Jim Storvick and Trudy Davis. Courtesy photos

Jim Storvick and Trudy Davis. Courtesy photos

Q&A: Federal Way Public Schools Board of Directors District 4 candidates

Incumbent Trudy Davis is facing Jim Storvick.

The Federal Way Mirror asked the Federal Way Public Schools Board of Directors candidates a few questions about their priorities and plans if elected. Read their responses below.

The Mirror’s 2021 candidate debate is from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13 at the Twin Lakes Golf & Country Club. The event will be in-person and live streamed. Masks required.

Federal Way Public Schools School Board Director District 4 candidates:

Trudy Davis (incumbent)

Brief description: I’m a 25-year resident of Federal Way and have been an active volunteer in the FWPS District, a daycare teacher, licensed foster care provider, worked as a special needs support family support specialist, served as a diversity workshop facilitator, PTSA President, and an adoptive parent to current students in the FWPS District. Affectionately known as Ms. Trudy or Ms. Trudy on Duty! I previously served in the US Army, and had careers in banking, mortgage lending, and real estate. I am proud to say I studied at an HBCU, Howard University in Washington DC, and a Pharmacy Technician graduate of PIMA Medical Institute in Renton, WA. I was appointed to the FWPS Board in October 2018, elected in Nov 2019, and currently serving as Director of District #4, Board Vice President for the past 3 years, WIAA representative, and a member of the WSSDA nominating committee.

Top three priorities, if elected: First of all, I do not come to the table with a single agenda. My focus is seeing our students become successful after receiving the absolute best education available. Over the past 6 years, I have witnessed the district seeking out the best curriculum and other opportunities for our scholars. I will continue to advocate for equity, inclusion, expanded opportunities in AP, IB, CTE, ROTC, Cambridge, the Arts, Athletics, STEM and every avenue that that will allow students pathways to success. I pushed for added CTE programs for our students and my patience paid off. . The FWPS District has a new pre-apprenticeship program offering at FWHS! I have mentioned to our 30th district representatives, the superintendent, and city council candidates, the city of Federal Way and the FWPS District that there is a need for Mayor and District summer job/internship program for our youth. The city of Federal Way has produced some great leaders; why not create a real program/effort to produce more that stay and mentor more. When our students walk across the stage at HS graduation they can be assured that they have many options before them due to their preparedness.

Why are you seeking a position on the Federal Way Public Schools Board of Directors?

I believe in the district’s mission and strategic plan. I have seen the improvements of the FWPS over the past 6 plus years just as a parent. I believe that our youth are the basis of the strategic plan. When you consider the student first, plan with their needs foremost, mold everything else around that, the outcome is what the FWPS district has created as their strategic plan. Add thoughtful and robust curriculum based on what will make our young people able to compete for jobs in today’s ever evolving workforce. . I will continue to hold the FWPS district to the task of student first focus, seeking out the best curriculum, fair learning experiences in arts and sciences, policy driven, transparency to their families and stakeholders, continued leadership in their position in the fight for equity and inclusion. FWPS Board of Directors has held the Board of Distinction for the past 5 years consecutively because of the way we govern and our relationship with the FWPS District and the superintendent. There is always room for change, but respectfully we will always make it work.

What do you see as the most pressing issue impacting Federal Way students and families, and what do you intend to do about it?

When I think of the last 17 months of navigating Covid like so many of us, I am in awe of our families. FWPS Districted provided access to meals, laptops, and hot spots, and continue to supply students with no cost meals daily, and basic school supplies. I believe the most pressing issue affecting families is supporting them in the area of access to mental health support and resources. Advocating through legislative priorities to make access to mental health resources is also a priority.

The Federal Way Public Schools district operates a budget upwards of $363 million. What areas do you believe are unacceptable to face budget cuts and why?

FWPS Budget supports the goals of the strategic plan. These goals are linked to the board’s priorities which are established in our 3 ends. There is also an executive limitation (EL3) that outlines the requirements of the budget. When considering the district’s $363 million budget and what would be unacceptable, our consistant practice is trying our very best to keep cuts away from the classroom. In the event that cuts need to go deeper, decisions would be made strategically and aligned with our goals. Reductions are never easy, but will always put the needs of our scholars first.

