School board candidates answer our questions for you


October 18, 2023

Photo of John Agen

Candidate John Agen, School Board

Candidates responded to these issues:

1. School District's greatest strengths.

2. Curriculum and policies valuing student voices.

3. Schools' unique features to maintain.

4. How to best support Superintendent Will Nelson.

5. High school's future if enrollment remains low.

6. Your experiences and qualities.

John Agen

1. Community: La Conner has a long history of great support for our students and schools.

Diversity: We have a wonderful blend that includes significant numbers of Native, Hispanic and Caucasian students and lesser numbers of other backgrounds.

Teaching/Professional/Support Staff: The teacher role spans from long tenured alums, to a relative newcomer from New York, Ms .Huscher, who has already won recognition statewide. Many of our staff have willingly accepted greater duties due to budget constraints.

2. The board meets twice a year with students to gain insight and give students a voice into our policies.

In addition, we added a topic to our monthly board meeting for our student reps to share ideas with us around a specific policy.

The District policy regarding equity, also part of our strategic plan. The board recently added a second student representative. These reps are tasked with bringing student issues and ideas for improvement to the elected board.

3. I would hope the aforementioned community support for students and the District will continue. The close relationships between teachers and students was a meaningful part of my years in the District. It continues today and I presume it will be maintained. Tribal input and traditions have grown as a part of our District and I believe that will only expand.

4. First, I will say Will Nelson has had the foresight to implement Universal Design for Learning which encourages teachers to utilize various methods to teach those having a difficult time learning via a single path. We support the superintendent with suggestions and offers to counsel/mentor in areas where he has less experience. His greatest growth is coming through experience.

5.I believe the question is impertinent and probably irrelevant at this time. We have a 2023-24 budget that will begin to correct the deficit with which we entered. The District can function financially with slightly fewer than 500 students as we are this year. If you must ask "What is the rationale for La Conner High School?" you have failed to recognize the spirit of the La Conner/Swinomish community.

6.A deep passion for seeing every student in our District receive a solid, if not exceptional education. Involvement in the community - as a school board member, scholarship board member, assistant coach in football and basketball, and a supporter of our arts. I am an alum and longtime community member. I believe my judgement and professionalism can help provide excellence in education through equity, respect, accountability and integrity.

Janie Beasley

1. I believe the three greatest strengths of the La Conner School District are: the parents, who want the best education that their children can get, so they are very supportive and involved; the staff are committed to their students and providing the best education they can; and the administrative staff and board for finding the best education and best solutions for any shortcoming or issues that come up.

2. I believe policies and curriculum address basic level education standards, but we also offer the Since Time Immemorial Curriculum, native language and culture classes; Between Two Worlds Science Classes, as well, and student reps on the school board, so the students have a voice to address and voice their concerns re: positive and negative impacts.

3. The Since Time Immemorial Curriculum is required, on a broad scale, but we have a relationship with the tribal community and can develop a more personal connection with tribal history, which I believe we should. As stated previously, the culture and language are important and history of why those values were taken from our ancestors. Between Two Worlds is a fairly new program, continuing and developing that program is invaluable, we all need to learn how to Protect Mother Earth.

4. It is the job of the board to know and assist Dr. Will Nelson implement policies, but we also need to support him in all the aspects of his job, regarding staff and day-to-day activities in the schools.

Photo of Janie Beasley

Candidate Janie Beasley, School Board

5. Possibly doing an in-depth study of the reason for lower enrollment and looking into what the school can do to foster relationships with the community in order to address any issues or concerns. Is it COVID-19; is it homeschooling or running start; is it relationship building; is it not meeting the needs of students?

6. I served on the school board for 15 years, I am on the Skagit Valley College Foundation Board; La Conner Young Life; Leadership Skagit Curriculum Committee; WE Ignite board; Salvation Army Board. I am a graduate of La Conner High School, I have a very large family and that makes it personal for me to want the best for my family and my community. I am very involved in my tribal community, as well as the community as a whole.


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