Sarah Clark and Joe Mizrahi are the new directors on the Seattle Public Schools Board, replacing two who resigned earlier this year.

Sarah Clark
Sarah Clark (Seattle Public Schools)

Clark, director of policy for the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, will represent District 2, which includes the area from Magnolia Interbay to Loyal Heights to Green Lake. A graduate of Garfield High School and the University of Washington, Clark lives in Crown Hill and mentors students at Ballard High School. Board members said Clark would be the only graduate of the Seattle Public Schools system on the Board, and also cited her lived experience as a student of color and her work experience with policy as factors in her selection. Clark was selected from a field of 11 candidates.

Mizrahi, secretary/treasurer of UFCW 3000, will represent District 4, which includes the area from

Joe Mizrahi
Joe Mizrahi (Seattle Public Schools)

Downtown up through Queen Anne to Fremont. Mizrahi has three children in Seattle Public Schools and his wife is principal of an elementary school in Bellevue. He said his parents taught special education in San Diego and created programs around student inclusion and access. Board members cited his understanding of the Board’s role and his involvement in his neighborhood schools as factors in his selection. Mizrahi was selected from a field of four candidates.

Clark and Mizrahi both will be up for election in November 2025. 

Former school directors Vivian Song and Lisa Rivera, who moved out of their districts, vacated their positions in January. The resignations came after The Seattle Times raised questions about Song living outside her school board district. 

The Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors is scheduled to appoint new members on Wednesday to replace two who resigned earlier this year after moving out of the districts that they represented.

The school district held a forum with the finalists from director districts 2 and 4 last week. The forum was posted to the district’s YouTube channel for board meetings. District 2 includes the area from Magnolia Interbay to Loyal Heights to Green Lake. District 4 includes the area from Downtown up through Queen Anne to Fremont.

Both seats will be up for election in November 2025. 

Former school directors Vivian Song and Lisa Rivera vacated their positions in January after The Seattle Times raised questions about Song’s residency in her school board district. Song and Rivera said they were in compliance with state law, but both resigned to avoid “unnecessary distraction,” according to their joint statement.

The Seattle Public Schools Board is scheduled to evaluate the finalists in an executive session scheduled before the regular public board meeting on Wednesday. The regular board meeting starts at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence, 2445 Third Avenue South in Seattle. The newly appointed directors are expected to take the oath of office at 5 p.m, Thursday. 

Correction: This article originally had an incorrect date for the oath of office. The article was corrected on April 4, 2024.

A school district admnistration building
Seattle Public Schools’ SoDo headquarters, in an undated file photo. (Matt M. McKnight/Cascade PBS File)

Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal now has two challengers for the 2024 race to run Washington’s education department.

Reid Saaris, who started national education nonprofit Equal Opportunity Schools, announced his run on Wednesday, joining former state Rep. Brad Klippert, a Republican from Kennewick, who registered with the PDC and launched a campaign website earlier this year.  They both challenge Reykdal, who announced a bid for a third term earlier this year.

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction oversees state school budgets and statewide education policies. It is a nonpartisan position.

Reykdal, Klippert and Saaris are so far the only people who have registered with the state Public Disclosure Commission, which enforces state campaign finance laws, including reporting contributions and expenditures. The official candidate declaration period for the 2024 election starts next May.

Saaris, who grew up in Bellevue, was a teacher in South Carolina before spending 10 years heading the nonprofit that helped students of color and low-income students enroll in advanced high school courses. On his website, Saaris said his priorities include focusing on tutoring opportunities, student mental health, post-high school education and career development.

Reykdal, who had served on the Tumwater School Board and in the state Legislature before being elected state superintendent in 2016, said his priorities in his third term include increasing support for student mental health, expanding technical education, providing universal access to school meals and fully funding education.

Klippert, who left the state Legislature in 2022 for an unsuccessful bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, said he would focus on providing more school choices, including some charter schools and online schools; re-examining the state school funding formula; and increasing transparency in school curricula and budgets.

Correction: Feb. 20, 2024. An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the date of the filing period of the 2024 election.

The Cashmere School District has committed to bystander intervention training for faculty and students, as well as to other anti-harassment programs, after an independent investigation found students at Cashmere High School harassed a Black classmate using racial slurs at school and in a group Snapchat.

In a Crosscut story that ran last month, the student who made the complaint talked about a pattern of harassment and racist language over many months both at school and in a group chat with multiple classmates.

Four students had been disciplined for discriminatory harassment, including the use of racial slurs, according to the school district. An allegation that a staff member failed to respond or address the behavior was “not substantiated.”

District administrators outlined the results of the investigation and its plans for the future in a letter to the community.

The two-page letter read in part “We have committed to making this unfortunate incident a learning opportunity where we can all elevate our awareness, grow and be better,” and was signed by Superintendent Glenn Johnson, Cashmere High School Principal Craig McKenzie, and other district and school administrators.

Separately from the student’s individual complaint, Cashmere community members also told Crosscut they had ongoing concerns about the school atmosphere, citing one student who wore a Confederate flag as a cape at the annual Senior Parade and students who tore down the high school’s Equity Club posters, which bore a rainbow Pride symbol and messages of inclusion and acceptance.

The student, who graduated in June, said he filed the complaint because he hoped the school would do more for future students about combating bullying and racist and bigoted language.

In its letter to the community, the district’s action items included providing professional development around inclusion and diversity; focusing a student-produced public service video on anti-bullying on language and bystander intervention; and developing a school improvement plan in August around well-being, belonging, and safety with student leaders and staff members.

Chinook citizens get free tuition at Clatsop Community College

Until now, free college tuition programs have not been offered to tribes like the Chinook Indian Nation that do not have federal recognition.

Several states offer free college tuition for Indigenous students from federally recognized Native nations. For nations like the Chinook Indian Nation who have been fighting for federal recognition for the past 20 years, these higher-education opportunities have been denied, until recently. 

Clatsop Community College announced on May 6 at the North Coast Inclusion Seminar that they would be the first higher-education institute within the Chinook Indigenous lands to grant free tuition to the nation.

“I saw no other option.” Chris Breitmeyer, president of Clatsop Community College in Astoria, Oregon, said in a press release. 

“Knowing that hundreds of tribes are receiving these incredible opportunities while the Chinook Indian Nation is left to fend for themselves should upset every single Oregonian,” Breitmeyer said. “It is our responsibility to do better by our indigenous communities, and we are proud to support the Chinook Indian Nation in this way. We know we have done the right thing, and encourage other higher-ed institutions to follow suit.”

Chinook leadership believes that local support for the Chinook Indian Nation is pivotal to their continued efforts for federal recognition, and is grateful to Clatsop Community College for prioritizing Chinook citizens and respecting the nation’s sovereignty. 

“Clatsop Community College has made a significant commitment to honoring our place within the community, reaffirming our status as an active tribe, and supporting our members as they work to cultivate better futures for themselves,” said Rachel Cushman, secretary/treasurer of the Chinook Indian Nation Tribal Council. She called the college’s decision a move toward building economic security for her people. 

The Chinook Indian Nation hopes that other higher-education institutions in Washington and Oregon will follow the lead of the University of Oregon (which offers a similar program) and Clatsop Community College to treat them with the same respect and offer the same opportunities as federally recognized nations.