Voices


Three Posts Contested In CV Primary

Voters deciding on the makeup of the Central Valley school board have a weighty task on their hands.

Spokane County’s second largest school district is in a year of transition. Four of five school board posts are up for grabs.

Among the challenges board members face are choosing a new superintendent, passing a $23 million bond issue in March and grappling with state education reform guidelines.

Of the four open positions, only three are contested in the primary, meaning more than two people are running.

Following are mini-profiles of the nine school board candidates in the contested primary races:

Director District No. 2

When former board member Kevin Laverty resigned in November, the three candidates in the District 2 race were among the seven people who applied for the vacated position.

Cheryl Knighton, a community volunteer who has lived in the Central Valley School District for 10 years, was chosen. One of Knighton’s goals for the district is to increase parental involvement, which she says is dropping.

“A strong district makes the community stronger,” Knighton said. “That’s one of my main pushes.”

Choosing a new superintendent will be the chief task of the board, she said. But keeping the district’s strategic plan - in its third of five years - on track also should be a focus, she said.

Candidate Craig Holmes, a Baptist minister turned financial analyst, said he believes this is a critical time in education and that the board needs the strong leadership he’ll provide.

Holmes favors a leaner administration and a streamlined bookkeeping process. He supports local control of the district - getting away from state and federal guidelines - and wants to give school principals more say in managerial and budget decisions.

“I’m a good listener. I’m good at seeing solutions for real problems, and I have a deep love for the kids in this community,” he said.

Self-employed attorney Peter Hawkins also believes in local control of the district. Hawkins and his brother Matthew, both lifelong Valley residents, are running for different positions on the board.

One of Hawkins’ chief concerns is people pulling their children out of the district to home-school them or put them in private schools.

“I would like to know that the district is doing all that it can to bring those kids back in,” he said.

Director District No. 3

A real estate broker and a business consultant are challenging four-year board member Kay Bryant for her position.

Bryant stresses life-long learning and says her life has been devoted to education. She has taught community college business classes and is working to finish her bachelor’s degree in communications.

She says she brings “a natural desire to help people work together” to the board.

Following four failed bonds in recent years, the March bond issue will be a “critical challenge,” Bryant said. She cited overcrowding at the elementary level that has forced students to be bused out of their neighborhoods to schools with more room.

Matthew Hawkins, said he hears a lot of “heartache” from parents who fear their taxes are not being spent properly by the school district. He’s concerned that the quality of a CV education is declining.

“There’s a lack of responsibility and communication,” Hawkins said. “I don’t think (the district) is hearing their public.”

A strong proponent of local control, Hawkins said he offers access to a wide array of people after living in the district his whole life.

Challenges facing the district this year require strong leadership, said Calvin Cooney, who promises to scrutinize the budget and carve away fat if it’s there. It’s that kind of fiscal responsibility that’ll help pass the bond too, he said.

“There won’t be anybody that will step up to the school board and take on the fiscal issue the way I will,” he said.

Cooney supports school visitations by board members, school-to-work transition programs and interdisciplinary study.

Director District No. 4

A sheriff’s deputy, community volunteer and retired computer programmer are vying for the open District 4 position. Twelve-year board member Linda Tompkins decided not to run for re-election.

John Pardee makes no bones about why he’s running for school board. He wants to help choose the next superintendent.

Pardee would like to see the new superintendent be a local person and a strong communicator. He’d also like to see more “realism” in bond levy elections. “Toning it down to what you really need, then making a wholehearted push to the taxpayers” is the way to go, he said.

As a sheriff’s deputy, Pardee has first-hand experience with the district’s security needs. He’d like teachers and administrators to be trained in security issues.

Patty Minnihan has an extensive volunteer record. She’s been active in parent-teacher organizations, the district’s safety task force and the guidance and counseling policy committee.

“I just have a heart for being an effective member of the community,” Minnihan said. If elected, she said, she’d drop some of her other obligations and make the board her sole focus.

Minnihan taught school for years in a district near Seattle. That experience gives her the broad background necessary to examine education issues from all sides, she said.

George Springer is pushing a return to basics for public education. He wants to get rid of the Department of Education, downsize CV’s administration and refocus the curriculum on math, science and other basic subjects.

“Let’s get away from jewelry making,” Springer said.

