ESD 189 Northwest Educational Service District

All candidates who provided a valid email address when they registered their campaign have been invited to participate.

If you don't see your district's candidates and would like them to answer these questions, feel free to email them the link below and cc office@artsedwashington.org. We're happy to add their responses. https://forms.gle/HPL5bJr7eKZWwXAo8

To find contact information, go to https://voter.votewa.gov/CandidateList.asp, choose your County and add the word "school" under District type.

Anacortes School District

Position One

Meredith McIlmoyle

Which of these arts did you have as a part of your own K-12 education?

Music, Media , Visual Arts

How did the arts impact your education and life after high school?

I can identify and music classes or projects as the places where I developed my creative problem solving skills that benefit me just about every day of my life. I also remember distinctly the pride and accomplishment I felt seeing my artwork hanging in the hallways or having my poetry judged in state competitions. In high school, the marching band gave me a place to be creative and develop friendships that have lasted for more than 30 years.

Research has shown that arts education increases student engagement, helps close opportunity gaps, and reduces drop out rates, yet income, race, and geography continue to be barriers to access to the arts. How do you see yourself addressing fair access in your district?

Anacortes has an amazing artist community and teachers dedicated to teaching art to students. However, our elementary art programs are sometimes almost non-existent. This is where fair access begins. In my job as Director of the Anacortes Arts Festival, we’ve worked closely with the District to bring local artists to classroom, to host theatre performances at the schools and to send students on arts-related field trips. We know it’s not enough. Our District desperately needs an elementary art specialist. If our K-5 students have a more robust arts experience, more children will be hungry for the programs offered at the Middle School and High School. Having taught art lessons to elementary students over the years, I have seen first-hand the students who thrive in those experiences. I understand that it is all about funding. I am committed to finding a way to establish an elementary art program and continue to support our middle school and high school to be able to offer classes & programs for more students.

If elected, which of these strategies would you consider to support arts education in your district?

  • Research current arts program and assess needs at district buildings
  • Develop or update a district level arts plan
  • Support arts inclusion professional development opportunities
  • Work for a budget to financially support arts instruction at all schools
  • Support professional development for classroom teachers
  • Create a local arts education task force
  • Expand district-wide data collection for tracking, support, and accountability
  • Develop or expand district support for teaching artist residencies

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Arlington School District

Position Five

Erica Knapp

Which of these arts did you have as a part of your own K-12 education?

Visual Arts, Music

How did the arts impact your education and life after high school?

I went to college at a later age and fell in love with my arts classes, going on to gain an associates in fine art and becoming an artist.

Research has shown that arts education increases student engagement, helps close opportunity gaps, and reduces drop out rates, yet income, race, and geography continue to be barriers to access to the arts. How do you see yourself addressing fair access in your district?

I will push for more art education and or art inclusion curriculum options in our district. A few years ago art options were cut out of the budget. It is a difficult choice, but especially now with students coming back in from Covid restrictions, they need art for many reasons.

If elected, which of these strategies would you consider to support arts education in your district?

  • Research current arts program and assess needs at district buildings
  • Develop or update a district level arts plan
  • Support arts inclusion professional development opportunities
  • Work for a budget to financially support arts instruction at all schools
  • Support professional development for classroom teachers
  • Create a local arts education task force
  • Expand district-wide data collection for tracking, support, and accountability
  • Develop or expand district support for teaching artist residencies

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Coupeville School District

Position Three

Sherry Phay

Which of these arts did you have as a part of your own K-12 education?

Music, Theater, Visual Arts

How did the arts impact your education and life after high school?

Greatly impacted by my years in band and ALL the artwork kept by my parents that still hang in their house to this day! Attending music events of every type has me appreciating the time and effort it takes to create a performance for the stage. I have such a deep appreciation for those school years even when I didn’t always want to practice :)

Research has shown that arts education increases student engagement, helps close opportunity gaps, and reduces drop out rates, yet income, race, and geography continue to be barriers to access to the arts. How do you see yourself addressing fair access in your district?

As we head into another school year and the beginning of three school directors terms now would be a great time to shine more light on this curriculum. We are also in the beginning stages of putting our equity policy into place so the time is now, this school year to get the ball rolling.

If elected, which of these strategies would you consider to support arts education in your district?

