BarrieHull retires from the Blaine school board

Published on Thu, Aug 17, 2006 by ack Kintner

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Barrie Hull retires from the Blaine school board

By Jack Kintner

“Son, you’re going to be two things,” thundered Roy Hull at his 15-year-old son Barrie when the family moved to Blaine during WW II, “a strong union man and a strong Democrat. And a gentleman!”

Retiring Blaine school board member Barrie Hull spent all but four of the intervening 58 years in organized labor, as a police officer in Blaine and Ferndale but mostly as an identification specialist for the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office. The other four years he spent in the Marine Corps.

“We’ve got some things on our plate at the school board,” he said, “like the new school and other expansion plans to look at, so once we went through the transition of hiring [superintendent] Ron Spanjer I decided that this would be a good time to give the next person a chance.”
Hull, 73, is resigning after serving nearly seven years for health reasons, “and because there’s a lot I want to do, and if you really take the school board work seriously it will take 30 to 50 hours of your time each month,” he said, “and you should.”

Colleagues say that he set a standard for board membership. “It’s a loss to the district not to have his guidance and leadership on the board as he brought a great deal of knowledge, history and deep caring to that role,” said Dr. Mary Lynne Derrington, the second of three superintendents Hull worked with. “As a 1953 Blaine high school grad he has a great perspective both on how to educate kids in this community and how to serve the public as well,” she said.

Mike Dodd, who has 29 years on the board, said that he’s sorry Hull’s gone. “He’s very outspoken,” Dodd agreed, “and that’s good. You need that on the board. His union experience gave him experience in negotiation and arbitration, and a good handle on dealing with grievances and budgeting. He did his homework.”

“I don’t believe in the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) test,” he said, referring to the standardized achievement tests that must be passed in order to advance or graduate. “I also don’t believe in the federal No Child Left Behind program. It’s a set-up for struggling school systems to fail, which is what the people behind it really want to happen so they can go to a voucher system.”

Hull said he’s committed to public education that’s available to everyone, not systems that are deliberately weakened by unfunded state and federal requirements so they can ultimately be abandoned. “That leaves everyone behind,” Hull said, “which is what some of these people want.”

Hull was appointed to fill out Jim Jorgensen’s unexpired first term in November of 1999. He participated in hiring both Derrington in 2002 and her replacement, Ron Spanjer, this past spring as well as overseeing a $19.5 million expansion to the physical plant.

“If I were to stick around I’d push hard for more vocational ed programs,” Hull said, “pre-apprenticeships and things like that. We could work that through the Bellingham Technical College, because there’s sure a need.”

Spanjer said that once the board formally accepts Hull’s resignation at its August 28 meeting then information will be available for people living in school board district one, south of H Street and east of Highway 543.

“We’ll offer a brief orientation for people who are interested to help them prepare for the interview and screening process,” Spanjer said. The remaining four members, Todd Berge, Mike Dodd, Red Goodwin and chair Pebble Griffin, will interview qualified candidates and appoint a replacement at their September 25 meeting to fill out Hull’s unexpired term that ends in November 2007. For more information call the district office at 332-5881.