Hopefuls screen for open position on SKSD

The South Kitsap School District Board will choose tonight from five candidates vying a seat left vacant following the resignation of previous board member and vice president Chuck Mayhew.

Mayhew announced his decision in February but did not give a reason at the time, and he was gone from the board by the next meeting.

Current Board President Patty Henderson said Mayhew was making a career change.

Unlike the last election, in which Henderson, Jay Rosapepe and Keith Garton ran unopposed for each of their seats, this opening saw a number of applicants.

Henderson noticed the difference as well, expecting initially one or two people she knew would apply.

“We tried to really get the word out,” she said. “We talked it up with friends and colleagues. I was really pleasantly surprised, and I’m excited that so many people want to be on the school board.”

Kathy Simpson, who holds the seat for the 4th District, speculated that applying before a board of four people might be easier for candidates than throwing themselves at the will of the voters.

“From what I’ve seen in the past, appointed positions tend to get more candidates,” she said, explaining that when she lived in District 3, she ran for the seat and lost. “It is a little less intimidating to seek and appointed position rather than an elected position.”

Simpson said she will ask the candidates about their involvement in their community, their interest in public education and how they work within a team.

She’s also interested in their long-term plans on the board, even though they will have to run for re-election in 2009.

Appointed officials must run for election at the next election, and for this position it will occur when Mayhew’s term would have expired.

“My hope would be that the person appointed would also be interested in pursuing teh position in the next election,” Simpson said. “The continuity is good for the board and they gain a lot of experience in that year and half.”

Henderson said she is looking for an open-minded candidate who is ready to work.

“We don’t need someone who is all up on every issue,” she said. “You just have to be ready to learn.”

Among the five applicants is Chris Lemke, who held the District 3 position previously.

The board meets tonight at 6 p.m. and will interview candidates before breaking for an executive session to discuss who to appoint.

The meeting takes place at the SKSD Administration Center at 1962 Hoover Ave. SE.

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