Calling all School Board wannabes


The Mirror

If you want to apply for the Federal Way School Board, here is your chance.

Applications for the vacancy made by Bob Millen’s resignation in March are available beginning today from the school district’s main office. The deadline to apply is noon on May 10.

At least two people have expressed interest to The Mirror in applying: Jonathan Gardner and Don Putman, a former board member.

Gardner started Citizens for Student Learning, a private group that is interested in the school district and education issues. He is a friend of board member Evelyn Castellar.

Castellar has said she won’t recuse herself from the appointment process. She noted she knew many of the applicants from the last vacancy that was created almost a year ago by another resignation.

Critics of Castellar have been sending e-mails to The Mirror and others in the community, claiming Gardner works or once worked for Castellar, a claim Gardner and Castellar deny.

Putman was a board member until he lost to Millen in the 2003 election. Both were on the board before that, but boundary changes put them in the same district and in opposite corners at election time.

According to Federal Way Public Schools officials, once the application period is over, the board will review the applications and narrow the list to about five, assuming there are at least that many applicants. A public meeting to interview the candidates is slated for May 24 at the district’s main office. In past appointments, the board has selected its newest member the night of such meetings.

The next appointee is expected to be sworn in at the June 13 meeting.

Applicants must live within the district and within the geographical area that Millen has represented. The area is roughly bounded by the district’s southern and western boundaries, Interstate 5 to the east and north along South 340th Street, South 336th Street, Southwest Campus Drive, 10th Avenue South, Sixth Avenue Southwest, South 320th Street, First Avenue South and up to South 312th Street. A more detailed explanation of the boundaries and a map are on the district’s Web site at A link to the site is available via The Mirror’s on-line edition (

Application packets may be obtained by contacting Chris Popich, the board secretary, at or 945-2003, or in person at the district offices at 31405 16th Ave. S.

Millen, who originally was appointed to the board before being elected, is the second member to resign in the past two years. Earl VanDorien Jr. stepped down in April 2005 and was replaced by Tom Madden, who was then elected last fall.

Millen cited controversy among the board and its excessive “time and energy on non-educational-related issues” as reasons for his resignation.

For VanDorien, family-related factors were the overriding motivation for resigning, he said last year.

Staff writer Mike Halliday: 925-5565,

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