The superintendent search should be conducted locally, instead of spending thousands on a nationwide search, he said. If elected, Springer said, he’d fight using a consulting firm to find a new superintendent.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 9 Photos

MEMO: These 4 sidebars appeared with the story: 1. PRIMARY TUESDAY The ballots for Tuesday’s primary election will include three contested races for seats on the Central Valley School Board and one on the East Valley School Board. The top two vote-winners in each of those races will advance to the general election in November. Although the other Valley districts have school board positions open this fall, no other races are contested in the primary. All Valley school board candidates appearing on the Nov. 7 ballot will be profiled prior to the general election. Polls will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

2. DISTRICT 3 Kay Bryant Personal: Age 57 … lived in Spokane Valley for 16 years … manager of human resources for Community Colleges of Spokane … secretary of Spokane Valley Rotary, member of Valley Chamber of Commerce, board member of Valley Repertory Theatre, member of two drama groups … single, four grown children. Education: Pursuing bachelor’s degree in communications at Spokane Falls Community College and Eastern Washington University. Issues: Superintendent search, bond issue, increasing community and parent involvement, school to work transition programs.

Matthew Hawkins Personal: Age 37 … born and raised in Spokane Valley … owner of Hawkins and Associates, a commercial real estate brokerage and development company … partner in Omni Management, a holding company for the local Taco Times … PTO treasurer for McDonald Elementary, Boy Scout leader, board member for the Washington Association of Commercial Realtors … married, four children. Education: Graduated from University High School … bachelor’s degree in business and finance from Brigham Young University. Issues: Pulling back local control of district, superintendent search, bringing back community’s confidence in school district.

Calvin Cooney Personal: Age 51 … born in Spokane … worked in sales at GTE and W.W. Grainger, then as a self-employed business analyst … member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 1435 … single, two grown daughters. Education: Graduated from Central Valley High School … bachelor’s degree in accounting from Eastern Washington University … master’s in business administration from City University-Seattle. Issues: Superintendent search, upcoming bond issue, close examination of district budget.

3. DISTRICT 2 Peter Hawkins Personal: Age 40 … born and raised in Spokane Valley … self-employed attorney … Boy Scout leader … married, three children. Education: Graduated from University High School, bachelor’s degree in accounting from Brigham Young University and law degree from the University of Puget Sound. Issues: Superintendent search, bond issue, regaining local control of the school district.

Craig Holmes Personal: Age 40 … lived in Spokane Valley for seven years … works as a financial planner for Waddell and Reid … former Baptist pastor in Wyoming and Minnesota … member of Central Valley School District committees, including Appleseed Foundation, Policy 2140 committee and parent advisory committee … married, three children. Education: bachelor’s degree in math from Eastern Washington University … graduated from North American Baptist Seminary in South Dakota. Issues: Leaner administration, superintendent search, streamline bookkeeping process, supports firm local control of district, increase technology in the schools.

Cheryl Knighton Personal: Age 42 … lived in Spokane Valley for 10 years … has worked in office administration at the Community Colleges of Spokane … extensive volunteer history, including various PTAs, numerous Central Valley School District committees, including the guidance and counseling policy committee and the Parent Advisory Committee and the Sheriff’s Community Oriented Policing Effort … married, two children. Education: Graduated from high school in Boise and completed two years at Boise State University. Issues: Superintendent search, keeping up with state and federal government education reforms, increasing parental involvement.

4. DISTRICT 4 John Pardee Personal: Age 48 … lived in Spokane Valley for 16 years … Spokane County sheriff’s deputy for 16 years … member of Valley Elks, Valley Veterans of Foreign Wars, past president of Valley Shrine Club and a council member of Good Sheppard Church … married, two children. Education: Graduated from high school in Oregon and police academies in Oregon and Spokane. Issues: Choosing the new superintendent, increasing security in the schools, including training of administration and teachers.

Patty Minnihan Personal: Age 43 … lived in Spokane Valley four years … former teacher in Northshore School District near Seattle … extensive volunteer activities, including Junior League of Spokane and various Central Valley School District committees, including Policy No. 2140, safety task force, parent advisory committee and art docent program … married, three children. Education: bachelor’s degree in social welfare from University of Washington … teaching certificate from Seattle Pacific University. Issues: Superintendent search, be pro-active on security, help community understand needs of school district, supports local decisions but federal and state guidelines for education.

George Springer Personal: Age 60 … lived in Spokane Valley 18 years … retired from the U.S. Air Force and is a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam Wars … worked in computer services for The SpokesmanReview, Spokane School District 81 and Spokane County … volunteers at Spokane Civic Theatre and Spokane Children’s Theatre and is a driver for Valley Meals on Wheels … married with three children. Education: Graduated from high school in West Virginia. Issues: Downsize administration, get rid of the U.S. Department of Education, return to basics in curriculum, superintendent should be a political position, voted on by electorate and should be a local person.

