Brandon Hersey has capably served on the Seattle School Board since he was appointed to the board in 2019. He continues to be the best choice for District 7.

Hersey, a former Federal Way elementary school teacher, brings valuable classroom perspective to board discussions. As board vice president and chairman of the board’s audit and finance committee, he is well positioned to lead changes to address funding inequities that have historically shortchanged his South Seattle district. As a Black man, his voice is needed in vital efforts to eliminate educational disparities.

Seattle Times editorial board endorsements: Nov. 2, 2021, general election

Also on the ballot is Genesis Williamson, who did not respond to requests to meet with the editorial board.

Hersey is a pragmatic optimist, which is an asset in board discussions and in discussing the district’s challenges. This leadership style will be useful as this relatively inexperienced school board continues to find its way.

Most school board members were first elected just two years ago. District 6 Director Leslie Harris, who was first elected in 2015, is the longest-serving member. District 5 Director Zachary DeWolf, elected in 2017, decided not to seek a second term. In an endorsement interview, Hersey was candid about the board’s challenges and changes necessary for effective governance, particularly knowing when board members should, as he said, “lean in and, more importantly, know when to lean out” of operational decisions.

“I think that it’s critical to know, as a board director, what role that you play and how to do that effectively,” he said. “Because when you don’t, you have instances where we might be getting more in the way than we need to be.”

Hersey also spoke compellingly about the need for improvement in authentic engagement with parents and community partners. He has the skills to build those relationships and an apparent commitment to follow through.

In his next term, he should leverage the trust he has earned to push the board toward more meaningful community engagement and greater openness and transparency, particularly in the search for a permanent superintendent.