CHIMACUM — Six candidates seeking three positions on the Chimacum School Board presented their views on collaboration, education and on possibly merging with Port Townsend School District during a forum.
The final candidate forum for the Nov. 5 election that was presented by the Jefferson County League of Women Voters and the Port Townsend branch of the American Association of University Women’s was conducted Monday evening at the Tri-Area Community Center in Chimacum.
About 40 people attended.
The District 2 candidate are vying for the seat that was held by LuAnn Rogers for a two-year unexpired term. Rogers moved out of the district.
Mike Aman, 50, works at Carl’s Building Supply and has taught children’s ministry for 20 years.
Candidate Mickey Nagy, 39, is a project lead at Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Keyport and has four children in the Chimacum School District.
Both candidates are alums of Chimacum.
Nagy hopes to advocate for more student involvement in band, music and sports programs in the district.
“Sports, band and music are important for our youth,” Nagy said in his opening statement. “I think it should be mandatory that our students participate in one of those three.”
Aman hopes to bring the board back to “where it should be” to convince more people to become invested in the district long term.
“It’s going to take a bit of work,” Aman said in his opening statement. “It’s going to take to take a bit of effort.”
When asked about his vision on the educational process, Aman wants to encourage team work
“We’ve got a pretty good crew out there,” Aman said. “Things could just be tightened up a bit more … getting together and really being part of the same team.”
Nagy wants to encourage collaboration between the districts in the county and increase trade skill learning.
“We need [the students] to graduate ready to enter the workforce or go to college,” Nagy said. “Problem is we’re leaving a lot of kids behind. We need to focus on the trades.
“We can’t do it all, but we should work with the other districts.”
District 3 candidates hope to replace board chair Mike Gould, who chose not to run for reelection and will be a four-year term.
Both Steve Martin, 47, and Kristina Mayer, 66, were asked about the idea of merging with Port Townsend School District.
Both said they want to preserve Chimacum’s identity, but have not decided either way.
“If we put students first, we have to look at how to give them the broadest opportunities possible,” Mayer said.
“The schools in Jefferson County are like a string of pearls and Chimacum needs to find our shimmer.”
Martin believes there are opportunities to collaborate without a full merger.
“I’m on the fence on [a merger],” Martin said. “We’re two different communities … they’re dissimilar.
“I want to make sure our kids go to a school that represents their values.”
Martin is the owner of Northwest Landworks Inc., and has two sons in the Chimacum School District.
Mayer is the owner of KLMayer Consulting.
Both candidates want to see more collaboration.
“We have a bunch of talented employees at the school,” Martin said. “As a parent of kids I know the principals and the teachers and the administrators of our district and it’s through that familiarity that if I wonder about a policy I know who to ask.
“Some people, it makes them a little crazy about how much a school board can discuss things at meeting. … I think it’s important to discuss the issues and discuss the policies.”
Mayer wants to encourage the board to work together better and have clear direction from its leadership.
“The board needs to form a team,” Mayer said. “I’ve noticed we have loosely formed couples.”
“When I see someone read an agenda item and then look to the superintendent for the next move, that’s not leadership.”
The District four race is the only one with candidate already sitting on the board.
Michael Raymond, 64, is a retired Chimacum teacher who was appointed to the board in January and now hopes to continue for a full four-year term.
Tami Robocker, 49, is the proprietor of Tootsies Nail Spa and hopes to replace Raymond.
Both candidates want the teachers to be able to collaborate with each other to improve the district.
“The more collaboration we have,” Robocker said, “the further ahead we’ll be.”
“I’m all for collaboration and to give our teachers the time to talk with other teachers.”
Raymond shared his experience when he first started teaching at Chimacum.
“I know if I had any questions that needed to be answered, I would have the opportunity,” Raymond said. “The people that are here are the best to discuss and to share ideas.”
Extracurricular activities were a common topic throughout all three discussions, but Raymond and Robocker were asked specifically about being the only district without a rubber running track.
Raymond believes the opportunities are important, but large expenses like a track and lights are subject to the priorities set by the budget.
“If they become a high enough priority,” Raymond said, “I am willing to offer those kind of things.”
Robocker agreed on the budgetary issues, but wants to put more focus on the positive parts of Chimacum, like students being able to participate in band and football.
“There are great things at Chimacum,” Robocker said. “Our kids can do it all and that’s a huge advantage. Focus on the positive performance and make it all work. All the pieces have to fit together in the end.”
Superintended Rick Thompson was happy with how the event went, but he would have liked to see more community members there.
“I thought it was good,” Thompson said Tuesday. “They spoke with passion. The organizers did a really fine job. I was impressed.”
Each candidate had a two-minute opening statement, then members of the public asked the pairs of candidates questions. Each candidate had two minutes to answer, and they wrapped up with a two-minute closing speech.
Renee Klein acted as the moderator for the forum.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5 or at [email protected].