school lockers

Seattle School Board

Go to: Seattle City Elections | King County Elections | Vote by Seattle Issue | Main Page

Find election results here. The first results will be posted at about 8 p.m. on Nov. 2, with daily afternoon updates until results are certified by Nov. 23. 

If you're here, you already are or aspire to be an informed voter. Below, you'll find articles that will help you get your bearings on why these upcoming elections are important.

This guide won't tell you who to vote for, but should help you make the choice for yourself. We're a nonprofit so we don't make political endorsements of any kind. What we do is publicly driven journalism. To create this guide, we asked our readers what they want to know before voting this year. Then we asked the candidates your questions. Those answers will make up the meat of this guide. The potatoes are tips and links that will help you do things like register to vote and turn in your ballot, as well as learn about Washington's unique systems.

Crosscut adapted the Citizens Agenda style of election reporting this year, inviting our readers to take an active role in the process by telling us what they want the candidates to discuss as they compete for their votes.

If you want to read all our election coverage, find it here

What's at stake

With the challenge of hiring another new superintendent ahead of them, the Seattle School Board is looking at a contest that might be a little more interesting — and important — than previously expected. The school board is also responsible for the district budget, which could be complicated because of the pandemic and its economic fallout. Politics and parents also keep these volunteers on their toes, particularly around COVID-19 protocols. As the overseer of the largest school district in the state, the board serves about 53,000 students.

District No. 4

4 years

The job: The school board member in this district represents Magnolia, Queen Anne and Ballard.

Vivian Song Maritz

Vivian Song Maritz

Vivian Song Maritz has a master’s degree in business administration and works in the finance industry. She is a PTA volunteer and serves on the superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council. She wants to bring her financial abilities to the district to help improve budgeting, while working on equity issues. Maritz is a child of immigrants and started school as an English as a second language student. She says a public school teacher identified her hearing disability and helped her get the support she needed. She is the first woman in her family to graduate from college.

Laura Marie Rivera

Laura Marie Rivera

Laura Marie Rivera has a master’s in education and has worked in education and the performing arts, teaching in schools, museums and other settings. She is a PTA volunteer and wants more transparency about the policy and governance of the school district. She also advocates for accessibility for students of all abilities and prioritizes Black, Indigenous and people of color voices in school communications. She advocates for both college prep and career-based education. She has four children in school.

District No. 5

4 years

The job: The school board member in this district represents Capitol Hill, Chinatown-International District, First Hill, Leschi, Madison, downtown and the Central Area.

Dan Harder

Dan Harder

Dan Harder is a mechanical engineer who thinks the Legislature and the school district’s approach to teaching anti-racism will offer students a “gross mischaracterization of past discrimination and current disparities,” and will spread lies throughout the public school system. He says the problems in Seattle Public Schools can be traced to bad policy, not racism

Michelle Sarju

Michelle Sarju

Michelle Sarju has a master’s of social work and has trained and worked as a midwife. She now works for Public Health — Seattle and King County and is focusing her campaign on educational equity. She says that while COVID-19 has pushed students and families into survival mode, the deficiencies in Seattle Public Schools, particularly for Black students and other students of color, go back a lot further. She wants to see the district invest in anti-racist curriculum and employ evidence-based ways of monitoring student success.

District No. 7

4 years

The job: The school board member in this district represents south Seattle, everywhere south of Interstate 90 except West Seattle.

Genesis Williamson

Genesis did not submit a bio or photo for the county voters’ pamphlet and, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission, has filed a “discontinued campaign” report.  

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Brandon K. Hersey

Brandon K. Hersey

Brandon Hersey was appointed to the school board in September 2019 after Betty Patu left the board. He is a resident of Rainier Beach and an educator in the Federal Way School District. He is the only educator on the school board and says that gives him insights into the impact a school system can have on a child’s life. Hersey says COVID-19 has widened Seattle’s “already staggering opportunity gap” and is calling on the district to do better for Black and brown children and for those from other marginalized communities.

Get the latest in election news

In the weeks leading up to each election (and occasionally during the legislative session), Crosscut's Election newsletter will provide you with everything you need to know about races, candidates and policy in WA state.

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Who is involved in this round of election reporting at Crosscut?

News and politics editor Donna Gordon Blankinship and reporters David Kroman and Melissa Santos.

The questions we asked candidates came from you, the voters. 

When we debuted Crosscut’s Seattle and King County Voter Guide ahead of the August primary, we wanted local voters at the heart of it. That’s why we asked you for your questions about housing and homelessness, policing, public safety, taxes and urban planning, which we sent directly to the candidates who are seeking your vote.

After Seattle and King County voters narrowed the choices, Crosscut’s audience engagement team collected a second round of reader questions for candidates running for Seattle mayor, city council and city attorney. More than 200 people sent in their suggestions and we picked the most popular questions and themes and passed them along to the candidates. Their answers are featured in the issues section of this voter guide.

While we can’t tell you who to vote for, we want to get you the information you need to decide which candidate best aligns with your values.