Election 2015: Leslie Harris is first to announce a challenge to West Seattle/South Park School Board director Marty McLaren

Though the local political discussion has been dominated by the City Council District 1 race for months, you’ll be voting in many other races this summer/fall – among them, Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors Position 6, representing West Seattle and South Park. Marty McLaren, the Puget Ridge resident first elected four years ago, confirms to WSB that she plans to run for re-election. And her first challenger has come forward today: Leslie Harris, a native West Seattleite and longtime local political activist, who announced via her personal Facebook page, from which we quote with her permission:

My reasons are that we can do so much better for our kids and families and communities.

We need to put more dollars in the classrooms. We need to address the cycles of high stakes testing. We need to address the current and looming capacity crisis. We need to address the decades of maintenance backlogs. We need more transparency and more follow-up to unanswered questions. We need to replicate what is working and move away from failures. We need accountability and leadership. I have attended board and committee meetings at the central office for over 10 years, worked on other Directors’ campaigns and do understand the commitment for what is essentially a volunteer position.

With 30 years active in the Democratic Party, as a District Chair and several years service on the State Democratic Central Committee, State President of my professional association and two terms on its national board, and 13 years of PTSA, several years on a school building leadership team, recent lengthy service on a local contemporary dance company board, over 20 years on community college advisory boards — I understand board policy making functions and fiduciary duty. I know how to read budgets and ask questions and drill down to the critical facts.

Harris, who is a veteran litigation paralegal, says her website will be live by week’s end at harrisforschoolboard.com.

4 Replies to "Election 2015: Leslie Harris is first to announce a challenge to West Seattle/South Park School Board director Marty McLaren"

  • Ivan April 8, 2015 (7:27 am)

    Few people I have met as a Seattle Public Schools parent have put the time and energy into all facets of education policy as Leslie Harris has.

    I was happy to support Marty in her successful effort to unseat Steve Sundquist, but I’ll be happier yet to support Leslie. She operates on a much higher plane. Leslie will raise the effectiveness of the School Board almost immediately.

  • StringCheese April 8, 2015 (10:49 am)

    I am anxious to see someone run who will hold district staff accountable. It is not enough for the School Board to write policy if there is never an intention of holding parties responsible when they are not followed.
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    I am anxious for a Board that isn’t afraid to have a discussion regarding the mandated use of our children’s instructional time for product development for a for-profit company. Really Marty? You can’t even raise your voice to agree to a conversation?
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    Confidence. Lost.
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    I would love to see a Sue Peters or Betty Patu for our region. These intelligent, thoughtful women aren’t afraid to ask the tough questions. They aren’t afraid to challenge those who seek to bully them. They don’t just take what is handed to them at face value. They investigate issues for themselves.
    .
    I remember the last round of elections. I remember Marty standing strong against charters. Now, apparently, the Board is considering applying to become a charter school authorizer…
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    I look forward to reading more about Ms. Harris!

  • rob April 8, 2015 (10:50 am)

    After reading her resume it seems she has been part of the same machine that has been running things the past twenty years. So glad my kids are out of seattle public schools

  • au April 11, 2015 (4:47 am)

    rob, if you mean that she was intensely involved in the process of guiding education to actually be effective than yes, she is part of the same machine, but we all are part of the process aren’t we? it’s just a matter what we do about it, do we agree and promote the status quo, do we work hard to change it or do we, for whatever reasons stay on the sidelines and watch?

    I’ve known Leslie for many years and watched and admired her efforts and work fighting for students and families within the seattle school district. She is hard working, common sense, honest and straight forward.

    If anyone can begin to turn our school district around it will be her.

    Leslie, you definitely have my support.
    ~au

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