Three women will be vying for a position on the Puyallup School District’s Board of Directors on the primary ballot.
Kathy Yang, Margie Silver and Karen Edwards all are running for the Position 4 seat that’s currently occupied by Greg Heath, who announced this spring he plans to step down after three four-year terms.
The primary election Aug. 6 will narrow the choices to two for the general election in November.
Yang, who comes from a legal background, most recently served as secretary on the Good Samaritan Foundation Board. She also was the past membership co-chair of the Shaw Road Elementary PTA.
“I have children ages 12 and 15 going to Kalles Junior High and Puyallup High School, and I’m very interested in their education,” Yang said. “I think giving back to the community is very important. I came to this country from Korea when I was 8 and, through education, received so much, and I’ve always wanted to help others achieve the same.”
Yang and her husband, Anthony Kim, a surgeon at Good Samaritan Hospital, have two children, Jordan and Jonas.
If she’s elected, Yang said she would be an advocate for parents who don’t understand the education system and don’t know where to start to support their children’s education.
“I would love to reach out to parents who may otherwise feel not as engaged,” Yang said. “My parents (who emigrated from Korea) never felt a way to be engaged.”
Yang also wants to help children in the school district reach their full potential.
“A big pressing need for Puyallup is more classrooms,” she said. “There is an overcrowding problem. In elementary schools, we’ve seen 30 or more kids in a classroom. That leaves very little margin for a teacher to give individualized instruction.”
Silver, a 13-year Puyallup resident, had two sons graduate from the Puyallup School District. Throughout their education, Silver said she has volunteered in different capacities, including the Emerald Ridge High School site committee, a senior boards judge, scholarship chair for ERHS and Ferrucci Junior High and PTA/booster clubs.
Silver’s background is in neuroscience. For a time, she was a reading assessment evaluator and a health screener for the school district.
“I volunteer as much as I possibly can,” she said. “I’m a strong believer of education. It’s a cornerstone of our democracy. You can’t have a democracy without an educated populace.”
If elected, Silver said she would like to institute a district-wide volunteer program.
“I would like a volunteer program coordinator at each school to recruit, assess and place volunteers where they’re needed,” she said.
Silver also promised to create more opportunities for disenfranchised students in the district. For example, she said she would advocate for ways to promote the Running Start and AVID programs to a larger pool of students.
“(AVID and Running Start) changes their whole trajectory,” Silver said. “I hate to see those kids be lost.”
Edwards, whose children are in the third and fifth grade in the district, said she would advocate for full-day kindergarten and the integration of more science, technology, engineering and math in elementary schools.
“I discovered we really don’t have any other programming for the elementary level that is innovated and different to get kids inspired to learn,” Edwards said. “I feel like elementary is the age where you can get them really excited about learning.”
Edwards has a master’s degree in public health from the University of Washington and served in hospital administration at Madigan Army Medical Center as part of the U.S. Army from 1995 through 2000. She also has experience with grant writing and has volunteered for five years in Puyallup classrooms.
If elected, Edwards said she would like to help with strengthening communication.
“I feel like there is still a disconnect between the district and parents,” she said.
Edwards said parents who speak before the board of directors often face a “rigid and daunting task.”
“I think people need to know they can contact board members outside of that rigid experience,” she said.
Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.