These 4 sidebars appeared with the story: 1. PRIMARY TUESDAY The ballots for Tuesday’s primary election will include three contested races for seats on the Central Valley School Board and one on the East Valley School Board. The top two vote-winners in each of those races will advance to the general election in November. Although the other Valley districts have school board positions open this fall, no other races are contested in the primary. All Valley school board candidates appearing on the Nov. 7 ballot will be profiled prior to the general election. Polls will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

2. DISTRICT 3 Kay Bryant Personal: Age 57 … lived in Spokane Valley for 16 years … manager of human resources for Community Colleges of Spokane … secretary of Spokane Valley Rotary, member of Valley Chamber of Commerce, board member of Valley Repertory Theatre, member of two drama groups … single, four grown children. Education: Pursuing bachelor’s degree in communications at Spokane Falls Community College and Eastern Washington University. Issues: Superintendent search, bond issue, increasing community and parent involvement, school to work transition programs.

Matthew Hawkins Personal: Age 37 … born and raised in Spokane Valley … owner of Hawkins and Associates, a commercial real estate brokerage and development company … partner in Omni Management, a holding company for the local Taco Times … PTO treasurer for McDonald Elementary, Boy Scout leader, board member for the Washington Association of Commercial Realtors … married, four children. Education: Graduated from University High School … bachelor’s degree in business and finance from Brigham Young University. Issues: Pulling back local control of district, superintendent search, bringing back community’s confidence in school district.

Calvin Cooney Personal: Age 51 … born in Spokane … worked in sales at GTE and W.W. Grainger, then as a self-employed business analyst … member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 1435 … single, two grown daughters. Education: Graduated from Central Valley High School … bachelor’s degree in accounting from Eastern Washington University … master’s in business administration from City University-Seattle. Issues: Superintendent search, upcoming bond issue, close examination of district budget.

3. DISTRICT 2 Peter Hawkins Personal: Age 40 … born and raised in Spokane Valley … self-employed attorney … Boy Scout leader … married, three children. Education: Graduated from University High School, bachelor’s degree in accounting from Brigham Young University and law degree from the University of Puget Sound. Issues: Superintendent search, bond issue, regaining local control of the school district.

Craig Holmes Personal: Age 40 … lived in Spokane Valley for seven years … works as a financial planner for Waddell and Reid … former Baptist pastor in Wyoming and Minnesota … member of Central Valley School District committees, including Appleseed Foundation, Policy 2140 committee and parent advisory committee … married, three children. Education: bachelor’s degree in math from Eastern Washington University … graduated from North American Baptist Seminary in South Dakota. Issues: Leaner administration, superintendent search, streamline bookkeeping process, supports firm local control of district, increase technology in the schools.

Cheryl Knighton Personal: Age 42 … lived in Spokane Valley for 10 years … has worked in office administration at the Community Colleges of Spokane … extensive volunteer history, including various PTAs, numerous Central Valley School District committees, including the guidance and counseling policy committee and the Parent Advisory Committee and the Sheriff’s Community Oriented Policing Effort … married, two children. Education: Graduated from high school in Boise and completed two years at Boise State University. Issues: Superintendent search, keeping up with state and federal government education reforms, increasing parental involvement.

4. DISTRICT 4 John Pardee Personal: Age 48 … lived in Spokane Valley for 16 years … Spokane County sheriff’s deputy for 16 years … member of Valley Elks, Valley Veterans of Foreign Wars, past president of Valley Shrine Club and a council member of Good Sheppard Church … married, two children. Education: Graduated from high school in Oregon and police academies in Oregon and Spokane. Issues: Choosing the new superintendent, increasing security in the schools, including training of administration and teachers.

Patty Minnihan Personal: Age 43 … lived in Spokane Valley four years … former teacher in Northshore School District near Seattle … extensive volunteer activities, including Junior League of Spokane and various Central Valley School District committees, including Policy No. 2140, safety task force, parent advisory committee and art docent program … married, three children. Education: bachelor’s degree in social welfare from University of Washington … teaching certificate from Seattle Pacific University. Issues: Superintendent search, be pro-active on security, help community understand needs of school district, supports local decisions but federal and state guidelines for education.

George Springer Personal: Age 60 … lived in Spokane Valley 18 years … retired from the U.S. Air Force and is a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam Wars … worked in computer services for The SpokesmanReview, Spokane School District 81 and Spokane County … volunteers at Spokane Civic Theatre and Spokane Children’s Theatre and is a driver for Valley Meals on Wheels … married with three children. Education: Graduated from high school in West Virginia. Issues: Downsize administration, get rid of the U.S. Department of Education, return to basics in curriculum, superintendent should be a political position, voted on by electorate and should be a local person.



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