  • Research current arts program and assess needs at district buildings
  • Develop or update a district level arts plan
  • Work for a budget to financially support arts instruction at all schools
  • Support professional development for classroom teachers
  • Expand district-wide data collection for tracking, support, and accountability

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Edmonds School District

Position Four

Deborah Kilgore

Which of these arts did you have as a part of your own K-12 education?

Music, Visual Arts, Theater

How did the arts impact your education and life after high school?

Instilled in me a lifelong love of visual arts in particular. Also, all of my children participated in band or orchestra in school.

Research has shown that arts education increases student engagement, helps close opportunity gaps, and reduces drop out rates, yet income, race, and geography continue to be barriers to access to the arts. How do you see yourself addressing fair access in your district?

I work with the rest of the Board to ensure that arts programs have adequate resources. In particular, Edmonds School District emphasizes the importance of our music programs, and I advocate to maintain the strength of those programs. We have community partners – businesses and foundations – who we work with to provide access to music education for every student who wants it. We also are developing an increasingly strong program in visual arts, and again, I advocate for that and direct resources. I absolutely agree that participation in the arts is a wonderful way to stay engaged in school.

If elected, which of these strategies would you consider to support arts education in your district?

  • Research current arts program and assess needs at district buildings
  • Develop or update a district level arts plan
  • Support arts inclusion professional development opportunities
  • Work for a budget to financially support arts instruction at all schools
  • Support professional development for classroom teachers
  • Create a local arts education task force
  • Expand district-wide data collection for tracking, support, and accountability
  • Expand opportunities to take electives in the bell schedule.

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Everett School District

Position Two

Traci Mitchell

Which of these arts did you have as a part of your own K-12 education?

Visual Arts, Theater, Dance, Media , Music

How did the arts impact your education and life after high school?

I had the option of a dance class in junior high which I enjoyed. I took a photography class in junior high and was part of year book in high school.

Research has shown that arts education increases student engagement, helps close opportunity gaps, and reduces drop out rates, yet income, race, and geography continue to be barriers to access to the arts. How do you see yourself addressing fair access in your district?

If elected, which of these strategies would you consider to support arts education in your district?

  • Research current arts program and assess needs at district buildings
  • Develop or update a district level arts plan
  • Support arts inclusion professional development opportunities
  • Work for a budget to financially support arts instruction at all schools
  • Support professional development for classroom teachers
  • Create a local arts education task force
  • Expand district-wide data collection for tracking, support, and accountability
  • Develop or expand district support for teaching artist residencies

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Granite Falls School District

Position One

Jennifer adams

Which of these arts did you have as a part of your own K-12 education?

Music, Media , Theater, Dance

How did the arts impact your education and life after high school?

In school I appreciated the arts because I was able to be in the beautiful world I created on a canvas or what ever medium I was using. I was able to take my anxiety and hyperactivity to focus on creating Art that had impact and meaning to me. Having that foundation has allowed me to look outside of my personal bubble and to find beauty elsewhere. Arts have allowed me to express myself in ways when spoken words can?t capture the emotion and sentiment I am feeling.

Research has shown that arts education increases student engagement, helps close opportunity gaps, and reduces drop out rates, yet income, race, and geography continue to be barriers to access to the arts. How do you see yourself addressing fair access in your district?

Partnership is the bridge that will fill in the gap. We need to seek outside resources and be willing to work to bring in funds to continue arts if they are threatened to be dismantled.

If elected, which of these strategies would you consider to support arts education in your district?

  • Research current arts program and assess needs at district buildings
  • Develop or update a district level arts plan
  • Support arts inclusion professional development opportunities
  • Work for a budget to financially support arts instruction at all schools
  • Support professional development for classroom teachers
  • Create a local arts education task force
  • Expand district-wide data collection for tracking, support, and accountability
  • Develop or expand district support for teaching artist residencies

Position Three

Jeffrey Balentine

Which of these arts did you have as a part of your own K-12 education?

Music, Visual Arts

How did the arts impact your education and life after high school?

Arts have been an essential part of my life and have given me creative perspectives that opened opportunities and understanding. Through music, sketch, painting, and architecture, I have connected with people and improved my knowledge of our history and cultures. The Arts provide me with the common ground when facing complex situations. It allows me to connect with others at a deeper level and essentially “break bread.”

Research has shown that arts education increases student engagement, helps close opportunity gaps, and reduces drop out rates, yet income, race, and geography continue to be barriers to access to the arts. How do you see yourself addressing fair access in your district?

