5 apply for open Issaquah School Board position
February 24, 2013
By Lillian O'Rorke
New: Feb. 24, 11:23 a.m.
Five people have applied for the school board seat left vacant by Chad Magendanz, who resigned Jan. 9 to serve in the state legislature.
The position represents Issaquah’s fourth district, which spans from the Issaquah Highlands through the downtown corridor and south to Tiger Mountain and Mirrormont. The applicants are Lisa Callan, Margo Campbell, Alison Meryweather, Justin Park and Justin Rolfe.
The school board will review the applications and have scheduled candidate interviews for 6 p.m. March 6. If a second round of interviews is needed, those will be held March 20. Whoever is appointed to the position will serve out Magendanz’s term through November 2013.
Rolfe could not be reached.
The mother of a second-grade student at Grand Ridge Elementary School, Callan said she hopes to represent the elementary community, as well as bring an insider’s understanding of boundary changes. Having served on the United Way’s health and human service panel as well as the Issaquah Cooperative Preschool Board, she has an interest in early intervention and early education.
“I think it’s just a community responsibility to be in there and be part of it,” Callan said. “It’s making sure that as the world changes, that our graduates are ready to move into that world, whatever it may be.”
The granddaughter of teachers, Callan grew up in Arizona. Callan was adding an education minor to her bachelor’s in mathematics when she took a job at Boeing. After nearly two decades in the computer science industry, Callan set aside work to focus on her family.
“I know I have a lot to learn,” she said.
Margo Campbell is no stranger to the Issaquah School District. Both she and her parents graduated from Issaquah High School, where as a senior she worked to get the bond and levy passed in 1965. With a master’s in elementary education, Campbell’s 25-years in the classroom included teaching kindergarten and third grade at Maple Hills Elementary. Her husband served as the principal at Liberty, where all three of their sons graduated. One of the things she would like to do as a board member is focus on early education, which she believes is key to helping struggling students.
“I would like to find ways and resources to help those kids,” she said.
Campbell was also the president of the teachers union from 1998 to 2002. She was against the charter school initiative during the last election. She said she understands that not everyone is a fan of unions, but she has a strong background of being objective and improving teachers’ work environment means improving students’ learning environment.
With two teenagers now at Issaquah High, Alison Meryweather has spent more than a decade volunteering and advocating for public education. She was president of the Clark Elementary PTA for 2.5 years and spent three years as a legislative representative. She also sits on the boards of the Issaquah Schools Foundation and the Volunteers for Issaquah Schools.
“I really think that I’ve got a long-standing, demonstrated commitment to the district and public education,” Meryweather said. Much of her work, she added has been about providing funding and now she’d like to have a say in how it’s spent. “This is the next piece, its one thing to have the funding and it’s another thing what you do with that money.”
With a dual bachelor’s degree in French and political science, Meryweather has also worked with the League of Education Voters. As a volunteer in 2009, she lobbied lawmakers to pass the education reform bill HB 2261, which among other things increased instructional hours and high school graduation requirements.
She is a longtime supporter of charter schools, working to get it on the PTA’s legislative platform and acting as a community spokesperson for Initiative 1240 during the last election.
Justin Park finished building his home in the Maple Hills area last March and says he is ready to get to work making a difference. With four children, the oldest a senior at Liberty and the youngest starting kindergarten next year, Park explained that he can’t think of anything more worthy than their education.
“I am quite encouraged by the current direction that the school board and district is moving in,” he said. “Anything that does need to be changed is more of a fine tuning aspect.”
As a Liberty parent, Park said he was happy to see the high school keep its 8-period block schedule, which had been a popular discussion topic around his dinner table.
“Making a greater range of opportunities available to high school students in district is a really great discussion that needs to be had,” he added.
With his law degree from Seattle University and a bachelor’s in international studies, Park is a partner at law firm in Bellevue.
Currently he is the president of the board for the LDS Scholarship Northwest, which awards scholarships for Mormon students in Western Washington.
According to his application for the school board, Justin Rolfe and his wife moved to Issaquah last year because of its reputation of providing students with a great education. While he does not yet have children, he wrote that he would like them to grow up in a nurturing environment and attend schools with a standard of excellence.
Rolfe graduated from Seattle Pacific University in 2004 with a double major in Finance and Philosophy and is now the vice president and senior portfolio manager at U.S. Trust, Bank of America’s private bank.
His wife Sara is from Issaquah and the two got engaged on the same night they attended ‘Swinging in Vienna eight years ago.
Since 2006, Rolfe has volunteered for Lifetime Advocacy Plus, which aims to enhance the lives and protect the rights of people with disabilities.
His volunteer experience also includes helping out with various tent cities and Nicklesville.