There are three Kenai Peninsula Borough School Board seats up for grabs during the municipal election to be held Tuesday.
Daniel Castimore and D. Shawn Hutchings are both looking toward the three-year terms represent the Kalifornsky area.
Castimore works as an IT manager for the City of Kenai. In his candidate statement, he said he is familiar with local schools having attended and graduated from the district, and his parents are both retired teachers from the district.
As technology and distance education continue to evolve and become a bigger part of education, he feels his experience will help him provide a unique perspective to the district.
Castimore said he would also like to see more technology in the school board meetings.
“I have no reason to question the makeup of the current board. While I may not always agree with some of the things they do, that would be the case with any elected body. I would like to see the district expand access to the board meetings using technology such as web video streaming and video conferencing,” he said in an email.
As for his vision, Castimore would like to see more real-world options for students.
“As a parent, I want to make sure that my children are given the best educational opportunities that are possible. I want to make sure that rather than just preparing our students to go on to college we also prepare them for life. When I was a student in this district the only path that was available was one to higher education, with no discussion of vocational training. We no longer offer drivers education, even though more teenagers are killed on the roads than anywhere else. Home economics is a simply an afterthought, yet every graduate is likely to have to do laundry, cook and pay bills,” he wrote. “I think that we focus too much on standardized testing and not enough on the real ‘meat and potatoes’ of education.”
Hutchings is the general manager of the Hutchings Auto Group. He was born and raised in Soldotna.
In an email, Hutchings said he believes the board is doing a fantastic job identifying areas of improvement and proactively addressing them.
“The board is made up of a very qualified and diverse group of individuals that truly advocate for the students and their schools, so I would say I am happy with the path that the board is on,” he wrote. “With the retirement of Sammy Crawford, we are losing a very experienced and dedicated board member with a long track record of sound decisions and my hope is that the biggest change is that someone that shares her commitment fills the District 1 seat.”
Hutchings considers quality education a priority.
“My vision is to have our high quality public education be not only a consideration but act as a motivator for families to stay within or move to the Kenai Peninsula. It’s crucial that we continuously strive for the highest quality education while engaging our students with a broad range of activities,” he wrote.
Sunni Hilts is running unopposed for a fourth term for the South Peninsula District 9. Hilts resides in Seldovia and is a mother of five children. She is also the president-elect for the Association of Alaska School Boards.
In her candidate statement, Hilts wrote that children should be the top priority of the State of Alaska — their safety, their education, their health and their future.
“We have to have a broader perspective of education in the state of Alaska,” she said.
Hilts said that she is fortunate to be in the school district and that the KPBSD board has the formula for success.
Lynn Hohl is also running unopposed for a third term for the East Peninsula District 9.
She is a current member of the Alaska Parent Teacher Association and the Seward Parent Teacher Student Association.
Reach Sara Hardan at firstname.lastname@example.org.