If elected, which of these strategies would you consider to support arts education in your district?

  • Research current arts program and assess needs at district buildings
  • Develop or update a district level arts plan
  • Support arts inclusion professional development opportunities
  • Work for a budget to financially support arts instruction at all schools
  • Support professional development for classroom teachers
  • Create a local arts education task force
  • Expand district-wide data collection for tracking, support, and accountability
  • Develop or expand district support for teaching artist residencies

Karley Kincaid

Which of these arts did you have as a part of your own K-12 education?

Media , Visual Arts, Music

How did the arts impact your education and life after high school?

It impacted me greatly. So much so I went on to get a bachelors degree in fine arts.

Research has shown that arts education increases student engagement, helps close opportunity gaps, and reduces drop out rates, yet income, race, and geography continue to be barriers to access to the arts. How do you see yourself addressing fair access in your district?

At school, income and geography should not be an issue, everyone should receive equal opportunities to access the arts. Race and diversity is amazing in the arts and students should be taught to embrace art across all cultures.

If elected, which of these strategies would you consider to support arts education in your district?

  • Research current arts program and assess needs at district buildings
  • Develop or update a district level arts plan
  • Support arts inclusion professional development opportunities
  • Work for a budget to financially support arts instruction at all schools
  • Support professional development for classroom teachers
  • Create a local arts education task force
  • Expand district-wide data collection for tracking, support, and accountability
  • Develop or expand district support for teaching artist residencies

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Lake Stevens School District

Position Four

Nina Kim Hanson, PhD

Which of these arts did you have as a part of your own K-12 education?

Music, Dance

How did the arts impact your education and life after high school?

The arts impacted me in such positive ways - confidence building, creativity, brain development, and connection with people from diverse backgrounds.

Research has shown that arts education increases student engagement, helps close opportunity gaps, and reduces drop out rates, yet income, race, and geography continue to be barriers to access to the arts. How do you see yourself addressing fair access in your district?

I think that fair and equitable access is absolutely necessary to ensure that all students are well prepared in their academics especially with regard to arts education. Currently we have art docent programs that need to be made more robust. We need to address fair access by having a better way of assessing where each of our school’s are and re appropriating the funds to accurately reflect the value of the arts for ALL students, not just the socioeconomically privileged ones.

If elected, which of these strategies would you consider to support arts education in your district?

  • Research current arts program and assess needs at district buildings
  • Develop or update a district level arts plan
  • Support arts inclusion professional development opportunities
  • Work for a budget to financially support arts instruction at all schools
  • Support professional development for classroom teachers
  • Create a local arts education task force
  • Expand district-wide data collection for tracking, support, and accountability
  • Develop or expand district support for teaching artist residencies

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Monroe School District

Position Four

Janine Burkhardt

Which of these arts did you have as a part of your own K-12 education?

Visual Arts, Music

How did the arts impact your education and life after high school?

Enjoyed art more later

Research has shown that arts education increases student engagement, helps close opportunity gaps, and reduces drop out rates, yet income, race, and geography continue to be barriers to access to the arts. How do you see yourself addressing fair access in your district?

Happy to encourage all students to be able to participate in arts no matter where they come from!

If elected, which of these strategies would you consider to support arts education in your district?

  • Research current arts program and assess needs at district buildings
  • Support arts inclusion professional development opportunities
  • Expand district-wide data collection for tracking, support, and accountability

Sarah Johnson

Which of these arts did you have as a part of your own K-12 education?

Dance, Music, Visual Arts, Theater

How did the arts impact your education and life after high school?

Immensely! I come from a family of artists and musicians. I was certainly one of the arts kids throughout school. My BA is from Evergreen with emphases of student in fine arts, philosophy, and cultural studies. After college, I managed a retail art and framing store for a number of years. I continue to take art and craft classes and workshops as I am able and plan to do so for life.

Research has shown that arts education increases student engagement, helps close opportunity gaps, and reduces drop out rates, yet income, race, and geography continue to be barriers to access to the arts. How do you see yourself addressing fair access in your district?

The arts have been central in my ability to enjoy life, express myself and connect with others, and engage in successful academic and professional careers. I know the positive impact access to the arts can have and want these opportunities for my own children and our community. COVID provided opportunities for us to participate in the arts in new, more inclusive ways and we can build on this progress to make the arts more available to everyone. Removing cost barriers through fundraising and community partnerships, expanding on virtual and inclusive access developed during COVID, and enhancing language/translation/interpretation services and diversity are a few ways I believe we can improve. The arts are for and about everyone!

