News

FW School Board primary candidates in their own words

Contact the Federal Way Mirror: editor@federalwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565. - Mirror file image
Contact the Federal Way Mirror: editor@federalwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.
— image credit: Mirror file image

Three candidates are competing for Federal Way School Board position 4, which is being vacated by current board member Angela Griffin.

The Mirror sent two questions each to candidates Carol Gregory, Medgar Wells and Kenneth Lance Barton. Below are their answers. Barton has not responded.

The candidates were invited to participate in a forum at 6 p.m. July 31 at Twin Lakes Golf and Country Club. Gregory is unable to attend; Wells and Barton both RSVP’d.

Carol Gregory

Q: If elected, what will be the first thing you try to fix in the Federal Way Public Schools?

A: Let me say first that I am very proud of the work of the Federal Way Public Schools. I think we have outstanding school personnel that have a commitment to ensure that all children succeed. My question is, how do we increase our support of that work through the policies adopted and the guidance given to the superintendent by the school board? The two areas I would want to focus on as a new school board member are:

• To ensure that we are wisely spending our resources and providing quality supports to students and teachers to ensure that all students can achieve their potential. We need to continue to focus on lowering the achievement and opportunity gaps for all children.

• To ensure that the community is heard and their interests are being represented at the school board level. As a school board member I would commit to being in the community listening to concerns and successes. I want to also invite representatives of the community to participate in school board meetings. Televised meetings are a good way to communicate with the public, but they only communicate one way. I want to see more two-way communication at the school board level.

Q: Why should voters elect you to the school board? What sets you apart from the other candidates?

A: I am the only person in the race who has had an extensive and solid career in public education. I have been a successful teacher and administrator. I have also worked on education policy at the state and national levels and have been a union leader. As an administrator in the Highline School District, I focused on community engagement. This allowed me the opportunity to work with very diverse communities as we see in Federal Way. I am a good listener, collaborator and decision maker. I understand the complexity of today’s school systems and the issues they face. My background affords me the skills and knowledge to be an effective member of the Federal Way School Board and I would be honored to represent you in that capacity.

Education: Bachelor of Education, University of Washington, post graduate work at several universities

Occupation: Director, Burst for Prosperity, an initiative of Children’s Home Society

Campaign money: Raised $3,871.28; spent $700.50 (source: www.pdc.wa.gov)

Contact: gilgregory@comcast.net

Website: www.facebook.com/CarolGregoryForFederalWaySchoolBoardPosition4

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Medgar Wells

Q: If elected, what will be the first thing you try to fix in Federal Way Public Schools?

A: Keeping our children safe and providing all our children, not just a few, with a quality education will be my top two priorities as school board director. It’s unfortunate that some children in our district are continually being underserved as evidenced by our low graduation rates.

By being on the school board, I hope to stop this injustice because our non-graduates directly impact the health of our community. I believe Federal Way’s strength is its rich diversity. We must make it a priority to figure out how to better serve the academic needs of our diverse population of English language learners and students who have been traditionally underserved.

Prioritizing the maintenance of our school buildings would also be on my to-do list. In my mind, it is unacceptable for our classrooms to have worn out carpets and buildings that are in obvious need of maintenance repairs.

The Federal Way School District must play a leading role in early learning. I believe we have a moral obligation to invest in early learning. By investing in early childhood education, the district will inevitably improve student achievement and graduation rates in the years to come.

Lastly, I will address the common sense issue of providing more technology in our classrooms. Our children should be leading the way in the field of technology so they can compete in this global market. This is especially true being that the Northwest is the birthplace of technology and the headquarters of internationally known companies.

Q: Why should voters elect you to the school board? What sets you apart from the other candidates?

A: Voters should elect me because I have worked with diverse communities my entire career as an educator. I have served in public schools as a principal, assistant principal, elementary and middle school teacher and maintenance worker. These leadership roles and employment experiences have equipped me with a unique and integral perspective of how school districts function.

What sets me apart from the other candidates is the fact that because of my recent experience as a school administrator, I bring relevant and practical knowledge in addressing the issues facing our schools today. In addition, as a doctoral student, I am abreast of the research, obstacles and pitfalls facing our educational system. This along with my proven record of improving academic achievement as an administrator distinguishes me from my opponents.

My passion to see all students maximize their God-given potential is at the crux of why I am running for the school board. Serving others is a mantle handed down to me by my father and mother who were actively involved in the civil rights moment alongside Medgar Evers. This passion to serve is why I volunteer by teaching life skills class to youth inmates at King County correctional facilities. I also teach an employment skills class to the Federal Way community at my local church.

I believe strongly that the children of Federal Way are our future and indeed our community’s most valuable asset. Our students deserve the best therefore please join with me in making our district better. Thank you.

Education: B.S. (Alcorn State University); M.Ed. (City University); Doctoral student in Educational Leadership (Seattle University)

Occupation: Principal of Overcomer Academy; Career Direct Consultant.

Campaign money: According to the PDC, no expenditure information has been filed.

Contact: medgarwells@live.com

Website: www.wellsforschoolboard.com

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Kenneth Lance Barton

Education: BS, Management Information Systems; MBA, University of New Haven; Master’s Certificate — Advanced Project Management

Occupation: Project Manager, The Boeing Company, Commercial Airplane Services

Campaign money: According to the PDC website, no expenditure or contribution information has been filed.

Statement in voters pamphlet: I am a husband, father, and grandfather; a former Marine, disabled veteran, and cancer survivor; a once-ASE-certified Automotive Technician, a currently-PMI-certified Project Management Professional, and a life-long learner who is presently earning a Ph.D in Information Assurance and Security. I volunteer with the Washington Department of Wildlife, the Boeing Employees Veterans Association, and I serve on the Board of Directors of a 501c(4). In my first job I was a cowboy in eastern Washington, and I once was in charge of the Weapons Control Systems for the F117 stealth fighter, but my favorite job ever is raising my 12-year-old eighth-grader to be a mighty man of God. I have worked half-way around the world and back, and it is good to be home. My family and I attend Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Des Moines. I submit to you a leader who knows the true meaning of grace, and I would be honored to have your vote.

Contact: k.lance.barton@gmail.com

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