CHIMACUM — Two women have applied to fill a vacancy created on the Chimacum School District’s Board of Directors in July when Jack McKay tendered his resignation.
The board’s current four members are set to interview Wilma Hackman, 75, of the north Oak Bay area and Kathryn Lamka, 74, of the Mats Mats Bay area during a special meeting at 5 p.m. Sept. 23. The deadline for applications closed on Wednesday.
By the end of that meeting, one of the two will be appointed to the District 5 seat to finish McKay’s term, which runs through the end of 2021.
In 2017, Hackman sought election to the District 5 seat along with Jared Shepherd, 35, of Port Ludlow and McKay, who defeated Hackman in that year’s general election.
Both Hackman and Lamka have experience as teachers, and both said they applied because they don’t want to see the board shorthanded as it navigates a school year amid the coronavirus pandemic, searches for a new superintendent and prepares to put a replacement operations levy on the Feb. 8 ballot.
“When I heard he (McKay) was leaving before the end of his term, I just thought it was a very a bad time for the board to be shorthanded,” said Hackman, who comes from three generations of teachers and has taught students in preschool through high school.
Lamka, who worked as a high-school and junior-high teacher, has spent the past nine years volunteering as a tutor at Chimacum Elementary School.
“There’s just so much on the district’s plate right now,” she said. “I feel called to duty because it’s such a critical time for the district.”
Both women hold master’s degrees in education and are active in various community organizations.
Hackman, who moved to the area in 1989, has worked with the North Olympic Salmon Coalition, the Port Townsend Marine Science Center and the Ecumenical Christian Helping Hands Organization, among others.
Lamka, who moved to the area in 2004, serves as secretary and treasurer for the Jefferson County Community Wellness Project and is on the district’s wellness committee. She’s also president of Jefferson Solar Group and served as secretary of the Jefferson Land Trust Board of Directors from 2007 to 2015.
Lamka, a former systems engineer at IBM, said she still has “lots of energy.”
“I love the momentum we have right now in the district,” she said, “and I’d like to do whatever I can to keep that going.”
Hackman said she, too, is ready to step up wherever she’s needed, though she acknowledged that she’s not the most technologically savvy person, which poses a challenge in a time when all meetings are held online.
“There is a need, and I’m willing to do the job,” she said, “but if there’s someone else who is better qualified and better able to commit long-term, it wouldn’t break my heart to let someone else take the job. I just want the position to be filled by someone who cares.”
The District 5 seat represents residents of Marrowstone Island as well as areas east of Oak Bay Road from Port Hadlock to Mats Mats Bay south to a portion of Port Ludlow.
The school board also is set to conduct a special meeting from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday with the Port Townsend School Board to interview three potential consultants to lead their joint superintendent search.
“For Chimacum, we can’t miss the mark on this one,” board chair Kristina Mayer told her fellow board members during Tuesday’s meeting.
“We’re on a positive trajectory, and we want someone who can help us accelerate that. We can’t take the low-hanging fruit; we’ve got to have the best.”
By Sept. 25, the boards are set to select and enter into a contract with either Northwest Leadership Associates of Liberty Lake, Wash., Human Capital Enterprises of Palm Springs, Calif., or McPherson & Jacobson of Omaha, Neb.
Jefferson County senior reporter Nicholas Johnson can be reached by email at [email protected]