GRANDVIEW - At first, no one wanted to fill the seat left open by long-time Grandview School Board member Kirk Michels, who decided to not seek re-election this fall. Then during a special filing period by the Yakima County Auditors office, candidates started flooding in for the director district #2 seat on the local school board.
Three candidates filed for the position. The candidates are Libby Martinez, Mark Meyer and Karen Veloz.
Martinez is a registered nurse with the Yakima Valley Farmworkers Clinic. The life-long Grandview resident also provides consultation services to Sheffield Manor in Prosser.
Martinez has a daughter in the second grade and that is one of the reasons why she decided to run for the school board seat.
"I feel it is important to stay involved in what she does," said Martinez.
Martinez had been thinking about serving on the school board for some time.
"I want to give back to the community," said Martinez. "It was an opportunity."
Martinez has particular concerns with rumors she has been hearing that parents are taking their children out of the Grandview School District to attend other schools.
"I would like to find out why they are not happy," said Martinez.
Martinez also wants to keep working on improving the after-school programs the district offers, as she feels they are important for students in today's world.
"I would really like to see those continue to blossom," said Martinez.
Martinez said she is interested in being a part of the decision making process in the school district, in hopes of leaving a positive mark on the education of students.
Martinez feels she would be open to hearing suggestions from the parents and faculty, as well as the rest of the community, if she was elected to the school board. Martinez said she has already been out in the community speaking with people about issues in the school district.
Martinez said people should vote for her because she knows the issues in the school district.
"I definitely just want to be a voice for every day people," said Martinez.
Meyer, an inventory specialist at Bleyhl Farm Service in Grandview, decided to become involved in running for the school board because he wants to have a positive say in what happens in the school district. Meyer has a daughter at the middle school.
Meyer admitted one of the reasons why he ran for the school board is that he has some concerns with the education his daughter is receiving at the middle school. Meyer said after friends and other family members voiced similar concerns he decided to seek the school board seat in hopes of evoking some sort of change district wide.
Meyer said one of the issues he wants to address in Grandview is the format for the curriculum being presented in the district. Meyer said he is concerned that students aren't being challenged enough in the classroom.
"I think it (the classroom) should be more learning oriented," said Meyer.
Meyer also has concerns with gang violence and the dress code, citing how some students perceive school as a fashion runway, wanting to showcase the latest clothing lines.
Meyer has lived in Grandview since 1996, prior to that living in Sunnyside. He said he would make a good school board director because he would be open to receiving comments from parents, teachers and the community. Meyer said he would also be a school board member who would have all the facts before making a decision on a matter.
Meyer said people should vote for him because he will do the best job he can as a school board member.
"I just want to make sure these kids get the best education they can," said Meyer.
Veloz is no stranger to the world of education, as she has worked for 18 years as a teacher. Veloz is the SEEK teacher for the Sunnyside School District, working with "gifted" students at Pioneer, Outlook and Washington elementary schools.
"It is something I have thought about for the last couple of years," Veloz said of running for the school board.
Veloz said she simply felt now was the time to seek a spot on the school board.
Veloz has several ambitious goals, first and foremost having everyone in the school district work together.
"Parents, the schools and the community need to work together as a team," said Veloz.
Veloz, who has a daughter in high school, said there are many demands being placed on the education system with reforms such as the WASL examination. She would like to help the Grandview School District address those issues by serving on the board.
"I think they are heading in the right direction," said Veloz.
One of the goals of Veloz is to work on improving and adding more programs in the district. Veloz elaborated that there are several great programs going on in the Grandview School District, but she wants to look at ways to maintain those programs while enhancing what is being taught.
Veloz, who has lived in Grandview for nearly two decades, feels she can assist the school district in meeting the demands being placed on teachers and students now and in the future if she is elected to the school board.
"There is so much to learn," said Veloz. "I can assist the school district. I do bring that understanding."