The Blaine school board voted 4-0 to appoint Pacific Building Center and True Value Hardware co-owner Kimberly Akre as its fifth member at a special meeting January 23. Akre will be sworn in at the board’s regular meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, February 27.
Akre will fill former board member Todd Nunamaker’s district 1 seat until November 7, when the seat is up for election. Nunamaker resigned from the board in October 2022 due to continued health challenges.
The board was required to appoint a representative living in the district to fill the vacant seat as it had been 90 days since Nunamaker resigned. District 1 includes Point Roberts and western parts of downtown Blaine. Board members must also be a U.S. citizen and registered voter.
The school board interviewed two candidates, Akre and Brandy Hawkins, in its special meeting on January 23. After about 35 minutes in executive session to discuss the candidates, the board unanimously appointed Akre.
“I saw it as a good opportunity to give back to the community,” Akre said January 24.
Akre said her family moved to the area in 1977. She attended Blaine schools, graduating in 1992. She and her family took over the Pacific Building Center in 1997. She owns it with her sister Stephanie Munden. Akre also has two boys who went to Blaine schools.
Hawkins is a complex claims resolution specialist for Liberty Mutual and has two children in the district. During her interview with the board, Hawkins encouraged the district to solve issues through more communication and engagement with the community. She said she has volunteered in her children’s classrooms and is vice chair of the Salishan Neighborhood Association.
Akre said as a business owner she is comfortable dealing with financial issues and could apply this to a role as an adviser on district finances and operations. “I think a lot of people don’t realize that the school is a business,” Akre said. “It has to be run as a business.”
In November 2016, Akre was elected the first woman president of Western Building Material Association, a regional trade association serving Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Akre has also served as president of the Blaine Chamber of Commerce.
Having caught her during the middle of the workday, Akre said she didn’t yet have any specific goals for her time on the board. “This has all been pretty new to me,” she said.
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