News

VanDorien resigns from School Board

By MIKE HALLIDAY

The Mirror

Earl VanDorien Jr. resigned from the Federal Way School Board at Tuesday’s meeting.

Citing family concerns, VanDorien’s resignation was effective immediately.

In an interview with the Mirror, Van Dorien said the job had become consuming to the point it was taking him away too much from his family.

“People don’t realize how tough it really is,” he said.

He added that prospective board members should consider how much time the job can take before filing as a candidate.

A board member since 2001, VanDorien’s term expires at the end of this year. He said a potential re-election race this fall against an opponent did not factor into his decision to resign. No one had announced plans to run against him.

The remaining board members can solicit applications from the community and appoint a replacement who will fill out the remainder of VanDorien’s term. If that happens, the successor can then choose to run for the position.

VanDorien has been part of a controversial and at times contentious board. He initially supported charter schools when the Legislature was considering allowing the schools into the state. When the matter went to the voters, VanDorien changed his position and was at odds with his former allies.

He was also criticized at the beginning of his term for enrolling his children in private schools. They attend public schools now because of changes in family finances, he said.

His wife, Maria, works for the school district as a paraeducator specializing in Spanish.

VanDorien and board member Bob Millen were a minority voice the last few months, opposing a now-defunct attempt to have the selection of board officers rotate based on seniority. VanDorien also clashed with board members Charles Hoff and Evelyn Castellar over issues ranging from building the new middle school to Castellar’s frequent trips to Honduras.

But despite the tension on the board, VanDorien said it was his family that ultimately made him decide to step away. He said he does not plan on running for any other elected position “at this time,” but he will remain an informed voter. Just don’t expect him to be in the audience at board meetings, he said.

He did say that as long as Superintendent Tom Murphy is leading the district, Federal Way schools will be in good hands.

Asked what he was proud of having accomplished, Van Dorien said he was pleased with leading the movement to name the new high school Todd Beamer after students selected the name. He said he didn’t regret a single vote he had cast, but did wish some of his comments in more heated moments could be retracted.

Staff writer Mike Halliday: 925-5565, mhalliday@fedwaymirror.com

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