Opinion

School board election shakeup in Federal Way | Bob Roegner

The race between Liz Drake and Danny Peterson for the Federal Way School Board presented two very capable candidates. Either would be a good school board member.

But Drake’s surprising announcement that she had been appointed principal at Thomas Jefferson High School takes her out of the race and makes Peterson the only active candidate.

Drake is a lifelong educator who has served in many different capacities. She brings a deep understanding of the challenges and options available to improve our school system.

There had been some concern expressed by school district watchers that, given her experience in the district, Drake may be tempted to micromanage the administration. She said no, she understands the difference between policy that the board sets — and staff that carry it out. She also noted her respect for Superintendent Rob Neu. In her new position, she will be working for Neu.

Drake had been endorsed by Sen. Tracey Eide, City Councilwoman Linda Kochmar and the Federal Way Education Association.

In addition to taking Drake out of the school board race, the decision also likely eliminates her as a possible candidate to succeed departing Democratic State Rep. Mark Miloscia, who is running for State Auditor. Some Democrats had expressed interest in trying to recruit her to run for the legislative position. But now instead of possibly opposing school board president Tony Moore, a likely candidate for the Legislature, she will return to school district administration. Looks like everyone comes out in new favorable positions.

Danny Peterson has worked as a school teacher in the Federal Way district and is a youth pastor. He and his wife have two children that will start school soon. He has traveled to many countries and leaned about different cultures. He will relate to parents and students in a different manner than Drake would have. He has been endorsed by former superintendent of schools Tom Murphy and Mayor Skip Priest.

Drake will still be on the ballot, as it is too late to remove her name.

That means Peterson still has to win the election. If he doesn’t, and Drake wins, she would have to resign from the board. The position would then be vacant and subject to appointment by the school board. In that circumstance, the board might appoint Peterson, or it might appoint someone else from that district.

If Peterson were to lose, it could become awkward to appoint a candidate who lost to an inactive opponent. By winning, he avoids any question, and the public wins by having both Peterson and Drake serving the district.

In one of the South King Fire and Rescue positions, incumbent Mark Thompson is opposed by Timolin Abrom. Since Abrom doesn’t appear to be campaigning and did not attend the Oct. 12 candidates forum, it is difficult to draw distinctions. More next week.

 

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