Election 2021 - Chelan School Board Candidates, Fuller, Nelson

Stephanie Fuller

Erik Nelson

CHELAN - School Board elections are in full swing in Chelan. The last day to vote in the primaries is August 3. In total seven candidates are running for Districts 1, 2, and 3. The last edition of the Mirror featured candidate interviews. This article features the remaining interviews.
Candidate Profiles
Stephanie Fuller is running for District 1. She said that she is the best candidate for the job because she has a leadership and management background. She has been on numerous boards at the local, county and state levels and managed budgets. She has had three children go through the Chelan School District.
She said that the most important policies to put in place are to make sure that schools focus more on basic education. Schools are venturing more and more into subjects that have been traditionally taught by families and parents in their homes and basic education has suffered, Fuller said.
Fuller said that she worked for five years at Merrill Lynch as technical support and help desk. She managed cherry harvest crew, payroll, bookkeeping and semi-truck driving at Stormy Mountain Ranch. She was the secretary of Morgen Owings Elementary parent teacher association for two years.
Fuller said that she has 27 years of Washington Officials Association experience and seven years of experience on the executive board of the North Central Washington Volleyball Club.
She served 7 years on the RTO committee for Washington State Officials where she created consistency in officiating volleyball and better training and education of the game.
When asked about fiscal responsibility, Fuller said that schools should plan and manage budgets responsibly, be transparent with the community regarding spending and hold everyone accountable.  
When asked about addressing social and economic inequalities, she said, ”The priority for the school district is to educate every student with the basic education to prepare them for life regardless of economic and social inequalities.”
Regarding maintaining open lines of communication, Fuller said that she has lived in Lake Chelan for 26 years and is very well acquainted and approachable within the community. She said that her experiences being a liaison for schools, coaches and officials has developed her communication skills.
Barb Polley is running for District 2. She said that she decided to run to give back to the community because the community has been very supportive over the years. Polley said she has lived in the community for 50 years.
She said that she is the parent to students who graduated from Chelan High School. She taught elementary school for 23 years, was an aide for two years and is active in the community through sitting on boards and community service.
“I feel like I have a well rounded perspective of what's involved in managing a school,” she said.
When asked about policies to put in place, Polley said that we should serve all students and work towards creating a climate of belonging and dignity for students and staff in the school.  
When asked about addressing economic inequalities, she said that we should treat students equally. She said that we should be in contact with the families and support students in any way that we can with materials needed to make students successful.  
When asked about financial responsibility, Polley said that the school has a track record of being financially careful with the money that comes in. She said that the superintendent has a careful eye on keeping the district within their budget and that levies have been historically supported by the community.
When asked on how to prepare kids for a successful future after graduation, Polley said that all students need to receive education in basic subject matter they need to survive. She said that they need to become lifelong learners so they can go out into the community and on to higher education if they so choose.
Erik Nelson is running for District 3. He said that he is the best candidate for the job because his ability to consider multiple perspectives, build relationships and communicate with respect will serve him well in the role. He is the parent of three children in the Chelan School District.
Nelson said that he works as a financial advisor and helps people on a daily basis to navigate significant life decisions while considering the emotional and rational factors behind the decisions. He said his ability to listen, understand and act with integrity serves him well as a school board member.
If elected, Nelson said his goal would be to maximize opportunities and enrichment for kids while being fiscally responsible to the taxpayers of the district.  In response to being asked about addressing economic and social inequalities, Nelson said the pandemic highlighted how the burden to address inequalities falls on the school district.
“In addition to educating our students, our district succeeded in feeding hungry kids nutritious meals, provided access to counseling and placed WiFi hubs in underserved communities,” Nelson said
He said that the district should continue to partner with service organizations within the community to mentor and meet the needs of students as building relationships between the district and the community is crucial for sharing the burden of addressing these inequalities.
When asked about fiscal responsibility, Nelson said that school board members are stewards of taxpayer money and it would be his fiduciary obligation to grow to understand the obstacles faced by the students of the community and explore the best options to overcome those obstacles.
When asked about maintaining open communication, Nelson said the best way to encourage open communication is to develop a climate of honesty which would be accomplished when parents, staff and students feel heard.
When asked about helping students achieve success post-graduation, Nelson said that encouraging conversations early on can help students illuminate a clear path to setting and accomplishing goals.
“It is my opinion that success is finding meaning and joy as a productive member of society. I think that it is difficult for one to achieve a level of success that one can’t imagine. Schools should expose students to the many possible routes to a successful future,” Nelson said.

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