulating the needs of the community to the schools and the needs of the schools to the community.
The public trusts the school board to balance community goals and values with the needs of the children in their care, to be stewards of the districts resources, to represent the entire community and to be true believers in and advocates of our public education system. They do this by establishing and guiding our districts direction with goals, contracts, policies, procedures, and a vision/mission statement, then by overseeing the superintendent and principals to ensure the direction is consistent.
Operating Openly and Honestly
The board of directors meet the fourth Monday of the month at 7 p.m. at the district office on Washington Street in Long Beach. At the start of each meeting time is allotted for public input or suggestions, but members of the public are encouraged to attend the entire meeting. All actions are always made by taking a vote, and a majority is required to pass any initiative, resolution, decision or policy.
Agendas for each meeting are posted at every post office the Friday before, as well as on the district website: www.ocean.k12.wa.us. There, you will also find meeting minutes and agendas from previous meetings.
Your Elected Directors
Board Chairperson Kim Patten, Ph.D. Patten earned a Ph.D. in horticulture from Washington State University and is currently a professor, and the director and head researcher at the Long Beach Research Extension Unit. He believes that public education is the fabric of a healthy and sustainable community, and is committed to helping our district provide a safe learning environment and achieve high academic standards. Beginning on the school board in 1996, he has been re-elected every term since 1999. He and his wife Andrea have three children, who all attended OBSD schools.
Vice Chairperson Marilyn Sheldon A lifelong Peninsula resident, Marilyn, and her husband Brian, are proud products of Ocean Park Elementary and Ilwaco High School. Living in Nahcotta with their three children, they operate Northern Oyster Co. and Harbor View Motel. Marilyn received her bachelors degree in secondary math education with the intent of being a high school math teacher. As a board member, Marilyn firmly believes our community and district are full of people who have the best interest of children at heart and wo give of themselves every day to help students succeed.
Kris Kaino A graduate of Long Beach Elementary, Ilwaco Middle School and Ilwaco High School, Kris is a lifelong resident of the Peninsula. Today, he lives in Ilwaco and practices law out of Astoria in both Oregon and Washington. He and his wife, Jaymi, are active members and volunteers in our community. They have four children, one who graduated in 2008, and three others still enrolled in OBSD schools.
Larry Phelps Another lifelong resident of the Peninsula, Larry, his wife Lorraine and their two daughters are all graduates of Ilwaco High School. Since 1986, Larry has owned and operated Arts Auto Parts in Long Beach. An enthusiastic champion for youth and extra-curricular athletic programs, Larry is the WIAA representative for the board. He has seen our district through the eyes of a student, parent, coach, volunteer and community member and brings that wealth of knowledge and experience to the board.
Sandy Stonebreaker Sandy is a retired educator of many years and a very active member in our community. In fact, if you have attended any local event in the Peninsula in the last few years, youve probably met or at least seen her. She spends countless hours volunteering and supporting our district and its students. Of utmost importance to her as a board member is the financial well being of the school district.
If you see any of these great public servants on the street, you may want to stop them and thank them for their incredible service.