MIEA endorses school board candidates | Letter

Over the summer, teachers and support staff from the Mercer Island Education Association (MIEA), met with individuals running for the school board. We had the opportunity to learn more about these sharp, enthusiastic candidates devoted to our community and public education during those interviews and over the past few months we have continued to listen and evaluate these individuals.

Ultimately, we have decided to endorse Brian Giannini-Upton for school board Position 2 and Deborah Lurie for school board Position 4. While all the candidates offer diverse experiences and perspectives, we believe Brian and Deborah’s backgrounds and values will enhance an already-impressive school board.

Brian Giannini-Upton, a community volunteer, frequently helps in the classroom. As an active PTA leader at West Mercer Elementary the past two years, he has a track record of listening to opposing interest groups to resolve conflicts. Brian has done his homework well, attending virtually every board meeting for almost two years and he deeply understands the board’s role and the way it functions. One of Brian’s goals that touched a chord with us was his commitment to ensuring all students have equal access to the services and resources they need to turn their potential into reality.

We believe Deborah Lurie’s career of advocating for children as a public defender brings a much needed, different perspective on how to best serve our children. Deborah knows our community well, having lived on the Island most of her life, both as a student graduating from Mercer Island High School and as a parent of a child now attending school in the district. Some of her comments that resonated with us were, “all school decisions can have unintended consequences for many children, requiring a balance of the needs of a few with the broader needs of the school community,” as well as “not all students arrive at school on an equal footing and we should push for efforts to provide equal opportunities for all students.”

Please exercise your civic responsibility by mailing in your ballot by the November election deadline.

Mark Shafer

MIEA president