Issaquah School Board member Brian Deagle sees ‘more work to do’ ahead

October 18, 2011

By Tom Corrigan

“I still think we have more work to do,” said Issaquah School Board member Brian Deagle regarding why he decided to seek re-election to the board seat he has held since late 2006.

Brian Deagle

On the November ballot, Deagle faces a challenge for his District 3 board seat from fellow Sammamish resident Patrick Sansing.

District 3 covers the north end of the school district including parts of Klahanie and parts of the portion of Sammamish included in the Issaquah School District. Although candidates run for a specific geographic seat, voters district wide cast ballots for all Issaquah school board members. Members are elected to four-year terms.

Deagle said his main goal is to give Issaquah school graduates assurances that they are prepared to enter the world, ready for whatever comes after high school.

“We have fallen short of that in a number of ways because of we are limited by our resources,” Deagle said.

He added finances dictate teacher availability, which in turn dictates and limits what classes the schools can offer.

In order to offer additional educational opportunities, Deagle proposed such measures as online learning which can “put more hours into the day” and isn’t as teacher intensive.

In addition to dealing with academic shortfalls caused by a tough financial climate, Deagle said the district could do a better job helping students reach their individual potential. In evaluating students, he thinks the schools might depend too much on standardized tests that he believes do not necessarily measure individual performance or potential.

Deagle said that on paper, Issaquah school students seem to do pretty well academically. But he wondered out loud whether the district is lucky enough to have exceptional students, well-prepared for schools by their families, or whether the district is that good at educating.

What to know

Brian Deagle

Family: Married, two children

Education: Law degree, University of Washington

Employment: Attorney, Microsoft

Experience: Appointed to board October 2006; elected November 2007

Residence: Sammamish

“I think that’s a question we can do a better job of answering,” he said.

Deagle said he believes district money problems all go back to the failure of the Legislature to live up to its responsibilities. He said the state has never made education its priority as the state constitution requires.

Better state funding of education would put strains elsewhere in Washington’s budget, Deagle said, but added legislators have a duty to uphold the constitution. He also added that the Issaquah board is under pressure to keep the schools in good shape, that the public has high expectations of local schools.

As board President Jan Colbrese has decided not to run for re-election, Deagle said he would be the longest tenured board member remaining if he were re-elected.

“When I came on the board, I was surprised by how much I didn’t know,” Deagle said. “I worked hard to fill in the blanks.”

Although he didn’t say so, if Deagle and board member Suzanne Weaver both earn re-election, Deagle would be the senior member of the board by a matter of months. Deagle was appointed to the board in October 2006, while Weaver was appointed in January 2007.

Go to Deagle’s election webpage at www.votedeagle.org.

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

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