Tribal member challenges incumbent for M’ville school board

MARYSVILLE – Ever since Don Hatch retired from the Marysville School Board, Ray Sheldon says the Tulalip Tribes have not been represented well.

That is why he is running against incumbent Chris Nation in the Nov. 7 general election.

“No one sees him,” Sheldon said.

Nation counters that he does keep in touch regularly with tribal members. But he also represents all of the students in the entire district. He did say he probably hasn’t been to as many activities on the reservation the past two years because he is president of the state school board of directors. Nation said he has been active in race-equity policies locally and statewide. “He needs to concentrate on his district,” Sheldon said, adding Nation has not been at tribal meetings.

He added that the district lacks leadership right now, but he wants to work with Superintendent Becky Berg to help school bonds pass in the future. He said the last bond was too big, and the district needs to make it smaller so people can afford it.

Sheldon says all everyone ever hears about is the negative, and the district needs to better communicate that positive things that are going on. As for drugs issues, Sheldon said Drug Abuse Resistance Education did work because it educated kids about the problem. He said education dropped the ball by only having it through eighth grade. Sheldon said he is a firm believer in providing vocational opportunities for students who don’t want to go to college. Nation said he also believes in programs for kids who don’t go on to higher education. He would like to partner more with the community to provide such opportunities. He said it’s tough to find teachers for those programs because they can make to much more money in the private sector.

He also said voters had sticker shock the last time a bond was voted on so that maybe the district needs to fix the issue one school at a time.

Nation added he has been on the board for eight years and have made connections with lawmakers that are paying off.

Name: Chris Nation

Experience: Marysville School District board (8 Years), State School Directors’ Association board (4 Years) – president 2015-16, National School Boards Association Policies and Resolutions Committee (2 years), Marysville Rotary Club president 2011-12. Owner, Marysville Printing Inc. (23 years), U.S. Navy – Avionics Technician 2nd Class (6 years), Courageous Conversations about Race Conference, University of Maryland (associate degree, general studies. Marysville School District 2006 Bond Oversight Committee – chairman (4 Years), General Advisory Committee Member (10 Years), Rotary Club officer (16 Years), Rotary Education Foundation Board officer (5 Years), MaryFest Inc. board member (4 years)

Since becoming a board member in 2009, I have been president and legislative representative. I currently serve on the facilities, budget and policy committees. As president of the state board I learned the values of diverse opinions, personal beliefs and provided insight on many public education issues. I have served on several OSPI committees, helping to create the new Every Child Succeeds Act under review by the U.S. Department of Education. For over five years I have traveled to Olympia and Washington, D.C., to advocate on behalf of our young scholars. I have served on committees of the National School Boards Association, most recently the Resolutions, Policies and Bylaws Committee. On what issues do you differ from your opponent? I bring leadership and a voice that holds no single agenda. I advocate and work for the best interests of all children. I have worked with the board and staff to develop multi–year strategic action plans to address district-wide curriculum needs, maintenance and replacement of school facilities (short and long term), and the replacement of buses and vehicles. We must build support programs that address the ever-growing needs of mental and behavior health counseling and partner with community resources to address the concerns of children living in poverty. We need to teach students to be more accepting of others. I believe this will help reduce harassment, intimidation and bullying. Why should people vote for you? Marysville must continue to build a system of equity and accountability that provides a rigorous continuum of educational opportunities in the core subjects of math, science and language arts. Equally important is to expand access to enrichment programs such as music, arts, and vocational programs. All children have the right to receive a quality education regardless of race, skin color, national origin, sex, disability, where they reside or social economic status. I have found ways to bring stakeholders together, listened to all voices, valued the difference of opinions and worked in a collaborative manner to develop visionary solutions toward shared best outcomes for our students. Name: Ray Sheldon, did not return the questionnaire.