Dan Hansen, an incumbent on the West Valley School District board of directors since 2014, is looking to keep his job. He is challenged by Gerald Rosenbaum, who does not appear to be actively campaigning and did not return a questionnaire to the Spokane Valley News Herald after several requests.
Family/How long living in the district? My wife Pam and I bought our first home in the WVSD in 1989. One daughter (Kelly, WVHS class of '11) and one son (Kyle, class of '14). One grandson.
Why did you want to file for candidacy? I joined the school board in 2014 after several years as a WV Band Boosters volunteer, including one year as president. It is the most meaningful public service opportunity I've experienced.
What are your goals for the school board? West Valley is in an enviable position with a 98-percent graduation rate and great facilities that include a unique middle school designed to nurture leadership, two nontraditional high schools that help assure student success, and a partnership with neighboring districts operating Spokane Valley Tech, a highly innovative school with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). It is the board's responsibility to assure that West Valley sustains that success, and builds on it. During my term on the board, we've reduced class sizes in kindergarten through third grade, with a win-win community partnership involving the lease of the former St. Paschal's school building.
What, in your mind, is the biggest issue facing the district in the immediate future? Our challenges include the political landscape in Olympia and Washington, D.C., which creates budgetary and regulatory uncertainty; a teachers shortage that must be solved at the state level; and an economy that has left some West Valley families struggling. State and federal demands for standardized testing are constantly shifting, forcing districts to allocate time and resources to testing that would be better spent helping students become creative learners. For those reasons, I am one of 22 school board members statewide who serve on the legislative committee for the Washington State School Directors Association.
What surprising issues are people bringing up as you door-knock or meet folks at campaign stops? People who have children in West Valley know it's an excellent school system. People who do not have children in school sometimes base their opinions on the public schools they attended -- often in another region and decades ago. For instance, they assume that because there are no classes called wood shop or metal shop that schools no longer offer career and technical education, when in fact there are more options than ever before, from carpentry and firefighting to robotics and health sciences. Some assume that schools are not as academically rigorous, when there actually are incredibly challenging courses in all areas, and more math/science requirements than a middle-aged adult experienced during their high school years.
What differences separate you from your opponent? I can't speak to my opponent's positions or qualifications because I have never met him, or read anything about him. He has withdrawn his campaign, but is still listed on the ballot. My own qualifications are:
West Valley School Board (2014-present)
Washington State School Directors Association Legislative Committee (2015-present)
Millwood Planning Commission (February 2010-present)
West Valley High School Band Boosters (Vice President, 2012-13; volunteer, 2007-present)
Millwood Farmers Market volunteer (2007-2013)
Initiated and organized Culture, Race & Understanding, an occasional community speakers’ series in Millwood started in response to racial incidents. (April 2011 – February 2012)
Leadership Spokane graduate (2012)
Bachelor's degree, Central Washington University
West Valley resident, since 1989