Gary Fancher is running for election to the Snoqualmie Valley School District school board (position 4). His response to EEN’s questionnaire is below.
For more information about Gary Fancher:
email: [email protected]
|What was the lightbulb moment that made you decide you wanted to run for school board (election or re-election)?|
|I am a committed father who made a conscious decision three years ago to leave “Corporate America” and become a full-time “Stay at Home Dad.” During this time, I’ve had the opportunity to focus on raising two young sons; engaging in multiple preschool play based and educational activities, as well as introducing them to multiple sports. Halfway during our oldest son’s year in Kindergarten, I realized that nothing substantive has been accomplished to resolve the preparation gap in our school district since first learning about it as the PTSA Legislative Chair in 2010.
Our kids need and deserve high quality learning opportunities that will reduce and prevent early year learning gaps as well as later grades; and ultimately improve the high school graduation rate. My personal passion to ensure a high-quality education for my own kids that will benefit each child in our school district.
|What work or other experiences can you point to that qualifies you for the position?|
|Chairing the North Bend City Planning Commission helped me develop skills such as: leading meetings and public hearings, learning protocol for the Open Public Meetings Act, conducting comparative research, listening to plus advocating for the public and, processing a lot of research, reports and, discussion to determine the best outcome for the greater good.
Past corporate training experience has taught me to speak in a manner that others quickly grasp. Extensive knowledge of policies and procedures enables me to read and write polices and code just like a staff member would do. As Treasurer of our HOA, I have collected up to three years of fees from delinquent residents and secured a positive account balance to pay for future expenses. Outside of the HOA board and regarding dealing with questionably high propane prices, I researched options for propane suppliers and bid out our service; selecting a new and fair priced service provider; reducing propane gallon cost by over 100% compared to the current service. This ultimately saved our homeowners’ and surrounding residents thousands of dollars each year.
|What are your ties to the community and how do you give back to it?|
|A community reaches full potential when the majority of its citizens participate and contribute their talents. With that belief, I actively contribute for the good of our residents and city. This includes:
• City of North Bend Planning Commission (2011-present), Chair and Vice Chair: lead changes on larger low density lots, new larger residential zone, clean water and shoreline protection, cleaner air with diesel idle restrictions, fair and equitable housing efforts, and updated Commission Operational procedures.
• Organized and sponsored the King County Executive Forum at Twins Falls Middle School,
• Founding Secretary of the Upper Snoqualmie Valley Elk Management Group (2009-2010),
• Treasurer and Secretary of our River Ridge Home Owners Association,
• Served as the Legislative Chair for the Opstad Elementary PTSA (2008-2010)
• Big Brother for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound. (2007-2011)
• Served as a member of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team (2000-2004) and Los Angeles Fire Department Community Emergency Response Team.
• Blood Donor
|What does your district do well to help improve student learning? What’s one thing your district can do better to improve outcomes?|
Full Day Kindergarten and, AP course availability, manage a budget, have clean audits, excellent elementary schools with high scoring on assessment tests, music programs are top notch.Improvements
1. Ensure a Safe and Supportive Learning Environment – Work collaboratively with the School Administration and Board to take a stronger stance against selling and using drugs in school to help guide those students towards appropriate counseling resources and a more productive and beneficial future. Assess school prevention and intervention efforts around student behavior, including substance use and violence. Ensure a school culture of acceptance, tolerance and respect. Enhance building safety and security.
2. Listen to the Community – Commit to respecting parent and community involvement in education decisions; value and encourage public participation; promote transparency in all communication; improve collaboration between parents, students, and educators.
3. Focus on Student Success – Remove barriers and improve student access and outcomes in college credit courses while in high school. This helps students be well prepared for college level instruction and can save parents tuition dollars.”
a. Start math and science curriculum pathways in 5th grade, encourage differentiated instruction for the wide range of student abilities and goals.
b. Ensure AP course curriculum instruction aligns with collegiate level progression to properly prepare AP students for success in challenging college courses.
4. Class Size Reduction – Prioritize reducing class sizes in grades K-3 to achieve 17 to 1 student to teacher ratios. Support meaningful class sizes in grades 4 to 12.
5. Add access to world language courses in elementary schools and increase access in middle schools, where early exposure leads to enhance proficiency and academic achievement. (see: https://www.actfl.org/advocacy/what-the-research-shows/studies-supporting#seconddevelopment).
6. Support Teachers and Staff – Ensure competitive market wages and training for Teachers, Administrative, Bus Drivers and all Staff.
7. Find Solutions to the freshman campus issues and resolve them for a productive learning environment.
8. Improve Community Growth Planning – Improve collaboration with city planning efforts to keep pace with our planning for school enrollment and building needs.
|Parent engagement is vital to successful schools. What can your school district do to improve meaningful family engagement, especially for families that find it difficult to engage or don’t see much value in it?|
As a board member, I will bring my same level of commitment demonstrated during service on the Planning Commission. This means actively listening to public testimony, asking the staff to respond or have the chair speak about a topic, or do research to determine if a parent request should be added to the agenda when warranted. A commitment to encouraging parental testimony, rather than promoting silence, values public participation, and encourages future participation, open communication, and dialogue between the school board and parents of school district students.Transparency
Using the Planning Commission model I helped develop, I will advocate for documents to be publicly provided five to seven days in advance of each School Board meeting. This procedure gives the Board and public sufficient time to read materials, think deeply and if deemed necessary conduct research, to provide valuable insight and feedback during public testimony.