Incumbent VanDenburgh says he has unfinished business

Education has changed a lot since Bob VanDenburgh was in school.

“It was rote memorization — not high-level cognitive skills. Now you have to analyze a problem, not just come up with a memorized answer,” he said.

He gives the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) some of the credit for prompting the change, although he is not convinced the test is a finished product.

VanDenburgh is running for a second term on the Central Kitsap School Board — he said unfinished business encouraged him to do so.

Much of his time during his first term on the board was spent learning the ropes, he said, and he hopes to contribute a second term now that he is more seasoned.

“We’ve got a big levy coming up and the district has a lot to do to get ready for the certificate of mastery,” said VanDenburgh, school board president.

A certificate of mastery, earned by meeting state standards on the WASL, likely will be a graduation requirement by the end of the decade.

VanDenburgh served in the Navy for 20 years. And during that time he got a bachelor’s degree in workforce education from Southern Illinois University and a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Chapman University.

During his time in the Navy, VanDenburgh often worked swing shifts — which allowed him to volunteer in schools.

“I was like the class mom, except I was a dad,” VanDenburgh joked.

The role of a school board in the community is to be accessible, and be responsive to people’s concerns, he said.

As far as challenges the board faces in the upcoming years, VanDenburgh said the most immediate concern is passing the maintenance and operations levy in order to retain state matching funds and federal heavy impact funding.

“In the mid-range of two to three years, we have decisions to make about the conditions of school buildings (like Tracyton Elementary, Seabeck Elementary and Central Kitsap Junior High schools). In five to eight years we’ll be getting ready for the 10th grade WASL,” VanDenburgh said.

If re-elected, VanDenburgh’s personal goals on the board are to continue as president, and to help the new board member become acclimated as quickly as possible.

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