For Nikki Lockwood and Katey Treloar, a passion for education began long before either of them decided to run for the Spokane Public Schools board.
The parallels are remarkable. Both were raised and educated in the Spokane area and both had younger children who needed an advocate.
As it turned, so did hundreds of others. That led Lockwood and Treloar onto a path that will land one of them on the school board for the next six years at Position 1.
“I am a strong supporter of public education – it has changed my life and allowed my family to thrive in ways my grandparents could never have imagined,” said Lockwood, who lived in several areas of Spokane before graduating from University High School in 1986.
Treloar said she knew by first grade at Mullan Road Elementary that she wanted to be a teacher.
Treloar, a 1999 Ferris grad, took her passion for education to Gonzaga University, where she earned a teaching certificate four years later and taught elementary school in Spokane from 2005-12.
“There is something about creating a community, a safe place for children to grow that inspired me to want to go to work every day,” Treloar said.
However, their wider passion for educational advocacy was fueled by the needs of their own children.
Lockwood’s younger daughter, Risa, has autism.
“For the past 10 years, I have been advocating for her needs and addressing systemic issues of funding, resources and training,” Lockwood said. “I have listened to hundreds of parents whose children are also struggling, and I’ve grown in awareness of other systemic inequities affecting populations in our district
“I’ve seen the equitable results when parents, who often felt marginalized, find their voice, learn advocacy, join collective actions and build relationships with district folks,” Lockwood added.
Meanwhile, Treloar fought a different battle on behalf of a son who had life-threatening food allergies.
“Our principal was at our first 504 meeting,” Treloar said. “He never made eye contact or looked up from his phone. Two days later, he saw us in the hall and didn’t know my son’s name. It was disheartening, but scary.”
Even before that, Treloar viewed the district through the eyes of a teacher and parent at the same time.
When her older son was in kindergarten, Treloar said she noticed “pretty quickly that our principal wasn’t very involved in the school.”
However, two years later, Treloar said she was able to “use my education as a teacher and my understanding of district policy and procedure to make a change for our school, our students and our educators.”
On a wider scale, Treloar also worked with local nonprofit At the Core, which provides weekend food kits in the Spokane, Mead and Riverside school districts through the Bite2Go program.
Lockwood’s volunteerism has been broad in scope, as chair of the Montessori parent group, the district’s Special Education Parent Advisory Committee, the district’s Human Growth and Development Committee and the Superintendent’s Work Group on Restorative Practices.
Given that experience, a run for school board was a plausible next step.
“I decided, why not me?” said Lockwood, who also deals with a multi-million-dollar budget by serving on the board of Planned Parenthood
The candidates disagree on two major issues.
On the question of a supplemental levy – should legislative help fall short – Lockwood said, “given that we have a projected budget deficit over the next four years, there is a need for additional funding, and I would support giving the voters the opportunity to weigh in on a levy.”
Treloar said that supplemental levies are an “unpredictable, unreliable revenue source.”
On the issue of school security, Treloar said she would support hiring armed police officers who would be permanently assigned to a specific middle school and high school.
“These officers would have ongoing training, mental health checks and annual evaluations,” Treloar said.
Lockwood said the Safe Havens report – which offered recommendations to improve school security – “failed to convince me that arming personnel is evidence-based.”
She said the district should work harder to foster “positive relationships” and examine whole-school safety while paying better attention to “communities of color and from the disability community.”
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.