Doug Eglington ending tenure on Lake Washington School Board
December 4, 2013
New: Dec. 4, 11:17 a.m.
By Evan Pappas
After almost 25 years on the Lake Washington School Board, the 31st of December will mark the end of Doug Eglington’s term.
Eglington, a resident of Sammamish since 1986, works as a senior policy analyst for King County and has served on the school board since 1989.
“I moved here because it had a good reputation, and I wanted to make sure that reputation was fulfilled,” Eglington said.
Eglington comes from a family of school board members and educators. His great-grandfather was one of the co-founders of the Clark County School District in Nevada, and his grandfather was on the Los Gatos School Board just south of San Francisco.
His family’s history in education is partly why he is so interested in it. At Whitman College, his political science thesis was about school governance and whether or not the ideas of the founders who felt education was an important service of government were realized.
Eglington’s involvement with the school board over the years has given him an unusual perspective on how the district has changed and grown.
“The school district was really booming in the late 80s and early 90s and slowed because of the dot-com burst and the housing bubble,” Eglington said.
But recently, Eglington has seen the growth of the district take off again, particularly in the Redmond Ridge area. It’s not just because there are more schools, but also because the district has become more sophisticated than ever before. Eglington associates the growth with the rise of the high tech industry in the area.
“One of the biggest changes over the years I’ve seen is the cultural change that Microsoft has brought,” Eglington said. “It values diversity, competence and understands how important the global economy is.”
In the early 90s, Eglington was involved in the discussion of what a modern graduate from the Lake Washington school district should look like. That student profile framework is still relevant to this day, he said.
“The student profile still guides the district and reflects what the community values,” Eglington said.
With the standards of the student profile and the growth of the culture in the area, Eglington said the bar is always being raised and that it helps the school district to keep improving what they do. It’s a constant demand for quality.
Eglington has not just contributed to the school board but has also participated in the community itself.
He just completed his tenure as an education representative for the KCTS channel 9 community advisory board and was the board chair for the King County Director’s board purchasing cooperation.
He was also one of the co-founders and president of the Sammamish Kiwanis Club, a group that supports local leadership programs in schools and charities like Eastside Baby Corner.
Bob Keller, the current President of the Kiwanis Club, said Eglington has been instrumental in helping raise money for scholarships and has greatly helped the club’s community programs.
“You can see why he is good fit for the school board through his work,” Keller said. “This is a guy who doesn’t say ‘no’ when asked to help the community.”
Kathy Huckabay, another of the founding members of the Sammamish Kiwanis Club, saw Eglington as a mentor and learned a lot by working alongside him. His work helped create a close connection between the school district and the Kiwanis Club.
“He was a great mentor and even today he is someone I can bounce ideas off of,” Huckabay said.
Eglington’s work in the community and on the school board has won him a handful of awards like the Golden Acorn award from Samantha Smith Elementary School PTSA.
“I’ve received a couple other PTSA awards. Last year I received the youth’s advocate award,” Eglington said.
Eglington finds satisfaction from the work that the district has accomplished. The construction of new buildings and the high graduation and success rates compared to the state are part of the reason the district has grown so much.
Despite the growth, frustration over the state’s continued underfunding of education has been an issue. The Legislature was able to bring in $1 billion this year across the state, but Eglington says that it’s not enough.
“Legislation has provided about $1 billion dollars more to the education community, but we still have about $3 to $4 billion more before we can determine if they comply with the level of support that the court called for,” Eglington said.
The reason for Eglington’s departure is partly because he feels that a change of people on the board can help it move forward.
“You need some turnover to make democracy meaningful. If it’s the same people for a long time you can become jaded and stale,” Eglington said.
He says that his successor is someone who has children in the district so they have a direct connection to the results of the work they have been doing.
Being able to see the school district’s effectiveness from a student’s perspective is extremely helpful.
“We always tend to look at what’s best for our individual kids, but a board member must think beyond your neighborhood and family,” Eglington said.
Throughout all of the experiences over the years Eglington’s favorite moments as a part of the school board are not about him at all but instead about the students themselves.
“I enjoy attending graduation ceremonies. I bet I’ve seen probably 15,000 kids walk across a stage,” Englington said. “On a personal basis, I got to sign my children’s diplomas. That was my proudest moment.”