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CK School District Candidate Profile: Bruce Richards
List any previous offices held and the number of years in that position.
It has been my honor to serve on the CKSD School Board for the last 10 years. During my time on the board I have served as the president, vice president, and legislative representative. I am currently vice president. I have also served as the chairperson for the Washington State School Director’s Association’s Resolution Committee for the last four years.
What is your vision for education in this community?
My vision for our community and the children of this community is that they have the opportunity to earn a quality education. We have over 10,000 students so it is important to continue to offer new ways to provide a relevant education to all of our students. It is critically important that they have the skills to earn a living wage in a 21st century society. This is all made possible by having a highly skilled workforce that has the necessary tools to provide this education. This includes the drivers who deliver them to school, the staff that keep our grounds and building clean and safe, the staff who provide healthy meals, and the teachers and administrators that deliver the education. It is very much a team effort, and we need all members of our team to be well trained and respected for what they do.
What do you think is expected of you as a board member?
I think that our community expects all the board members to work toward a common goal of providing the best education possible for all our students. This requires respectful listening and working with the other board members and administration to ensure that the money entrusted by the federal, state and local governments is well spent on delivering a quality education. As board members, we are supposed to listen to the community and understand what they like and what they do not like about our schools, and work with each other and the district, to come up with the best solutions possible. There will always be conflicts with what many varied groups may want, but it is our duty to work toward trying to satisfy our communities wants and needs, and meeting all the required state and federal laws placed on school districts. I also believe that as school board members we need to keep current what is going on in education in other districts and other states to learn from what best practices are being used elsewhere.
What do you believe are the biggest issues facing your district’s community?
Our biggest challenges are providing the wide variety of educational needs to an increasingly wide variety of students. State and federal requirements force educators to work to meet these requirements, but we also need to ensure that we are teaching our students to think and solve problems that have real-world applications. While not every student is going to attend a four-year university, every student needs to be prepared to be able to complete some post high school training to prepare them for earning a living wage job. It does not matter if you plan on attending college, attend a trade school, join the military or just enter the work force. You need to be able to be trainable, so that you can provide your employer with a valuable employee.
What are your thoughts on the ninth graders possibly moving up to the high school level?
I believe that now is the time to move the ninth graders into the high school buildings. Their grades count for high school graduation, but many students in our three junior high school buildings don’t always feel that way since they are not in the high school building. It also provides many extra opportunities for students to take additional classes that they might not be able to take due to the distance the students are from their high school building. This is not a problem at our secondary school that houses seventh to 12th, and less of a problem at Central Kitsap Junior High due to the close proximity to CK High School. But Ridgetop Junior High and Fairview Junior High require transportation to a high school for students to take advanced classes. Moving students up has not always been an option due to space limitations, but due to the declining enrollment that our district has faced, there is an opportunity to make the move and not be over crowded in our two high schools. With a larger student population there is also the opportunity to offer more classes in each building.