In this Issue: HEA Labor Picnic at Seahurst Park (Friday, August 13)
1. HEA Endorsements: SeaTac, Des Moines, Burien City Councils
2. Candidate Corner: Meet Jennifer Fichamba (running for HPS School Board, Position 2)
3. Hosting Student Teachers/ESA Interns for the 22-22 SY.
June 25, 2021
I am sure you are all aware that Superintendent Enfield announced her planned departure for a year from now. The school board's intention is to launch a nationwide search for a replacement. This week’s retirement of Director Bernie Dorsey (district 4) from the school board and the contested races for District 2 (WEA member Jennifer Fichamba vs. Incumbent Angelica Alvarez) and District 3 (Incumbent Joe Van vs. unknown challenger Alexis Hlavarty) means that we potentially could have three new board members making that decision next spring. Applications to fill the remainder of Dir. Dorsey’s term (through 2023) will remain open through July 16. Here is the application to share with interested school district residents (only registered voters are eligible).
Kate Davis, the district CFO, presented the district’s 2021-22 budget to the school board on Wednesday. They will without a doubt be adopting it on July 7. Here is a link to the presentation.
I spoke in response on the need for more social workers, the need for spending on ventilation based on studies conducted in each classroom this past spring, and the need to collect data on the effectiveness of outside agencies who provide mental health services to our students. If you have specific issues you would like to see addressed in the coming year, please email the board this upcoming week.
The election of Director Aaron Garcia, HEA’s endorsed candidate, has added an authentic voice for our BIPOC community to the board. His viewpoint, at times, has been amplified by Dir. Bradford’s. His election to the board has allowed us to get more issues raised as well as helped to address the financial shortcomings of some teamster salaries.
The HEA endorsement for school board candidates will take place in August. It is critical that we ramp up our engagement in local politics in the coming year as these changes provide us the greatest opportunity to influence district decision-making in more than a decade.
I encourage you to participate through one or more actions in these critical local races:
- Join WEAPAC or make an additional contribution.
- Contribute directly to pro-education, pro-labor candidates both in your local school board races (and in city council races).
- Sign up to support pro-education, candidates through door knocking, texting, and phone banking. Here are Saturday’s Details.
- Encourage pro-education, pro-labor Highline residents to apply for the district 4 seat… here is the link again.
- Join the School Board Director endorsement interviews the first week of August. Email Leslie Sokolik if interested.
- Join the MLK KC Labor School Board Director endorsement interviews on September 11. Email Leslie Sokolik if interested.
- Mark your calendar and attend our HEA Labor Picnic on Friday, August 13 (3:30-6:30PM) at Seahurst Park. The Nori Shelter has been reserved for HEA members for the day. Local candidates will be invited to meet our members.
- Consult the Our Voice website when voting to view endorsements as well as to write to your elected officials.
1.Recent HEA Endorsements for Local City Council Races.
Much appreciation to Leslie Sokolik (WEAPAC Chair), Christian Tautua (Exec Board), Joey Thomas (MLK LC Delegate), and Brandice Tranholt (Exec Board) for participating in this process. Their recommendations are below. For endorsement recommendations for all races use the WEA’s Our Voice page.
SeaTac City Council Endorsements (these three candidates are running as a progressive slate):
Iris Guzman (pos. 6)
Ms. Guzman, is social worker and a Rep on the HEA Rep Council. Living and working in SeaTac, she is uniquely positioned to recognize the strengths and act on the needs of SeaTac students, families and educators. Ms. Guzman is an advocate for worker rights, affordable housing, food security and transparency in government decisions. She was actively involved in the previous SeaTac City Council election in which two out of four progressive candidates were elected to the city council and feels more than ready to take on this challenge. Phonebank for Iris this Saturday.
Mohamed Egal (pos. 4)
Mr. Egal is a social worker for King County Superior Court. He arrived in the US as a Somali refugee in the 1990s and has been an active leader in the SeaTac community and the Somali refugee community since then. During the last election cycle HEA supported Mr. Egal as a community member whose voice will reflect the needs of families and small business owners. His experiences as a social worker will guide his decisions in the types of community services SeaTac funds.
Jake Simpson (pos. 2)
Mr. Simpson is a union organize for Unite Here, Local 8. He is a lifelong progressive fighting for the rights of workers and marginalized community members. He has political experience, canvassing for Andrew Lewis’ Campaign and led a field team for Joe Biden (in the general election). This fall, his daughter will start kindergarten at Madrona Elementary. We anticipate reaching out to him for vocal support on school board races, bond and levy campaigns, and the hiring of our next superintendent.
Des Moines City Council Endorsements
Soleil Lewis (pos. 7)
As a former HPS office manager and current educator, she knows our issues and the issues our families face. She currently is a preschool teacher and union member in the Bellevue School District. She has worked as a field organizer for City of Tukwila Councilwoman Kate Kruller as well as a campaign volunteer for Representative Jesse Johnson’s re election. Her volunteer activities also include serving as a policy liaison for NAACP SEA-King County, advocating for policy that uplift Communities of Color in South King.
Gene Achziger (pos. 3)
Mr. Aschziger is a semi-retired journalist. As an active labor member, Mr. Achziger served as president of the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild/CWA during the 2000 Newspaper Strike against the Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He then served as treasurer until the P-I ceased its print publication in 2009. He is an adjunct professor of journalism at Highline College. He believes in the power of community action and is involved on a variety of Des Moines area non-profits. Over the years, he has served on a number of public boards and commissions.
Burien City Council Endorsements
Hugo Garcia (pos. 1)
As graduate of the Highline School District, Mr. Garcia grew up in the White Center area. He currently serves the community by empowering members of marginalized communities by advocating for mental health services, educating small business owners about financing, providing undocumented immigrants with access to small business loans, and advocating for immigrant rights. He has family members who are educators in the HPS and understands the struggles of students and educators. He will bring these voices to the council when addressing citywide issues.
Krystal Marx (pos. 7)
As the incumbent, Ms. Marx has been an active supporter of every progressive issue. During the protracted negotiations over McCleary dollars, she rallied with our educators and even advocated for educator raises with the school board during public comment. Ms. Marx has an open door policy with our union members, allowing us to advocate and to influence city policies that impact our students, families, and our members.
2.CANDIDATE CORNER (watch this space for future candidate statements).
My name is Jennifer Fichamba. I am running for the Highline School Board (Position 2) for three main reasons. First, students and families’ voices need to be at the center of decisions the School Board Directors are making regarding their education. We need to give them agency in the decision process. Second, we must also consider our educators (both teachers & support staff). They are in the buildings and know what our young people need to be successful. Finally, partnering with our local municipalities in an authentic way is essential! We need to build bridges that connect resources to support our students and our families in a genuine way.
Jennifer formerly worked at Evergreen High School as the College and Career Specialist. She currently works as Foster High School’s GEAR Up Coordinator and serves as the Vice-President of the ESP Tukwila Education Association, a classified association within the WEA family.
3. Hosting Student Teachers/ESA Interns for the 22-22 SY.
Last week’s link was broken so please take a few minutes to complete the following Teacher/ESA Mentor Application Form. Then make sure to connect with your building supervisor to let them know you are interested in hosting an Intern. For those who are interested and complete the form
, the HR team will follow-up during this summer with an update and next steps.