Who’s running for the Seattle School Board?

Here are the people who want to oversee the largest school district in the state

A married couple, naval architect and just one incumbent were among the 12 people vying for the four open seats on the Seattle School Board this fall. The August 6 primary culled the list to seven candidates.

This election will decide who represents North and West Seattle areas, but Seattle voters living outside those areas can still vote in every race on Nov. 6. (In District 2, Lisa Rivera Smith will appear unopposed on the November ballot.)


Read our complete coverage of the 2019 Seattle School Board elections


View the School Board districts map.

Reporting by Dahlia Bazzaz, Seattle Times staff reporter. Published June 5, 2019 | Updated October 8, 2019

District 3

Chandra Hampson, 49

Independent consultant

Hampson is a mother of two students at Sand Point Elementary who works as a community and economic development consultant. She served as the Seattle Council PTSA president from 2018 to 2019.

Why are you running? From special education to funding for nurses and counselors, Seattle schools face serious challenges. As an education advocate and president of the Seattle Council PTSA, I've delivered results for our children without ever losing sight of the importance of social justice. As your School Board member, I will bring my expertise in finance and budgeting to help our schools navigate their financial future. Together, we can build schools that prepare our students for success in an ever-expanding world.

What is your biggest priority? From expanding the district’s cultural and linguistic programs to addressing racial and economic disparities in our schools, I believe more equitable schools foster a stronger society.

Money raised: $25,219.83

Money spent: $17,790.41

Debt: $5,000.00

Largest donor: Colin Hampson, Patrick Shannon, Alma Medina, William A. Shannon

Voted in last school levy election: Yes

Residential area: Windermere

electchandra.org

District 1

Eric Blumhagen, 43

Naval architect

Blumhagen is a father of two who works as a naval architect at Hockema Whalen Myers Associates. He has served on the PTA and PTO boards for Loyal Heights Elementary and Ingraham High School, and worked on the 2019 campaign to approve Seattle school levies.

Why are you running? I am running to improve accountability and to spread successful programs. The district needs to follow its policy and the law to provide students with an appropriate education. For example, many students have difficulty getting the district to approve special education services. We also need to identify successful programs and practices in our schools and replicate them in other schools so that all students benefit.

What is your biggest priority? Replicate successful programs to close opportunity gaps, increase equity, and improve educational outcomes.

Money raised: $15,148.95

Money spent: $14,820.10

Debt: $0.00

Largest donor: Himself

Voted in last school levy election: Yes

Residential area: Loyal Heights

www.ericblumhagen.com

District 1

Liza Rankin, 40

Artist

Rankin is a mother of two students at Wedgwood Elementary School. She is an education advocate and school volunteer.

Why are you running? I'm running to further my current work as a volunteer advocate in SPS. The district needs to be accountable for providing safe and welcoming environments for all kids, and needs to support the goals of the new Strategic Plan. I have the experience at all levels of advocacy and the community connections to be well-equipped to work from day one on improving our system for all kids.

What is your biggest priority? My biggest priority is ensuring that all students have equitable access and opportunity, and can benefit from the best things our district has to offer in reaching their personal and academic goals.

Money raised: $18,698.89

Money spent: $15,438.06

Debt: $2,200.00

Largest donor: Washington State Democrats

Voted in last school levy election: Yes

Residential area: Meadowbrook - Lake City

elizasrankin.com

District 6

Leslie Harris (incumbent), 61

Paralegal

Harris is a mother and foster parent who works as a litigation paralegal for Campiche Arnold PLLC. She is the Seattle School Board president. Before she was first elected to the District 6 seat in 2015, she worked on the Schools First campaign in support of district levies.

Why are you running? To continue the good work we have accomplished to do more: hired a new superintendent; worked on and approved a new five-year strategic plan that focuses on equity and operations and targets closing the opportunity and achievement gaps; considerably increased transparency of the district's decisions; implemented new curriculum; increased professional development opportunities and pay for our staff and teachers; made high-needs schools a priority of our BEX 5 Capital Budget Levy; signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Seattle to work together for capital needs. My background prior to being on the Board as a parental advocate and 35 years as a litigation paralegal for victims and my last four years of service have given me a rare historical institutional knowledge for this position and the skills to bring change.

What is your biggest priority? What I ran on four years ago: trust, transparency, and equity.

Money raised: $9,962.80

Money spent: $5,190.78

Debt: $0.00

Largest donor: Washington State Democrats

Voted in last school levy election: Yes

Residential area: Roxhill

www.Harrisforschoolboard.com

District 6

Molly E. Mitchell, 43

Program director

Mitchell is a mother of a Fairmount Park Elementary School student and works as the director of student support programs at Seattle Central College. She hosts monthly parent equity meetings in West Seattle.

Why are you running? I’m running because I believe in our students, our teachers and our families. I believe we can work together to create a more equitable school system and as an educator for over 20 years that has centered equity I believe I can add voice to the board that assists to advance policies and procedures that can improve outcomes for all students.

What is your biggest priority? My biggest priority is addressing the opportunity gap and equitable funding.

Money raised: $11,818.34

Money spent: $8,598.00

Debt: $1,857.21

Largest donor: Washington State Democrats

Voted in last school levy election: Yes

Residential area: High Point

https://mitchell4schoolboard.com/

District 3

Rebeca Muñiz, 27

Education policy researcher

Muñiz is a former program coordinator for the Division of Public Behavioral Health and Justice Policy at the University of Washington, where she earned her master's in Education Policy and Leadership. While she was a student, she conducted research on the district's racial equity initiatives.

Why are you running? As a daughter of Mexican immigrants, I grew up watching my mother struggle to find work and resources for our family. I lived with instability while moving from school to school and did so with classmates that didn’t look like me or share my experiences. These experiences strengthened my resolve, and led me towards wanting to improve education policy and a graduate degree from the UW. Now I am committed to being a leader for our youth, and serving those who are struggling.

What is your biggest priority? I want to implement policies that will establish racial equity.

Money raised: $3,799.22

Money spent: $5,289.25

Debt: $0.00

Largest donor: Herself

Voted in last school levy election: No

Residential area: Roosevelt

www.electmuniz.com

District 2

Lisa Rivera Smith, 41

Stay-at-home mom

Smith is a mother of three and a former newspaper reporter and freelance writer. She served on the PTSA board for Hamilton International Middle School and is co-president of the Lincoln High School PTSA.

Why are you running? Seattle students deserve the best, and yet time after time, funding falls short, voices are left out and inequities continue. Still, Seattle Public Schools has the potential to rise to the challenge and provide a great education for all of our city’s children. I am running because I’m a proven leader and problem solver who’s not afraid to face these challenges head on, seeking solutions from every corner. I will be a champion for the entire community, on the Seattle School Board.

What is your biggest priority? My priority will be to follow through with our district’s promise to “place the interests of students above all others in every decision we make.” This should be the guiding principle behind everything we do, and I will work to make sure of it.

Money raised: $0.00

Money spent: $0

Debt: $0

Largest donor: N/A

Voted in last school levy election: No

Residential area: University District

www.LisaRiveraSmith.com