Chimacum School Board fills District 5 seat vacancy

Kathryn Lamka unanimously appointed

CHIMACUM — The Chimacum School Board has appointed a Mats Mats Bay-area woman to its District 5 seat, filling a vacancy created in July when Jack McKay tendered his resignation.

The board unanimously appointed Kathryn Lamka, 74, during a Sept. 23 meeting after interviewing Lamka and one other applicant ­— Wilma Hackman, 75, of the north Oak Bay area.

Chair Kristina Mayer said she is delighted to have Lamka join the board.

“She has been a steady AAUW volunteer with kids, [and she] has been a supporter of our farm-to-school lunch and garden program as well as our elementary robotics team,” Mayer said Tuesday in an email, calling Lamka “community minded” and “a critical thinker.

“We’re very fortunate to have her.”

The board’s first priority this year, Lamka said, should be educating students amid the challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Keeping everyone safe and healthy is paramount,” she said in an email Tuesday.

During her interview with the board, Lamka said she believes the district should work to publicize all the good things it’s doing.

“We need to get the word out and really promote all that we’re doing that’s good,” she said, adding that doing so could help to boost enrollment.

“I feel like this community needs to find an identity … sort of like they did in Port Townsend with the maritime theme,” she said.

“I don’t think everybody should be a farmer, but I do think there’s so much opportunity here to learn about food and the business skills that have to do with growing our own food.”

Lamka moved to the area from Seattle in 2004. For the past nine years, she has volunteered as a math tutor at Chimacum Elementary School.

She currently serves as secretary and treasurer for the Jefferson County Community Wellness Project and is a member of the school district’s wellness committee.

She is president of Jefferson Solar Group, Inc., served as secretary of the Jefferson Land Trust Board from 2007 to 2015 and served as president of the Olympus Beach Tracts water board from 2010 to 2017.

Lamka, who earned a master’s degree in secondary education in 1971, worked as a German teacher for about 10 years before joining IBM as a systems engineer and later becoming an independent software consultant.

Lamka has been appointed to finish out a term that runs through the end of 2021, though she may seek election to a new four-year term that November.

In her application, Lamka said she hopes to help the district regain momentum lost during the pandemic, especially as the board searches for a new superintendent and prepares to put a replacement operations levy on the Feb. 8 ballot.

Lamka’s appointment rounds out a relatively new batch of board members; Mayer, Tami Robocker and Mickey Nagey all joined the board in December.

Acting Superintendent David Engle said having a full, five-member board is critical at a time when the district has so many important decisions on its plate.

“Having only four members can be a recipe for gridlock with a board,” he said. “This is not a time for leadership paralysis.”

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Jefferson County senior reporter Nicholas Johnson can be reached by phone at 360-417-3509 or by email at [email protected].

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