Blaine school board candidates talk priorities, inspiration

Three local citizens are vying for a seat on the Blaine School District’s board of directors. We asked each candidate to answer three brief questions to better elucidate their positions and philosophies. 

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Jesse Creydt

What inspired you to run? 

We have great teachers, students and school staff in Blaine. I care deeply about what happens in our schools and I want to help our schools provide the best education possible. I am proudly married to a Blaine graduate and have three young children who drive my desire to serve. I will be personally involved in the Blaine school district for the next 20 years.

I earned my B.A. in political science from California Lutheran University. I have served in leadership positions in both government and private sectors. Currently I am the executive director of TouchStone Behavioral Health.

Parents are working hard to support learning and can benefit from knowing how to efficiently direct their efforts to support both students and teachers. Let’s work together to effectively utilize our community and human resources to enrich classroom experiences. I value your vote and I know I can make
a difference.

What are your priorities if elected?

The strength of our communities is largely determined by the strength of our schools. School district families and community members have valuable insights gleaned from their personal experiences and need to be involved in the decision-making processes that affect their children, grandchildren and neighbors.

Setting high standards that will excite our students about school and providing them with multiple opportunities and resources to do their best and be their best. By continually identifying our communities’ educational needs we can work together to provide high quality education for all, regardless of income, address or special needs.

Working together to help children achieve high standards of excellence is vital in providing a world-class educational experience for students to be successful in a global economy.

What do you feel the district does well, and what could it be doing better?

Our schools are very fortunate to have skilled teachers who focus on classroom instruction and don’t let testing requirements become a primary focus. One challenge in preparing students for the current job market is identifying job opportunities and equipping our students with the knowledge, skills and abilities required to learn and be successful. As job markets and technology evolve and impact our daily activities in new ways providing clear direction for our students’ future may become more challenging to identify.

I will help keep the focus on teaching science, technology, engineering and math skills and facilitate healthy dialogue to include perspectives of families, community members, the private sector and business entrepreneurs. I value education and as a lifelong learner and father I know how education transforms lives.

The health of our school district impacts everyone and we need to connect educational and extracurricular opportunities. Our schools are anchors in our community that ground our values, shape our future and bring us together. Vote Jesse for Blaine school board. I value your vote and I know I can make a difference. Share your priorities with me and support my campaign jesse.ceydt@touchstonebhc.com.

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Joan Lotze

What inspired you to run?

A year ago I was asked to consider being on the school board when a vacancy occurred in my district. I applied and was appointed at that time. In the past year I have become familiar with the workings and issues in the Blaine schools and am now in a position to work more effectively in those areas. As an educator, a woman and longtime resident of Birch Bay I have a perspective that is needed on the board and would like to continue serving.

What are your priorities if elected?

In the past year both teachers and administrators have worked very hard to improve both the effectiveness of teachers and to update curriculum, materials and methods used with students. I think it is very important that this work continue and will actively support these efforts.

With passage of the school bond in February and the planning and remodel of the high school in process, it is important that progress be monitored to ensure we have the best facilities to meet our students’ educational needs continuing into the future. We are also now in a position to do long-term planning regarding future facility needs and educational priorities. In this regard, seeking land for a Birch Bay primary school is something I support.

What do you feel the district does well and what could it be doing better? 

As a small system we are able to meet individual needs in a way that is not always possible in big schools. Kids are not easily lost in the shuffle. This includes those with special needs and circumstances. Both teachers and administrators almost always deal with issues that need special attention promptly.

Technology is an area where continuing improvements are needed. Even when technology is available there needs to be training of both teachers and students so they are comfortable with its best use and can integrate it into the curriculum for daily use and testing.

Teachers and administrators have worked hard in the past year to improve the way students are engaged with what they are learning. Strategies such as turn and talk and Socratic circles have been introduced which will improve how well students learn and understand concepts and ideas being taught. This is also an area where the work started needs to continue for maximum effectiveness.

Overall, we have schools in Blaine that do an excellent job educating our children. However, one of the tasks of the school board is to see that this not only continues, but that we improve what we offer to all our students.

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Russ Schutt

What inspired you to run?

Having a voice in my children’s education is the heart of why I’m running.

What are your priorities if elected?

With the curriculum being nationalized, I would like to try and keep our community’s values, ethics and culture. To keep education from becoming about test scores and graphs, I would be a proponent of a balanced education. I would like opportunities for students to learn physical and experiential education. I feel trade-type skills, from construction to welding to the skills in the medical and refinery fields, would serve our students well who plan on working in our community after high school.

What do you feel the district does well and what could it be doing better?

I am fortunate that my children attend Blaine schools as they benefit from the close community atmosphere and their academic growth each year is impressive. My family has encountered only quality teachers and staff who are committed to my kids beyond academics. I look forward to contributing to Blaine school district.

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