Letters to the Editor

School Board election

As a member of the 41st District Democrats, I wish to take issue with the letter writer who called our endorsement of School Board Candidate Dave Myerson an attempt “to confuse party lines with local educational issues.” This is a common misconception.

In every election, whether for a nonpartisan or partisan public office, a candidate is free to seek endorsement from any number of organizations, constituencies and individuals.

Nonpartisan does not mean that a party organization can not make an endorsement. It means that the candidate does not have to state a party affiliation.

As the local Democratic party group, we have an endorsement process that considers a candidate’s qualifications and positions on the issues and that is open to candidates seeking an office that impacts the 41st Legislative District. Over the years, when requested by candidates, we have endorsed in many nonpartisan local races such as for port commissioner, judgeships and Bellevue, Newcastle, Renton, Issaquah, and Mercer Island City Councils, and for the newly nonpartisan position of King County executive.

It is our responsibility as citizens to inform voters of the results of our endorsement process.

Barbara Geller

PTA and ‘tough decisions’

In reviewing the Reporter’s endorsement for the upcoming School Board election, we were stunned by the misperception and clear misrepresentation of the PTA’s role in our Mercer Island school community.

Mercer Island PTA leaders are a group of dedicated parents, with professional and business career backgrounds, who have come together to work in the best interests of all students, teachers and staff in the district. For the Reporter’s editor to state that PTA leaders make “few tough decisions” is just plain wrong. PTA representatives are involved in making “tough decisions” every day. Our PTA leaders work with teachers, building administrators, district leadership, the superintendent and the School Board to make tough decisions regarding choices for schools programs, funding options and priorities. They initiate and serve on district committees. PTA leaders provide input and make difficult recommendations regarding every facet of the school experience so that the School Board does not make any decision in a vacuum. We have a strong legislative team that works closely with our elected legislative representatives, lobbying and advocating for laws that benefit our children.

With combined PTA budgets among the five schools, Mercer Island PTAs contribute in excess of $600,000 every year to our schools. PTAs played an integral role last year in the “Bridge the Gap” campaign to ensure that our children continued to receive the highest quality education in the face of state funding cuts for schools. It should go without saying that PTAs at every level must make tough business decisions on where those resources should be spent.

The statement by the Reporter’s editor that PTA leaders make “few tough decisions” portrays an uninformed opinion as to the role that PTAs play in our Mercer Island school community. The Reporter’s observations are out of touch and out of date.

Jayme Whitman

PTA presidents present and past: Beth Picardo, Liz Butowicz, Connie Clark-Redmond, Leslie Ferrell, Jane Fredricksen, Carrie George, Elizabeth Huber, Diane Johnson, Susan Kaplan, Paige Linton, Tammy Luce, Marnie MacDiarmid, Jennifer McLellan, Terry Pottmeyer, Kathy Reitinger, Claudia Robbs, Amy Rudolph, Jenny Selby, Barb Shephard, Debbie Stein, Julie Stillman, Toby Suhm, Beverly vanHartsefelt, Joan Wold, Mary Kay Woolston, Darby Young

For Myerson

Who is really asking the tough questions concerning our schools? Who is not afraid of standing up for our students to be ready globally for the 21st century? Who is really knowledgeable about school issues and looks beyond our Island? Who has the charisma and passion to really implement and put into action the 20/20 Vision for our schools? It is Dave Myerson. I have known Dave Myerson for many years and found him to be a pro-active, well-informed, enthusiastic, impartial, fair and goal-oriented leader in our community. His experience interacting with the Mercer Island City Council and School Board is extensive. We need a well-rounded and founded new School Board member who can take on controversial issues regarding our schools and community with an impartial and clear view for a viable solution. This is Dave Myerson, who has shown in the past that he is working with everybody for better schools on Mercer Island with every single student in mind. I challenge you to check out Dave Myerson’s Web site at www.Dave4MI.com, because if you are one of the undecided silent majority, you need to know the facts.

Nicola Niemisto

For Caditz

Terri Caditz is the best choice in the upcoming election to the School Board. I have known Terri for several years and have always been impressed with her organizational skills, her ability to think through difficult issues, and to get people rallied behind a decision. She was a strong and effective PTSA president who poured her heart into the role.

