Garton elected as South Kitsap School District board president

Keith Garton has been elected as president of South Kitsap School District’s board of directors.

Garton, 56, unanimously was chosen during Wednesday’s school board meeting to fill the role Kathryn Simpson has held the last two years.

SKSD school board members traditionally have held a variety of positions, including president, vice president, as well as serving as the district’s representative for the Legislature, Washington Interscholastic Activities Association and Washington State School Directors’ Association, for two years.

“I feel confident that Keith can lead us in the manner we’re accustomed to,” said school board member Patty Henderson, who preceded Simpson as school board president and now will serve as the WIAA representative.

Garton is SKSD’s longest tenured school board member. He was appointed to the board in June 1998 and was elected the following year. Garton, whose term runs through 2015, represents District No. 2, which includes the Manchester, Colby, Long Lake and Waterman areas. Before he was hired five years ago as a math teacher at Kopachuck Middle School in the Peninsula School District, Garton worked as an engineer for 20 years.

He said his strong belief in public education spurred his decision to join the school board and later to make a career change.

“I really feel like education is the foundation of our whole democratic system,” said Garton, who begins his third stint as the board’s president. “The better education system we have, the stronger our country will be.”

Chris Lemke, who began his second stint on the school board when he was elected in 2009, was elected as the school board’s vice president. Lemke represents District No. 3, which includes Olalla, Mullenix, Long Lake and Bethel-Burley.

The school board’s newest member, Greg Wall, will be the school board’s representative for the Legislature. A Port Orchard attorney who was elected in 2011, Wall represents District No. 5, which includes Sidney, McCormick Woods, Burley and Olalla.

Simpson, who previously announced she will not seek re-election next year, will serve as the school board’s WSSDA director. She has represented District No. 4, which includes Lund, Bethel and Parkwood, since November 2005. Simpson and Lemke are the only board members up for re-election next year.

Henderson is the school board’s second longest tenured member. A retired registered nurse, she has served District No. 1, which encompasses Port Orchard, Annapolis, Old Belfair Highway and Gorst, since 2003.

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