School Board candidate withdraws from race - School candidates who remain will run uncontested

By Mary L. Grady

Dave Sanford withdrew last Thursday from the Mercer Island School District race for Pos. 4 on the Mercer Island School District Board of Directors. The 2002 Mercer Island High School graduate and Stanford University college student would have faced Island parent Adair Dingle, now unopposed, in the November election.

Attorney, John DeVleming, is running unopposed for Pos. 2.

Sanford, 22, cited both professional and academic reasons for his decision to withdraw.

``It has become evident that the requirements of my academic and professional obligations will inhibit my availability to take on a commitment to the School Board at this time,'' he wrote in an e-mail.

Sanford has another year of college in California before graduation. When home between semesters, he has been involved in an Island youth organization called ASK, Assets Supporting Kids.

He noted that he spoke to several community members about his decision to run and his subsequent decision to quit the race.

He was pleased by the reaction of his initial decision to join the race.

``I was grateful to receive support from people across the board,'' he said.

He still wants to run, but concluded that this is not the right time for him.

His experience as a student in Island schools inspired him to run for the position.

``First and foremost, I feel that Mercer Island schools have prepared me exceptionally well to pursue everything that has come after graduation,'' he said. ``We should strive to ensure that every student graduates as equally prepared.''

He also feels being a recent MIHS graduate and a college student would bring a new dimension to discussions about the future of the district.

``I believe that diversity of ideas and experiences on the School Board is important,'' Sanford said. ``The perspective of a recent user and beneficiary of our schools is a valuable one.''

Despite his positive experience in the school district, Sanford said there is work to be done.

``There are serious issues that we need to address as a community, both now and in the future; including meeting the needs of all students, and attracting and retaining outstanding educators, all of which are critically important to the continued success of Mercer Island schools.''

Sanford, who said that he is not interested in a political career, has not ruled out a run for the board in the future.

``I have a sincere interest in public education on Mercer Island and hope that in the future I can contribute to shaping the policies that will better serve our students.''

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