An impressive slate of candidates is vying for positions 3 and 6 on the Medford School Board. All bring an active interest in the job and a dedication to public education.
In the race for Position 3, Casey Stine offers experience on the Head Start board and an emphasis on early childhood education. She is the mother of a 3-year-old daughter.
The other candidate, Cynthia Wright, is the parent of six children who all attended Medford schools. She previously served on the School Board from 2003 to 2007. She applied for the position left vacant when Janet Lightheart left the area last year, but the board decided not to fill the vacancy.
Wright is knowledgeable and experienced, and is enthusiastic about the direction she sees the district moving under Superintendent Brian Shumate.
Stine is sincere and well-intentioned, but seems primarily focused on early education, which is important, but only one element of a K-12 district. Wright’s experience gives her the edge.
The race for Position 6 pits retired executive Jim Horner against former board member Sally Killen, a retired teacher, and Kevin Husted, the owner of a freight brokerage who has three children attending schools in the district.
Horner is chairman of the school district’s Budget Committee, which gives him thorough understanding of the financial challenges facing the district. He also has a tendency to be a bit long-winded when describing his ideas for improving public education.
Killen was on the board for six years, which included the teachers’ strike in 2014. She stepped down at the end of her last term in 2015 saying she needed a break, but now is seeking to serve again.
Husted is a longtime coach and the father of five children, three of whom are still in school. He says he is concerned that hard feelings from the strike still remain and have never been resolved. He says changes are coming to the district, and a strong board is needed to provide balance with the district administration.
All three candidates support Shumate’s vision of creating pathways for students to move toward career fields and to give students a reason to stay in school. All three support moving sixth-graders into middle schools to better meet their educational needs and address district space considerations.
Horner says the district needs to improve “productivity,” but students are not widgets, and their needs have changed dramatically, despite his assertion that classrooms are the same now as when he was in school.
Killen represents the past on a board that is changing and moving into a new future.
Husted brings a fresh energy and a commitment to working with district staff to forge connections with board members. He gets our nod.
We recommend Cynthia Wright for Position 3 and Kevin Husted for Position 6.
Our recommendations for positions 1 and 2 will appear next week.
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