EXPERIENCED, steady people are needed on the Seattle School Board as the district navigates immediate significant issues. Among them are plans to combat overcrowding in many schools with a controversial plan to redraw school-attendance boundaries. And the state has ordered the district to improve its special-education program.
Suzanne Dale Estey and Stephan Blanford are by far the best choices running for School Board.
Dale Estey has a solid track record in education advocacy, both at the school level working in her son’s classroom and at the community level with past work at the Center for Education Results. That is the nonprofit behind the South Seattle and South King County school-improvement efforts known as the Road Map Project. She has two children who attend district schools.
Dale Estey has extensive planning and budget experience from her time as economic-development director for the city of Renton and on the staffs of former King County Executive Ron Sims, former Gov. Gary Locke and former President Clinton. She has been endorsed by the 11th, 34th, 36th and 46th District Democrats. State Rep. Reuven Carlyle and state Sen. Ed Murray — currently a candidate for Seattle mayor — have also endorsed Dale Estey.
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Blanford offers an equally strong civic resume built on education leadership. He is a former Beacon Hill International School PTA officer and has worked for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound, Alliance for Education and Rotary Boys & Girls Club in Seattle. A parent of a district student, Blanford holds master’s and doctorate degrees in education from the University of Washington.
Blanford wrote his dissertation about school districts that have significantly reduced achievement and opportunity gaps while raising performance levels for all students. He would bring an informed voice to Seattle’s efforts.
Blanford’s deep ties to the community are reflected in endorsements by almost every Legislative District Democrats group and the leaders of local nonprofits — including Latinos for Community Transformation; Washington STEM; and Rainier Scholars, an educational support program for students of color.
Dale Estey and Blanford received ratings of “outstanding” and “very good,” respectively, from the Municipal League Foundation of King County.