Larry Jeffryes responds to questions from interim Superintendent Rob Clark in an interview to fill the vacant District 1 seat on the Sequim School District Board of Directors. (Conor Dowley/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Larry Jeffryes responds to questions from interim Superintendent Rob Clark in an interview to fill the vacant District 1 seat on the Sequim School District Board of Directors. (Conor Dowley/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Unopposed candidate to fill vacant Sequim School Board seat

Larry Jeffryes chosen after public interview with directors

SEQUIM — The Sequim School Board has selected Larry Jeffryes to fill the vacant District 1 board seat.

The selection was made Monday after interviews with Jeffryes and Tom Sutton.

Jeffryes will be sworn in at the next board meeting Oct. 7. He replaces Robin Henrikson, who resigned her seat in August.

Jeffryes is running unopposed in the November general election for that seat. Write-in candidate Jerry Mote dropped out of the election. Write-in candidates can declare candidacy up to 8 p.m. the day of the election, according to state law.

Jeffryes was selected via a unanimous roll call vote during the regular board meeting.

Henrikson had suggested in her resignation later that the unopposed candidate be appointed to the seat.

Board Vice President Brandino Gibson, Director Jim Stoffer and Director Heather Short were present in the board room, while board President Brian Kuh, who was out of town, attended via Skype during the proceedings.

The board previously announced that candidates on the ballot would not be considered to fill the vacant seat, but Gibson said Jeffryes’ selection is less of an issue because he is running unopposed.

“We wanted to avoid giving anyone an unfair advantage in the election,” Gibson said before Monday’s interviews. “With no opponent, there’s no advantage to give.”

While Gibson did not comment as to why Jeffryes was their choice, he spoke enthusiastically about wishing to help guide the district through what he called a “difficult economic time” while making decisions to protect the students’ learning experience as much as possible.

Jeffryes said he has 35 years of teaching experience in the classroom, and worked as a health and safety instructor at Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico. He serves as a volunteer on the school district’s truancy board and volunteers with the Sequim Education Foundation.

Also during the meeting, representatives of the Shiso City student exchange program were on hand to give a formal greeting to interim Superintendent Rob Clark and the school board on behalf of the 10 students currently in Sequim.

Haga Junior High School Principal Takahashi Asada, along with Toshihiro Kamai, Shiso City Board of Education member, and Elizabeth Simon, Shiso City Board of Education English coordinator, spoke to the board about how pleased they were to be present and on the importance of the program.

Simon added that the program has been a part of the ongoing success of students who have used the trip to Sequim to “cross the language barrier” as she put it, noting that one former exchange student is now an English teacher in Shiso, while another in an international pilot based in Tokyo.

Other business

• Steve McIntire reported to the board about the demolition of the former Sequim Community School and building the new district central kitchen. According to McIntire, the project cost a little less than budgeted, so the district currently has about $371,000 left in their capital projects fund to use elsewhere in the district. $100,000 of that money with currently allocated to repairs to the roof at Sequim Middle School. The board will need to determine how to prioritize using the remaining funds.

• Highly Capable Student coordinator Jodi Olson gave a presentation to the board on the program that currently serves 225 students across the district. While Olson said she is pleased with the current state of the program’s ability to help students who are capable of meeting greater educational challenges, she’s worried about the program’s resources being spread too thin — particularly with there being “no one model” of what a Highly Capable student needs in order to reach their potential.

• The board confirmed details of the criminal mass casualty incident drill to take place on Saturday, Sept. 28. Emergency responders from various agencies will be on site by 8 a.m. with the drill expected to start at 9 a.m., and lasting until 3 or 4 p.m., according to Clark. Hendrickson Road will be closed in front of the school, and the surrounding area should be considered to be on lockdown for the duration of the drill.

• The board noted that the district recently received two donations of around $3,000 — one to buy new books for the Greywolf Elementary School library, and second for new Sequim High School girls soccer team uniforms.

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Conor Dowley is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].

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