'The other Pollock' unopposed for school board

David Pollock will run unopposed for the south Bainbridge school board seat that Ken Breiland vacates at the end of the year.

Pollock manages Ragen MacKenzie/Wells Fargo brokerage firm in Seattle, and will bring that business background to the board. He was urged to run for the seat by the man whom he will replace.

“I’m a business person and I think (Breiland) felt that they need that point of view,” Pollock said. “I know what some of the budget constraints are with the levy caps.”

Son of a Spokane physician, he earned a bachelor of science degree in geology at Washington State University, and studied business in graduate school at University of Oregon.

But when faced with a choice between a geology job in Houston or staying in the Northwest, Pollock opted for home turf.

“I could move to Houston and be a geologist or move to Seattle and be an investment person,” he said. “And my roots are in the Northwest.”

Twelve years ago, a year after their first child was born, Pollock and his wife Sheri moved to the island to raise their family.

Sheri Pollock is a public relations manager for Washington Mutual in Seattle. The couple reside at Point White with their daughter, Anna, a Woodward Middle School 8th-grader, and their son, Sam, who enters 6th grade at Sakai Intermediate School this fall.

David Pollock has been involved with the schools through his children’s participation in the swim program. A typical weekend finds him heading off to distant meets.

“Last weekend I drove to King County Aquatic Center (in Federal Way) Friday and Saturday,” Pollock said. “It takes a lot of parent-hours to pull off a swim meet.”

In the spare time that commuting to Seattle leaves him, Pollock likes to ride his bicycle.

It was on one such jaunt that Pollock met outgoing school board member Ken Breiland – also an avid bicyclist – and the two became friends.

When Breiland made the decision to step down, he encouraged Pollock to step up.

“I’ve known Dave for three or four years,” Breiland said. “I always found he asked good questions and showed good understanding of school issues, and he does not come with an agenda.”

Pollock says he expects to play a low-key role until he gains a thorough understanding of district issues, but he notes that the generally positive atmosphere of board meetings influenced his decision to run.

“They seem like a very good group of people,” he said, “and the district has the support of the parents.”

Pollock says he was surprised to find himself running unopposed.

“I think the school board positions are very important,” he said.

Like other school board members, Pollock will help craft the district’s over-arching educational philosophy, hire and fire superintendents, approve personnel changes, adopt curricula and oversee facilities repair and expansion.

School board members serve four-year terms, and rotating elections ensure board continuity.

Mike Scott and Susan Sivitz, who represent districts 5 and 2, respectively, retain their seats for this election cycle.

Bruce Weiland, who is running unopposed for a third term from District 1, notes that while he “thought long and hard” about running again, family support and a sense of obligation tipped the scales.

Weiland said the schools’ main challenge is to respond to the state Education Reform Act, especially new requirements for graduation from high school that include a “culmination project” and passing the WASLs.

“It’s going to be challenging to implement the state standards by 2008,” Weiland said. “Even with our excellent WASL scores, we don’t have 100 percent of students meeting the standards.”

Weiland, who is on the board’s capital facilities committee, also wants to see the district through Phase II of the high school modernization.

School board president Cheryl Dale, who runs for a second term unopposed from District 3, says that board continuity was a deciding factor in her decision to remain on the board.

“We spent my first four years stabilizing the school district financially and hiring a new superintendent,” Dale said.

“Now that we have established the groundwork, we will get to look at programs.”

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