Moving ahead | Editorial

The Mercer Island School Board has chosen Island parent, school and youth volunteer, Brian Emanuels, to serve the remainder of Lisa Strauch Eggers’ term on the board. The decision last Saturday shows that board was determined to move quickly to fill the position, after an initial vote on two other candidates failed to reach consensus. Time is of the essence. There is much to do.

While the buildings and facilities that serve the youth of this Island look fine from the outside, it is different inside. The buildings are aging and cannot meet the needs of a much different set of students than those of 20 years ago. It is time to update both buildings and our approach to education as the board has recognized with its careful creation of the ‘2020 Vision’ mandate.

Emanuels, as well as the other candidates who came forward, is a person long involved in schools and youth activities. As one of the early advocates for the Boys and Girls Club’s PEAK project, he is familiar with the district’s planning process and the issues important to the neighborhood around the high school.

But, as it should be, Islanders will have the final say on who will be on the Board and guide the Mercer Island School District into the future. There are three seats up for election this November. Candidates have already come forward.

Besides the Mercer Island City Council, the School Board is a place where divergent views must be expressed to ensure that the interests and issues important to all Islanders are represented. Effective board members however are the ones who can weigh single concerns with an eye on what is the true work of the board — which is supervising the superintendent. As head educator, he is the one to implement specific changes and set new approaches in motion.

The work ahead needs a unified board, one that is focused on the big picture. Working together is an example that needs to be set and seen especially as the board continues to reach out to the community through the coming planning process.

May diversity and civilized discussion reign.

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