Jan Colbrese steps down from Issaquah School Board after more than a decade

December 20, 2011

By Tom Corrigan

By Tom Corrigan Issaquah School District Superintendent Steve Rasmussen was one of the many well-wishers who feted former school board member Jan Colbrese as she attended her last meeting Dec. 14.

Issaquah School District Superintendent Steve Rasmussen was one of the many well-wishers who feted former school board member Jan Colbrese as she attended her last meeting Dec. 14. By Tom Corrigan

Joining the school board was simply a natural progression of earlier involvement with the Issaquah School District for Jan Colbrese.

After 12 years in office, she attended her last meeting of the district school board Dec. 14, at least as a member of the board.

After the meeting, Colbrese said her time on the board really was a combination of her two passions: education and public service.

“It’s everyone’s job to give back to their community,” she said.

Colbrese announced prior to the November election that she would not run for re-election. She was replaced by Bellevue resident Anne Moore, who took her oath of office Dec. 14 along with board members Brian Deagle and Suzanne Weaver.

Moore ran unopposed for Colbrese’s vacated seat. Deagle and Weaver both beat out challengers to win re-election.

Moore is no stranger to the district having served with the PTSA and on various district committees for what she said has been 14 years. Among other activities, Moore has served on bond and levy committees, including the committee that made initial recommendations for a bond question that will be in front of voters next year. Like Colbrese, she has said joining the board feels like a natural progression of her past involvement with the schools.

Neither Colbrese nor Moore made any formal comments during the Dec. 14 meeting. Later, in listing a few of her accomplishments, Colbrese talked about working through district financial problems in some tough economic times. During her tenure on the board, Colbrese said she often found herself frustrated by not having the money to do some things she and other board members felt needed to be done, adding she was especially annoyed by recent “clawbacks” adopted by the state Legislature.

“Clawbacks” are promised dollars taken away in one form or another in the middle of the school year.

“That’s absolutely crazy,” Colbrese said, adding that until recently the Legislature had never before withdrawn allocated funds in midyear.

The board’s move to policy governance was a major change Colbrese mentioned as a step in the correct direction.

Prior to the change in governance styles, Moore said the board often was involved in the day-to-day running of the district, making decisions she feels better were left to professional administrators.

Colbrese has said her decision not to run again was based on a number of reasons, including the fact her children all have graduated from Issaquah schools. With no hesitation, Colbrese recently added her health was also a factor.

While on a vacation, Colbrese ended up in an emergency room battling kidney stones. The doctors also discovered cancer.

So far, Colbrese has not had to go through extensive chemotherapy. She did have a mastectomy and said her prognosis is now very good. She was proud about not missing any board meetings because of health issues.

“I’m very thankful for my health,” she said, adding she hopes those who hear even a small part of her story will not take their own health for granted.

Colbrese served as school board president five times during her years on the board, including this year. For the remainder of this year and for 2012, board members unanimously elected member Chad Magendanz as the new board president.

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

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