Saturday, March 08, 2008

who is John Keeffe?

This is the third in a three-part series*, introducing you to the three applicants for the District 2 seat on the Olympia School Board, which was vacated when Rich Nafziger resigned.

The series goes in reverse alphabetical order, wrapping up before March 12, when the candidates will face questions in a "community forum environment."

A longtime Olympia resident, John Keeffe is the only current applicant with previous Board experience, having served from 1991 to 2003. He knows firsthand how difficult the job is, so why would he want to come back, especially when the district faces tough times? In his own words (via email):
I created a job resume recently and I thought a lot about what my passion was in relation to work I wanted to do. I found that the place that would give me the most satisfaction is a job that is at the intersection of government and the public. The 12 years I was on the Board previously, as well as the 30 years I worked for the Post Office, and my work with Parking Services allowed me to be in that intersection in a number of different ways. The School Board was in some ways the most rewarding because it was all about kids. When Rich left the Board and the position became available I thought about whether I could or wanted to do it again. After a lot of internal dialogue, and conversations with family and friends, I felt that this was a place that fit my job goal and where I could have a positive impact in my community.
Among other things, in his remarks to the Board on March 5th, Keeffe lists concerns about graduation requirements: taken individually, the WASL, Culminating Project, and extra math requirements might be worthy, but when taken together, they endanger electives, which Keeffe regards as essential for a well-rounded high school education.

Keeffe sees the current budget crisis as an opportunity to prioritize district spending in line with our strategic plan, and a time to scale back expectations for growth. He also believes that, along with its local obligations, the Board should advocate for change at the state level.

You can listen to Keefe's opening statement starting at 6:05 in [mp3]. His answers to specific questions are interspersed among those of the other applicants.

*A fourth, Kevin Douglas Donahoe, has already been removed from consideration.

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