New board member discusses top issues

November 25, 2008

By Chantelle Lusebrink

Chad Magendanz New school board memberChad Magendanz New school board member

Chad Magendanz was sworn in as an Issaquah School Board member Nov. 12 and hit the ground running by attending the Washington State School Director’s Association conference Nov. 18-22.

Despite his hectic conference schedule, he took time to answer some questions from The Press.

Q: Why are you passionate about education?

A: I believe the strength of the United States is not the gold at Fort Knox or our weapons of mass destruction, but the total of the education and character of our people.

Q: What educational issue do you wish to tackle as a board member?

A: I believe the most critical issue is the impending education-funding crisis, which will be exacerbated in Issaquah because of our lower per-student funding and lower levy lid compared to neighboring districts. Some tough decisions will need to be made to ensure we remain financially sound and invest our limited resources where they will have the most benefit for our students, particularly when under pressure to match pay raises received this year by the Bellevue and Seattle school districts.

Q: Favorite Crayola color?

A: Atomic Tangerine

Q: Coke or Pepsi?

A: Pepsi. Even better, Mountain Dew Code Red.

Q: Hobbies?

A: I enjoy sailing on windy days and sculling on calm ones. You’ll also see me at all the local triathlons.

Q: Favorite school memory?

A: As salutatorian, I risked the ire of our senior adviser and principal by taking some creative liberties with my graduation speech, adopting a style that I felt resonated better with the students. It was the only speech to receive a standing ovation.

Q: Favorite school lunch?

A: Salad, because you were only limited by what you could hold on a plate. Particularly during the swim season, I was burning through calories like crazy.

Q: Favorite subject in school?

A: Well, there was this redhead. I really couldn’t take my eyes off her.

Q: What is something you wish you had tried out for or done in school but didn’t? Why?

A: Honestly, I’m just glad that I wasn’t caught doing a lot of what I did in school. However, I do regret never having run for student council.

Q: How do you believe education has impacted your life?

A: My modest rural public education provided the basic tools I needed to realize the American Dream. It enabled me to pay my own way through Cornell and was an important catalyst for my success in the Navy and at Microsoft.

Q: I’m a parent. How will you represent my child and me?

A: With integrity and transparency. While what’s best for our children isn’t always what’s best for every child, I will ensure we thoroughly research tough issues and, whenever possible, let the data speak for itself. Our policies and procedures will be obvious and open. No surprises.

Q: What do you believe will be the most challenging issue facing students upon graduation in the next five years?

A: I’ve seen firsthand the exceptional work ethic in developing nations who are providing a steady stream of world-class technical workers to the job market. They’re hungry to prove they can compete. And unless we can respond in kind, with educational programs that match their technical abilities and play to our cultural strengths, such as creative problem solving and innovative design, our most desirable high-tech jobs will continue to be outsourced.

Reach Reporter Chantelle Lusebrink at 392-6434, ext. 241, or

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