Special to the Reporter
Mercer Island resident David Figatner has announced his candidacy for the position of school board director No. 5.
“Mercer Island has strong schools. I believe that we can make our schools even better. We are currently facing dropping enrollment and financial pressures, and it is during challenging times that we need thoughtful and analytical voices on the school board. With my experiences and collaborative approach, I believe that I can be that voice and ensure that we have the best education for our children while also supporting their emotional well-being,” said Figatner in a statement.
“The world continues to change at a rapid pace. Technology and innovation run ahead of our society, and our kids face challenges that we dreamed about only in science fiction. We must ensure that our schools provide the students with the necessary tools and technical know-how to succeed in today’s world,” he added.
With 15 years as a managing lawyer at Microsoft and Schlumberger and 10 years as a founder and software developer, Figatner is comfortable navigating legislative rules, reading budget statements, and understanding the rapid pace of technology. His philosophy is that better solutions are found through collaboration informed by analytics and data.
Figatner is the son of a fifth-grade public school teacher in Brooklyn, New York, who taught him the importance of education. He received a double degree in philosophy and computer science, before attending graduate school, where he simultaneously received a law degree and master’s in computer engineering. He believes that there is value in both STEM and the humanities, and that arts, music, and sports provide a sense of belonging and well-being for students.
He also understands that life is about taking chances and growing. Ten years ago, he left his legal career, while his wife, Julie Hsieh, left her job as a family doctor, to live abroad. They moved to Taipei to provide their children with new cultural experiences. Figatner started his own software company and helped his wife open an art gallery. Since returning to Mercer Island, he now works with startups as a software developer and encounters daily the fast-paced changes to technology.
Figatner is a dedicated parent with two children in the Mercer Island school district, a sixth-grader and a fourth-grader. His wife has been actively volunteering on several PTA boards and the Mercer Island School Foundation board, while he helps her and volunteers his time: installing art and providing tech support for the PTA Reflections Art Program, filming and editing of the Lakeridge “Lion King” musical, assisting with table setup for the Mercer Island School Foundation Breakfast of Champions, helping at check-in for Islander Middle School Pizza Night. He also coached a Mercer Island FC rec soccer team, which made it to the state semifinals.
Mercer Island parent Dorit Lessard said, “David is a dedicated parent with the background, skills, and experience to be an effective asset on the school board. I have no doubt that his collaborative approach, deep understanding of numbers and law will facilitate policies that will provide a strong and supportive learning environment for our students. His background in computer science makes him the ideal advocate for stronger technology classes at all levels of our school district. I am convinced that with David on the school board, students, parents, and teachers will feel they have a reliable partner who will listen and respect their opinions and focus on students as the priority.”