Terri and her husband have raised two great young adults, so she knows firsthand the issues of finding balance with the school curriculum, recreational and social activities, and preparing children to stretch their wings to fly on their own. Now Terri wants to bring her passion for excellence to the School Board to continue improving our education system from K-12.

With her strong record of performance serving the school district, a vote for Terri is the best bet.

Suellen Taylor

For Myerson

Dave Myerson would be an outstanding addition to the Mercer Island School Board. He has been an active proponent of changing and improving the school math curriculum. As an extremely intelligent and hard-working mentor of the middle school math team, he has benefited many students with his instruction. Through his years of involvement with students, he has gained experience in the deficits and strengths of the school curriculum. His firsthand familiarity with the actual resources that students use, enables him to suggest practical, concrete solutions, not generalities and platitudes that may sound appealing but do not have actual effects on student learning. He will endorse methods of learning with proven results, not the “New Math” that our students have unfortunately had to contend with for the past decade. Dave Myerson would be a new constructive voice on our School Board.

Eva Zemplenyi

For Caditz

I urge Mercer Island voters to thoughtfully consider voting for Terri Caditz in the upcoming School Board election. Terri has been a tireless advocate for quality education for all students for many years. She has devoted herself to education in many responsible roles as a citizen, parent and volunteer leader. She is a bold actor and a good listener. She is intelligent, well-informed, hard-working and fair. She has earned the respect of parents, teachers and administrators. I believe Terri also brings an essential quality to leadership: her proven commitment to consensus-building. We don’t need a single-issue focus in the leaders of our school district. We need a broad and deep approach to all of the complex issues facing our schools. Terri Caditz brings such an approach.

Gene Robertson

_________

No doubt we are lucky to have two such fine, active citizens willing to spend countless unpaid hours pouring over budgets, plans, visions, and other important school-related issues. And no doubt MISD is a highly-functioning organization, with a Superintendent who received an A+ performance rating (after 6 Superintendents in nine years, we want to keep this one!), and an ambitious agenda for preparing our students for the 21st century. I was surprised, therefore, to read the Reporter's rationale for endorsing Myerson. They argue that "needling" the board is a better way to make change than careful listening and consensus building. While praising the district's movement and vision, they suggest that bringing someone on board who would work well with that group is somehow a disadvantage. The School Board is made up of five individuals who think differently, debate topics from multiple perspectives, challenge each other and the staff, and work tirelessly to advance a vision for all our kids. The fact that they work well together is a reflection of their bigger focus on outcomes. Terry Caditz has the experience, vision and perspective to continue to advance the strategic goals of this district.

Sue Bennett

_________

In the rhetoric surrounding the contested School Board election, there's a tendency to focus on the school community. It's easy to forget that one of the School Board's jobs is to work effectively with the larger Mercer Island community. Regardless of how strongly we feel about the importance of schools, many of our residents view school concerns in a broader context.

I believe that's why we need Dave Myerson on our School Board. Dave's breadth of activities in this community in the past 20 years have more than demonstrated his ability to work with a variety of constituencies. That will be an important asset as schools face the challenges of what can best be called "a new age."

Lorelei Herres

_________

Dave Myerson will be a valuable addition to the Mercer Island School Board and is the best candidate for the position. I have known Dave as a friend and neighbor for over a decade, and have always admired his concern for, and dedication to improving the quality of education in the district. As a parent volunteer in the schools, Dave has always performed beyond expectations, and I presume he will do the same as a member of the Mercer Island School Board.

Daniel Wright

_________

I am writing to express my support of Terri Caditz for School Director Position #2. Terri’s passion for children and education at all levels is evident in her continual PTA participation and leadership roles over the past 14 years. However, it is the quality of that leadership which makes her ideally suited to serve on our School Board. In my many years of PTA collaboration with Terri, I have found her to be a respectful and committed consensus builder. Terri has the ability to articulate the primary points of an issue, and then guide a discussion about that issue, encouraging all points of view and diligently researching any questions. She is a patient and active listener who takes care to hear every side of an issue before making a decision. She is approachable at all times and empowering of other’s passions. Terri’s many years of service in our district and our community stem from a sincere commitment to the Mercer Island School District, continuing even after her own children have graduated. Her vast experience in working with our parent community, teachers and administrators, and her knowledge of the Mercer Island educational system, will make her a wonderful asset to the School Board.

