Suzanne Weaver focuses on students as board member

October 11, 2011

By Tom Corrigan

During her four years on the job, Issaquah School Board member and Sammamish resident Suzanne Weaver said that the board has done a worthy job of keeping its focus on student achievement and success.

Suzanne Weaver

“It’s work that I enjoy and I want to continue doing it,” Weaver said of serving on the board.

Holding the District 5 seat, Weaver is being challenged in the November election by Issaquah resident Brian Neville.

District 5 includes the northwest corner of Issaquah around Lake Sammamish as well as parts of the city of Sammamish. Although board candidates run for a specific geographic seat, voters from across the district cast ballots for all Issaquah School Board members. Members are elected to four-year terms.

Board members may request pay of $50 per meeting, but the current board has chosen not to accept that money, according to Sara Niegowski, district executive director of communications.

Even as she praised the district for keeping students center stage in a time of massive financial distractions, Weaver said leaders need to deal with those financial hurdles.

“It’s frustrating,” Weaver said. “Every time we start to deal with an issue and make some headway, we suddenly have to figure a way to pay for it.”

As one example, Weaver pointed to discussions about closing the achievement gap that historically has affected minority students, adding that is an issue that is not going to just go away. But, again, neither are financial constraints.

“I don’t think Olympia is going to make it easier any time soon,” Weaver added regarding school finances.

While at least one board member expressed concern the public may perceive that school officials have been aiming too high regarding capital improvements, Weaver doesn’t think that is the case.

What to know

Suzanne Weaver

Family: Married, two children

Education: MBA in finance, University of California, Berkeley

Employment: Stay-at-home parent

Experience: Appointed to board January 2007; elected November 2007

Residence: Sammamish

“I think our community has high standards,” Weaver said, adding that is exactly is as it should be.

While completed reconstruction has been getting some attention, Weaver said work at Issaquah High School came in under budget.

“It’s a beautiful facility,” she said, stating quality does not cost that much more than serviceable and probably saves the district money in the long run.

She added the school serves more than one purpose for the community, but obviously, especially students.

“It’s not just reading, writing and arithmetic … I think we got a lot of bang for our buck,” she said.

Weaver’s website lists what she believes to be some of her accomplishments since joining the school board. The hiring of Superintendent Steve Rasmussen in July 2008 tops the list.

Other achievements claimed include the repurposing of dollars to pay for expansion work at Issaquah and Skyline high schools. That work allowed the district to revamp the Pacific Cascade campus into a full-fledged middle school, relieving what Weaver describes as crowding at other facilities.

Visit Weaver’s website at www.weaverforschoolboard.com.

Tom Corrigan: 392-6434, ext. 241, or tcorrigan@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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