Five seek spot on Bainbridge Island School Board

Five candidates — a marketing professional, an at-home mom, a scientist, a new teacher, and an academic leader at Edmonds Community College — have offered to step in to fill the vacancy on the Bainbridge Island School Board.

The field of hopefuls includes Christina Opalka,

Mary Ellen "Mev" Hoberg, Robert D. Hershberg, Kimberly Phillips-Ingram and Marty R. Cavalluzzi.

The school board will interview the candidates for District 3, a position left empty by the resignation last month of John Tawresey, at its meeting later this week.

The school board has set aside 30 minutes for each candidate, and interviews will start at 6:30 p.m. during the Thursday, April 19 board meeting.

Opalka has worked as a marketer, most recently with Orbridge, and earlier, with the Bainbridge Art Museum, Children's Discovery Museum and Avalara. She was raised on Bainbridge Island and attended island schools, from kindergarten at Commodore through ninth grade at Bainbridge High School.

She currently has a third-grader and seventh-grader in Bainbridge public schools.

Hoberg has lived on Bainbridge Island since 1999, and her children attend Eagle Harbor High School and Sonoji Sakai Intermediate School.

A self-described "at-home mom," Hoberg formerly worked for the Stanford Alumni Association (she is a Class of 1987 graduate). She has been a longtime volunteer in local classrooms, and is the president of the Bainbridge Island Parent-Teacher Coordinating Committee.

"I feel fortunate to have been in a school district that has been able to 'do more with less' during these tight fiscal times," Hoberg said in her application letter. "Despite several years in a row of budget cuts at the state and federal levels, our district has maintained high test scores and college placement rates, has earned awards of distinction, has offered new and innovative programs, and has been able to change for the better in face of adversity."

Hershberg, a 16-year island resident, is a scientist with 34 years of work in the bio-pharmaceutical industry, where he has helped develop 10 marketed pharmaceuticals, including a hepatitis B vaccine.

He is currently an independent consultant to several major drug companies.

Hershberg served on the board of West Sound Academy for seven years, and also has experience as an instructor for the biotechnology program of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Phillips-Ingram has served on the boards of start-up, family-founded companies that include American PureTex Water and Global Intelligence Corp., and recently received a master's degree in education (cross-categorical special education) from Grand Canyon University in Arizona. She has been a volunteer and intern in special education and other classrooms for more than seven years.

Cavalluzzi is the executive vice president for instruction and chief academic officer at Edmonds Community College. He oversees instruction for the school, which has 11,000 students per quarter and a full- and part-time faculty that numbers 390.

He was previously the dean of science and math at Seattle Central Community College.

His children attend Sonoji Sakai Intermediate School and Captain Johnston Blakely Elementary School.

"I greatly admire the BISD (Bainbridge Island School District) and have long felt very fortunate to live in a district where the students are some of the best educated in the state," Cavalluzzi wrote in his application letter. "In fact, the driving force for my family to move to Bainbridge Island was the reputation of the school district and the desire to provide my children with the best education possible."

The school board is scheduled to hold an executive session after Thursday's interviews to talk about the board candidates.

After the 30-minute, closed-door huddle, the school board will reconvene at 9 p.m. to announce its decision.

The new board member will serve until the next regularly scheduled board election in November 2013.


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