Kathy Reitinger

_________

Dave Myerson is exactly who we need on the Mercer Island School Board. We have known Dave and his family for 15 years. He is a thoughtful and extremely well-informed man. His focus is always on how to best prepare all children for the future, and he cares deeply about their success in the classroom and beyond. He has an intimate understanding of the processes involved in establishing the MISD curriculum, and has a breadth of knowledge of the science and application of educational strategies. As our children went through school together, Dave was always available to discuss educational matters, and he spent as much time in the schools and classrooms as anyone, perhaps more. Long after his son was gone from IMS, he continued to volunteer with the math club, and is perennially available to help students not only understand math, but enjoy it.

Dave cares about all students and all types of learners. His passion that all children deserve to learn and master material is clear to anyone who knows him. His experience working with the teachers, principals, administrators, parents and students in the district, along with his professional education and career as a physician and scientist, makes him highly qualified to be a School Board member.

Dave Myerson is the best choice for the Mercer Island School Board.

Susan Kleiner and Jeff Kanter

_________

At this critical time for our school district, we need a board director who listens and then acts in the best interests of our students. Terri has done this for two decades. She began as a PTA member with boundless energy. She was elected PTA president at the elementary and high school level and finally president of the Islandwide PTA council. Her outstanding leadership earned her statewide recognition from the Washington Association of School Administrators.

Terri knows how to lead and how to build a consensus. She knows the concerns of students, parents and teachers. Her steady work in our district means she is already aware of our many strengths and the challenges that are just ahead. She will continue the positive momentum that the district has built and lead us into the future. Please join me in electing Terri Caditz to the Mercer Island School Board.

John DeVleming

_________

First, I compliment you upon your in-depth article including questions for our School Board candidates. Both seem well qualified. However, because it may not be known, I would like to address the question asked about financial priorities facing the School Board.

Dave Myerson responded, “...districts around the county have done some silly things, like fire librarians, and I hope we don’t have to go there.”

Unfortunately, this has already happened in the Mercer Island School District. Islander Middle School has only had a part-time librarian the past two years, and continues that staffing. This year, Mercer Island High School has a librarian in the library only 2 1/2 days a week. This is a situation that under-utilizes library resources and reduces teaching support of the faculty in both of those schools.

Julia Reid

As a former student of Dr. Myerson’s, I believe a vote for him is the right choice in the upcoming School Board election. While I was attending Islander Middle School, Dr. Myerson took time out of his daily life to stop by for an hour a week to present the IMS Math Club with interesting math concepts, advanced problems and his ever-present enthusiasm for math, learning and education in general.

Dr. Myerson’s background as a scientist, a physician, a researcher and an educator will be instrumental as he leads the Mercer Island School District in its mission to prepare students for the challenges that the 21st century presents.

Furthermore, Dr. Myerson’s focus on every student’s education makes the choice clear: he is the best candidate for the School Board position. Dr. Myerson has proved his thorough devotion to the education of Mercer Island students, his involvement in the Islander Middle School Math Club, his work as a guest teacher at Mercer Island High School, and his role in the homework and math review committees demonstrate his desire and his passion for improving the educational experience of those served by the Mercer Island School District.

Though I am not yet old enough to vote in the upcoming election, I hope I have made it clear as to why Dr. Myerson is the best candidate for the Mercer Island School Board position.

Nathan Ma

In my support of Terri Caditz for the Mercer Island School Board, I look daily at the signage for the political races: placement and endorsements. I was surprised to see Terri’s opponent was endorsed by the 41st Democrats due to the fact School Board races are nonpartisan.

Candidates, of course, can be endorsed by individuals of varying party affiliations, but to confuse party lines with local educational issues does not serve any of our students. In my four years serving on the School Board, there was never a time that I or my other four board members questioned whether a problem or a solution was Democratic, Republican or Independent — only what was best for our students.

Terri Caditz is an excellent candidate for the Mercer Island School Board and will serve every child and all members of our community with integrity.

Leslie Ferrell

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