If elected, which of these strategies would you consider to support arts education in your district?

  • Research current arts program and assess needs at district buildings
  • Develop or update a district level arts plan
  • Support arts inclusion professional development opportunities
  • Work for a budget to financially support arts instruction at all schools
  • Support professional development for classroom teachers
  • Create a local arts education task force
  • Expand district-wide data collection for tracking, support, and accountability
  • Develop or expand district support for teaching artist residencies
  • Develop arts and culture opportunities to ensure all people in our learning community are celebrated and seen.

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Mount Vernon School District

Position Four

Wendy Ragusa

Which of these arts did you have as a part of your own K-12 education?

Visual Arts, Media , Theater, Music

How did the arts impact your education and life after high school?

Life time enjoyment. I manage the art collection at Skagit Regional Health.

Research has shown that arts education increases student engagement, helps close opportunity gaps, and reduces drop out rates, yet income, race, and geography continue to be barriers to access to the arts. How do you see yourself addressing fair access in your district?

My voice in board meetings to ask questions.

If elected, which of these strategies would you consider to support arts education in your district?

  • Research current arts program and assess needs at district buildings
  • Develop or update a district level arts plan
  • Support arts inclusion professional development opportunities
  • Work for a budget to financially support arts instruction at all schools
  • Support professional development for classroom teachers

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Mukilteo School District

Position Two

Peter Swardstrom

Which of these arts did you have as a part of your own K-12 education?

Media , Visual Arts, Music, Dance, Theater

How did the arts impact your education and life after high school?

I believe in additional music and arts curriculum, which are shown to improve cognitive performance and relieve stress.

Research has shown that arts education increases student engagement, helps close opportunity gaps, and reduces drop out rates, yet income, race, and geography continue to be barriers to access to the arts. How do you see yourself addressing fair access in your district?

If elected, which of these strategies would you consider to support arts education in your district?

  • Research current arts program and assess needs at district buildings
  • Develop or update a district level arts plan
  • Support arts inclusion professional development opportunities
  • Work for a budget to financially support arts instruction at all schools
  • Support professional development for classroom teachers
  • Create a local arts education task force
  • Expand district-wide data collection for tracking, support, and accountability
  • Develop or expand district support for teaching artist residencies

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Snohomish School District

Position One

Christina Ridges

Which of these arts did you have as a part of your own K-12 education?

Theater, Media , Music

How did the arts impact your education and life after high school?

I have always enjoyed graphic arts starting with the yearbook

Research has shown that arts education increases student engagement, helps close opportunity gaps, and reduces drop out rates, yet income, race, and geography continue to be barriers to access to the arts. How do you see yourself addressing fair access in your district?

I would familiarize myself with the current access and look for ways to improve

If elected, which of these strategies would you consider to support arts education in your district?

  • Research current arts program and assess needs at district buildings
  • Support arts inclusion professional development opportunities
  • Work for a budget to financially support arts instruction at all schools

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South Whidbey School District

Position Five

Ann M Johnson

Which of these arts did you have as a part of your own K-12 education?

Music, Media

How did the arts impact your education and life after high school?

The arts have impacted me greatly in my adult life. I have used and participated in creative endeavors in my work as a classroom teacher, a leadership educator, facilitator, and my connection to the performing arts specifically have led me to my current career as an arts administrator.

Research has shown that arts education increases student engagement, helps close opportunity gaps, and reduces drop out rates, yet income, race, and geography continue to be barriers to access to the arts. How do you see yourself addressing fair access in your district?

As a board member who drives policy, hires the superintendent, and listens carefully and intentionally to student voice, the board has the power to set the stage for keeping arts and making at the forefront of discussion of whole student learning. On our district, an arts rich part of our Island, we are so lucky as to be able to collaborate deeply and widely with our local artists and makers in authentic ways. Complimentary informal services assist with finding ways for any child to access these opportunities by removing financial or other barriers.

If elected, which of these strategies would you consider to support arts education in your district?

  • Research current arts program and assess needs at district buildings
  • Develop or update a district level arts plan
  • Support arts inclusion professional development opportunities
  • Work for a budget to financially support arts instruction at all schools
  • Support professional development for classroom teachers
  • Expand district-wide data collection for tracking, support, and accountability

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