New school board members ready for 2016
Three new members of the Quincy School District Board of Directors will get down to business Jan. 12 during the first school board meeting of the new year. Chris Baumgartner, Joseph James and Susan Lybbert were sworn in during a brief board meeting Dec. 15.
Baumgartner is a former president of the Washington State Egg Growers Association and was a founding member of the local Habitat for Humanity chapter. He has been a Quincy resident since 1987.
He has an extensive background in public schools, serving as a teacher for 15 years in addition to coaching high school and college football, wrestling, cross country, and track and field.
Baumgartner has never run for elective office before, but said, “It was always something on my bucket list.”
He anticipates enjoying the school board experience because “I enjoy the collaborative spirit,” he said.
Baumgartner added that the previous board authorized a bond measure in February for construction and renovation of district buildings.
“This decision has been made by our former board,” he said. “I think honoring that is part of being collaborative. It’s been nearly 20 years since (the district) has broken ground on anything new.”
He said the upgrading and expansion provided in the bond – including a new high school — is a chance for the Quincy School District to grow with the community. Each school in the district would receive something under the bond package, said district Superintendent John Boyd.
Originally from the Yakima Valley, Baumgartner began his education career at Ritzville before moving on to Moses Lake. He took a coaching fellowship at Central Washington University, and coached and taught at West Linn High School in Oregon.
Like the other new board members, Lybbert supports the bond measure. She also is happy that President Obama recently signed into law a revision of the No Child Left Behind provision.
“I think it will be a good change,” she said of the new law, which will give more autonomy to local school districts. “I’m going to see what those changes will be. I think our schools have a lot of potential, but they get bogged down by bureaucracy. We have a lot of great teachers and I definitely want to support them.”
Lybbert’s education focused on public policy and understanding how government works.
“In that sense, I do have a background that will be valuable,” she said. “I also bring an overabundance of passion for all students, not just my own. I want them all to have the opportunity to learn and succeed.”
The new board member has done much volunteer work in the past. That includes working on the building level to run fundraisers at Pioneer Elementary School through the Parent Volunteer Committee.
Lybbert has a child in second grade at Pioneer Elementary School and a sixth-grader at Monument Elementary School. She has been in Quincy for seven years.
“I married a local Quincy boy and followed him here,” said Lybbert, who attended Oak Harbor schools.
James said one of his priorities is safety in all the district’s schools.
“I want to make sure students are safe and teachers are safe as well,” he said. “I also want the best results possible” in every classroom.
He’s a supporter of the new version of No Child Left Behind, saying it’s important to have high expectations for students.
At age 31, James is the youngest school board member.
He believes that will be an advantage, especially in relating to young teachers.
“I bring a different perspective,” he said.
James has an associate degree in arts and sciences from Big Bend Community College. He currently serves as a commissioner for the Wenatchee Valley United soccer program.
With five seats on the board of directors, the majority of the school district’s governing body are now newcomers.
The new board members replace Joann Garces, who served for six years; Myrna Blakely, who was on the board for 12 years; and Mike Scharbach, who was on the board for 16 years.
Continuing on the board in the coming year are Alex Ybarra, board president, and Tricia Lubach, board vice president.
— By Steve Kadel, firstname.lastname@example.org