The Bellevue School Board has a full agenda ahead, including hiring a new superintendent, planning for fall semester and mending relationships strained to the breaking point by a highly contentious school year.
Of the three candidates for District 3’s open position, Joyce Shui has the skills and perspective to help lead the district into calmer waters.
Shui is an attorney, mother of four and founder of The Purple School bilingual education programs for infants and young children. In an endorsement interview, she offered a nuanced understanding of the factors leading to last year’s breakdown between the board, labor, parents and district leadership. That includes the public power struggle with the Bellevue teacher’s union over return to classroom instruction.
She pointed out that while there was frustration all around, with parents, staff and teachers stressed and worried about the pandemic, the school board’s lack of a formal governance policy complicated discussions. She advocates for adopting such a policy to clarify the board’s policy-setting role and vows to seek out and amplify diverse perspectives that might otherwise be left out of district decisions.
Candidate Leo Novsky, father of Bellevue elementary school students with special needs, clearly wants the district to overcome recent turmoil. Faye Yang, a dietitian who has successfully advocated for longer school lunch times, rightly emphasized boosting students’ academic and social-emotional well-being.
All are impressive candidates with important objectives.
But Shui is the best candidate to play a role in what the school board must do next: Hire a superintendent to reach those goals, and hold that person accountable while restoring trust and cooperation between the district’s various factions.