LONG BEACH — Three members of Ocean Beach School District’s Board of Directors won’t run for re-election this year.
One-term board member Michael Robinson and two-term board member Kathy Mathews will finish out their terms until 2019 elections. Kim Patten, who has served the board for 20 years, will retire after the board’s Feb. 25 meeting.
Patten’s position will be filled by an appointee. Mathews’ and Robinson’s positions will be on this year’s election ballot.
Board members Tiffany Turner and Michelle Binion are currently serving their first board terms. Their terms expire in 2021.
The OBSD board makes decisions for the school district. The district includes over 1,000 students, about 300 employees and 11 buildings. They also approve and modify the district’s roughly $16 million budget.
The district’s next board meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 27 at the district office, 500 S. Washington Ave. The public is welcome to attend.
Patten filled Debbie Oakes’ vacant position on the OBSD board in the 90s after she resigned.
“I was frustrated, wondering who was responsible for us not doing well academically?” Patten recalled. “I learned that if you wanted to see change, you had to be involved in making the change.”
Patten is from California. He studied at University of California Davis, Washington State University and Iowa State University. He’s lived on the Peninsula since 1990 with his family. His children have attended every school in the district.
Patten is an extension professor at Washington State University. He conducts research and extension work on cranberries, shellfish, invasive species and natural resource issues.
Issues Patten hopes the board continues to work on after his tenure include work-based learning, improving facilities, early education and overall academics.
“I want to see more progress than we’ve had in the past,” Patten said. “As a board member, you try to get a sense of what the community will vote for and support; what’s best for education. All of the decisions we make are hard.”
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to contribute to this great community,” Patten said. “There is lots of opportunity for someone who wants to serve on the board.”
Mathews grew up in the school district, spending all of K-12 as an OBSD student. After graduating from Ilwaco High School, Mathews studied to become a teacher at St. Martin’s University. She also earned a master’s degree from Lesley University.
“Education is my life career,” Mathews said.
Mathews taught for the North Thurston School District for almost 30 years. After retiring in 2008, she moved to Surfside with her husband. She is co-owner of home decor store Home at the Beach, which she opened in 2012 with Karyn Zigler.
During her time as a board member, Mathews has volunteered at Ocean Park Elementary.
“I believe that every child can succeed, given the opportunity and should be able to do so in an inspiring, engaging, and safe environment,” Mathews wrote for her OBSD bio.
Mathews’ term ends Nov. 19.
“I’m very proud of Ocean Beach School District and the direction we’re going,” Mathews said. “We’ve made a lot of strides.”
Robinson, who is from Longview, taught for 30 years between Bend, Oregon, Seattle Public Schools and OBSD. His teaching roles included being a long-term substitute, special education assistant and teacher, band teacher and elementary education teacher.
He retired in 2014 from OBSD.
School safety, adding soccer at Ilwaco High School and hiring a superintendent are three of the board’s focuses that have stood out to Robinson during his tenure.
“I love this community. It is a privilege to live here,” Robinson said. “I have confidence that the new board will continue to focus on making kids the No. 1 priority.”
Robinson said he intends to continue volunteering with environmental education lessons and field trips with the Friends of Willapa National Wildlife Refuge; with Timberland Regional Library book sales; at the International Kite Festival and at the Jazz & Oysters Festival.
Robinson’s term ends Nov. 19.