Nine seek open seat on school board

A teacher, a school volunteer, a former instructor at a Japan university, a native of Nigeria, a businesswoman and a pastor are among nine people hoping to be named to the Federal Way School Board.

They appllied by Thursday’s deadline for the vacancy created in February by former board president Ann Murphy’s resignation. The remaining four board members are expected to narrow the field to five finalists next Monday and then make a final choice at a board meeting April 25.

The applicants are Michael McLeod, a teacher in the Burien School District; Sherry Kerr, active in Federal Way school volunteer activities; Valerie Scott, who once taught English to Japanese university students; Adekunle Gbenro, who moved to the U.S. from his native Nigeria; Evelyn Castellar, owner of an insurance industry business; Michael McIntosh, pastor at Grace Church; Robert Millen, a Boeing engineer; and Darcie Lees and Lisa Welch.

The appointment of one of them will be for the approximately 16 months remaining in Murphy’s four-year term. Her successor will have a choice of running for the office in the 2003 election.

McLeod teaches in the English as a Second Language department at Pacific Middle School, where he has worked for four years. A 14-year resident of Federal Way, his youngest daughter attends middle school here. His oldest daughter graduated from Decatur High School.

Kerr, who grew up and attended schools in Burien, has a ninth-grader and a fifth-grader. She said she has volunteered extensively in school programs, including emergency preparedness and PTA. She’s the bookkeeper for her husband’s landscaping business.

Scott, a native of California who moved here with her family last November, has two children not yet in school. One is 2 years old and the other is 8 months old.

Gbenro , a loan counselor at L&S Financial in Federal Way, worked for the U.S. Department of Commerce at the U.S. embassy in Nigeria. He has four children, three of them attending schools here and the fourth in college.

Castellar owns Intellipass/Insurepass, a school for pre-licensing and continuing education for insurance professionals.

Welch, the first person to apply for the board seat, is the mother of a preschooler and first-grader. Her husband is a former chief financial officer of the Federal Way school district.

Millen, who designs data acquisition systems for Boeing, has lived in Federal Way for 24 years. He’s a former PTA president at Brigadoon Elementary School. Two of his three sons have graduated from high school here and a third attends Decatur High.

McIntosh, who has written columns for the Mirror, couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday. Lees also was unavailable.

Monday’s board meeting will be an executive session, closed to the public. The April 25 meeting, when a new board member is to be announced, is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the district headquarters at 31405 18th Ave. S.

Murphy resigned unexpectedly and with little public explanation. She said she wanted to have more time for other interests.

Editor Pat Jenkins can be reached at 925-5565 and

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