Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Saturday, October 24, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 33° Clear

Spokane School Board, position 5

Election Results

Candidate Votes Pct
Mike Wiser (N) 25,083 62.92%
Jennifer Muroya Thomas (N) 14,782 37.08%

* Race percentages are calculated with data from the Secretary of State's Office, which omits write-in votes from its calculations when there are too few to affect the outcome. The Spokane County Auditor's Office may have slightly different percentages than are reflected here because its figures include any write-in votes.

About The Race

The Candidates

Mike Wiser

No party

Education: Graduated from Lewis & Clark High School in 1990. BS in industrial engineering from University of Washington. MBA and a master’s in engineering management from Northwestern University.

Political experience: Spokane Public Schools board since March 2017.

Work experience: Industrial engineer at Micron Technology (1994-97), management consultant at PRTM, and independent consultant (2005-2012). Currently vice president of strategic planning at CHAS Health.

Family: Married to Deborah Wiser since 2001. Two daughters ages 10 and 13. Both are students in Spokane Public Schools.

Campaign contributors: Has raised about $11,000, including $2,000 from the Washington Education Association and smaller donations from FUSE Washington, Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart, state Rep. Marcus Riccelli, Spokane School Board Chairwoman Deana Brower and Spokane School Board Vice Chairwoman Sue Chapin.

Top priorities as a school board candidate: “The combination of enrollment growth and class size reduction will necessitate the most significant changes for SPS in the next decade. The board recently approved the grade configuration committee’s recommendation to shift to a 6-8 middle school. Work leading up to this recommendation was done with meaningful community input. To implement these recommendations while lowering class size and accommodating increased enrollment, a combination of school boundary changes, remodeling, and new schools will be needed. Given the high investments required and major impact to students, families, and staff, we need strong community input that informs a transparent decision making process.”

“My next priority is monitoring the work in progress to reduce rates (of) disproportionate discipline and improve school climate, especially students of color and those with individualized educational plans. It is clear that the district must invest more in staff training and resources to fully implement restorative practices while ensuring a safe environment for all students and staff.”

“Finally, I want to prioritize improving educational outcomes and experience for all students. While graduation rates and standardized test scores are important indicators, they are not sufficient. Our community’s goals for our students need to reflect that we want to educate students who become free thinkers, know how hard work informs success, find a passion, engage with their community, experience the joy of learning, and are prepared for the next steps in a productive and satisfying life. I feel that by expanding our core goals for students, we can create better outcomes for more students, and reduce historically prevalent achievement gaps in the process.”

Jennifer Muroya Thomas

No party


Education: Graduated from University High School in 1994. Associate’s degree in theology from Beacon University, 2000.

Political experience: Worked on Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ campaign in 2016.

Work experience: Background in sales and fundraising. Recently started a consulting business. Currently director for business development with The Jonah Project, a nonprofit dedicated to ending sex slavery in Spokane.

Family: Divorced. Four children who attend schools in Central Valley School District.

Campaign contributors: Has raised about $10,300, including donations from Spokane County Republican Party Chairwoman Stephanie Cates, former candidate for state superintendent Erin Jones, gospel church The Bridge, former U.S. Attorney James McDevitt and Max J. Kuney Co.

Top priorities as a school board candidate: “Highlight the important aspects of education locally, especially the issues facing our most vulnerable students – those that are homeless, hungry and at risk. Also, I want to make sure we are having conversations about what we want our workforce to look like and assess if we are making strides towards achieving those goals. As a school board member my priorities would be very similar. Bottom line – we have to make sure we are making decisions to help ALL of our students succeed and prepare them for the future path that best suits their unique talents and desires.”

Complete Coverage

Incumbent Mike Wiser beats out challenger in Spokane Public Schools only contested board race

Incumbent school board member Mike Wiser beat challenger Jennifer Thomas in Spokane’s only contested board race.

Small donation to Spokane school board campaign appears to violate federal tax law

A small donation made to a Spokane Public Schools board candidate appears to violate federal tax law.

In Spokane School Board race, it’s the hot-button issues that divide the candidates

Whoever becomes Spokane Public Schools newest board member will inherit a slough of thorny and difficult questions. And while both candidates running for that honor have similar goals and concerns, their approach and experiences differ.

Keep Wiser on Spokane school board

Wiser demonstrated greater knowledge about the many education challenges ahead. He has invested a lot ot time volunteering at schools and has an impressive resume and work background.

With complicated, potentially contentious decisions on horizon, four vie for Spokane schools board seat

Spokane’s newest board member will inherit a slough of thorny and potentially contentious decisions in November.

Q&A with SPS Board candidates Jennifer Thomas and Michael Wiser

Candidates answer questions about the roles they would play on the Spokane Public School Board.