Do you agree with the state and OSPI’s guidance for schools in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic? Why or why not?

Covid-19 question: Yes, I agree with the guidance from OSPI and the state. This guidance aligns with the department of health guidance. Health and safety must be a priority when bring our students and staff back. What we know is layered mitigation strategies work, such as masking, distancing, ventilation, and cleaning and disinfecting, work to reduce transmission, and the willingness of the students to follow the guidelines.

Jim Storvick

Brief description: I grew up in Federal Way. My wife and I have raised our children here and watched them move through our schools and on to college. Both of us have been actively engaged in the community for many years in a number of community building organizations as volunteers and have also each served on multiple community focused boards. I previously served on our School Board in the late 1990’s and through 2001, leaving after at the conclusion of my term as Board President. I have continued to serve on other community boards, such as Advancing Leadership and FWPS Business Advisory, while also volunteering throughout the following years in our schools. My spouse is a FWPS HS Teacher.

Top three priorities, if elected: 1. Working with the Board toward a far more open level of guidance from an independent Board for the Superintendent. This includes: transparency in decision making, purposeful community engagement for understanding, clarity of communication from the District to Community related to outcomes using objective measurements of value. 2. Board level engagement focused on the retention of quality classroom leaders with organizational predictability at the District level. 3. Board level support for increased site based decision making (building leaders).

Why are you seeking a position on the Federal Way Public Schools Board of Directors?

The “why” is embedded within a Letter to the Editor from the spring. After decades of community service and engagement, including a term on the FWSB, I am familiar with how an independent Board behaves. As our elected representatives, the current Board hasn’t appeared to operate as independent drivers of priorities to the Superintendent. Rather, it appears they have been in “endorsement” mode of the wishes of the Superintendent rather than operating from a leadership perspective. I think the Board can do better in their role as our elected representatives in several key areas.

What do you see as the most pressing issue impacting Federal Way students and families, and what do you intend to do about it?

There are many issues that meaningfully impact FW students and families that are inextricably entwined. My view is that it would be negligent at the Board level to not approach the top handful of interrelated issues in a comprehensive manner when seeking solutions that might result in sustained improvement across the District. These issues include, but are not limited to: Learning loss, remote learning, educational equity, support for teachers and support for families.

These are closely linked. Potential creative solutions would be most likely best identified on a broad Community level through active engagement and empowerment of building leaders (this in contrast to “top down” edicts, initiatives and programmatic directives from District Administration without broad stakeholder engagement).

I elected, as a Board member my intent would be to support a dramatically wider distribution of information gathering, expanded site based decision making for what works best within each area … empower the individuals “on the street” with our students and directly engaged with the community one-on-one to inform what would certainly be a wide range of potential next steps – supporting innovation around the passion that educators inherently bring to their roles.

The Federal Way Public Schools district operates a budget upwards of $363 million. What areas do you believe are unacceptable to face budget cuts and why?

Areas closest to students – essentially anything that is student facing/impacting with direct & indirect support functions: Classroom teachers, para-educators, technology, librarians, school nurses, psychologists, counselors, food services, custodial teams, maintenance and transportation.

Why? These are areas that have both immediate and long term impacts on students in our community. Backroom admin and support across a wide range at the District that do not directly day-in/day-out touch students are necessary in “normal” times but may need review & consideration of staffing levels during times of diminishing resources.

Do you agree with the state and OSPI’s guidance for schools in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic? Why or why not?

These have been a difficult couple of years that have found all of us navigating through territory few, if any, had previously even imagined.

Do I agree 100% with everything … no, but I also recognize we’re all doing the best we can based on information available to mitigate risk while providing in-person learning this year – and I don’t have a better alternative to offer so, on the whole, I agree with the need for the guidance to be uniform to be as effective as it may be across the state.

Everyone knew that it wasn’t going to be easy. It isn’t. Last year was a hot mess and the guidance appears to acknowledge that mess while attempting to improve delivery in a still unforgiving environment (pandemic). It is unfortunate that some of the recent guidance has been laughably impractical to implement (for example, Middle School & HS classroom sizes and student counts make 3’ distancing clearly impossible). It seems the impracticality of some of it contributes a rationale for some across the state to dismissing all of it.

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