Candidates

 

Last updated 7/27/2023 at 1:53pm



Medical Lake School Board Seat 1Medical Lake School Board Seat 1

My name is Gerri Johnson and I am running for Director Position #1 on the Medical Lake District School Board.

My family has deep roots in this community. I have lived in the District since 1974, where I first went to school on Fairchild Airforce Base and attended Blair Elementary School. After my stepfather’s retirement from the military, we didn’t move far. I began attending Medical Lake elementary and then, the high school. My husband, as well as all three of our children attended school in Medical Lake, too.

I would like to share my years of small business ownership experience to help influence the fiscal health of the district and determine where voter taxpayer money is spent. We can work together to support our educators through common sense policies that our community can be proud of. 

I am an active nonprofit member and believe strongly in volunteerism. I have been a board member of Re*Imagine Medical Lake since its inception. Our mission statement says,”that we will work together with all civic groups, churches, school district, and city government.” And I believe that I am capable to do this as a school board member. 

1. Do you support the state mandated comprehensive sexual health education?  Why or why not? 

I am in full support of parents and guardians making the best decisions for their children when it comes to education, and RCW  28A.300.475 is quite extensive in its scope of describing the depth of how schools can handle sexual education, and states “Any parent or legal guardian who wishes to have his or her child excused from any planned instruction in comprehensive sexual health education may do so upon filing a written request…” It is important to me that all students know they are safe and that schools have an open-door policy concerning sex education and all other aspects of their education. 

2. Do you support the implementation of social-emotional learning?  Why or why not? 

As stated on the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction website, “SEL is broadly understood as a process through which individuals build awareness and skills in managing emotions, setting goals, establishing relationships, and making responsible decisions that support success in school and in life.” I do not support social-emotional learning because it allows for concepts and theories to be integrated and imbedded in education, not directly related to the subject matter at hand. Not all teachers are trained counselors, therefore, all students in need of mental or emotional support should have direct access to counseling services.

3. If faced with another pandemic situation in which the state mandated vaccines for school workers, how would you vote and why? 

The question regarding another pandemic can feel divisive, considering what we experienced with Covid. Faced with this, or any other type of crisis, I would work to unite members of our community.

Name: Lennelle Spillman

Age: 43

Hometown: Medical Lake, WA

Employment/Business/Other Experience:  I’m a children’s pastor at Redemption Church in Medical Lake.  I’m also an instructional paraeducator with the Cheney School District.

Community Service:  I volunteer read at Hallett Elementary for 4 years.

Education:  Northwest University in Kirkland, WA:  BA - Christian education:  children’s ministry concentration; Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, TX:  MA - children’s and family ministry

Family: I’m a daughter, sister, aunt, niece, and cousin.

Disclaimer: The following questions were answered by candidates in 100 words or less. We 

do not edit the answers, other than to enforce the word limit. 

1.Do you support the state mandated comprehensive sexual health education?  Why or why not?

    No, I do not.  I believe it should be taught at home.  Schools should focus on primary subjects such as reading, writing, and math.   

2.Do you support the implementation of social-emotional learning?  Why or why not?

    I’ve seen it in action in the classroom.  Morning meetings that greet each student and foster participation from everyone help students to be ready to learn.  As such, I’ve seen its positive impacts and recognize its potential value.  Implemented as described above, I’m supportive.

3.If faced with another pandemic situation in which the state mandated vaccines for school workers, how would you vote and why?

       As a school employee, I’ve received every available Covid vaccine to date.  At first, it was required.  Despite my fear of and dislike of needles, I chose the others, because I wanted to protect myself as much as possible.  Ultimately, it should be left up to individual choice.  The government could strongly encourage it but not require it.

School Board Seat 2

Name: Alexis Alexander

Age: 40 years old

Hometown: Medical Lake

Employer: Avista Utilites 15-year employee

Community Service: Eastern Washington University Foundation Board Chair, Spokane Sports Board of Directors, Medical Lake School Board Interim Director

Family: Nicole Alexander (02’) - Wife, Upton Alexander (2nd Grade) - Son, Lawson Alexander (Kindergarten) - Daughter

1.Do you support the state mandated comprehensive sexual health education?  Why or why not?

Students understanding their mental and physical health progression is important and Medical Lake Schools have done well in complying with the state requirements, ensuring parents understand the curriculum and lesson plans, while providing the opportunity to opt out.  

2.Do you support the implementation of social-emotional learning?  Why or why not? 

Yes, Medical Lake Schools have successfully implemented elements of the program for many years. A recent example being a mental health program enabling students to learn and grow into healthy adults. 

3.If faced with another pandemic situation in which the state mandated vaccines for school workers, how would you vote and why?

Although I did not support vaccine mandates, public schools are required to comply with state law. My preferred approach would be education, followed by personal choice.

Michael Gerry

Age: 48

Hometown: 

Westport CT.

Employment/Business/Other Experience:  

Active-Duty USAF Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE) Specialist 2003-2011

Owner / CEO CrossFit Spokane 2006-2022.

 

Community Service:  

·      Volunteer Fire Fighter Medical Lake 2004-2007

·Spokane City Fire 2010- 2012

Crosswalk Youth Shelter 2012-2013

·South Hill high school lacrosse men’s head coach  2013-2021

·South Hill high school lacrosse woman’s assistant coach 2022 and 2023 seasons

·WA Air National Guard Youth Camp (WANGY) “Cabin Leader” 2017-2020

 

Education:  

Bachelor Degree: Southern Illinois University

WorkForce Education Development

 

Family: 

Married 24yrs to Angela Gerry

4 Daughters 23, 20, 17, 14

1 Grandson 2yrs old

The answers to the 3 questions

Do you support the state mandated comprehensive sexual health education?  Why or why not?

Schools should focus on Reading, Writing, Math, Science & History.  Parents should decide what would best serve the students of that community.

 

2)Do you support the implementation of social-emotional learning?  Why or why not?

Schools should provide a place for students to feel safe and comfortable in the learning environment. “Social Emotional Learning” comes through life and interactions with the people they encounter daily.  When students are taught and shown respect, work ethic, integrity, caring, and rewarded for these (positive) “Social Emotional Learning” will happen.

 

3)If faced with another pandemic situation in which the state mandated vaccines for school workers, how would you vote and why?

100% No. A vaccine that actually protected people from a “pandemic” wouldn’t matter if someone took it or not.  The person taking the” vaccine” would be protected. 

School Board Seat 3

Laura Elliot-Parsons 

62

Medical Lake, WA

Part time Cheney School District Special Needs Bus Driver. Retired Social Worker.

Current District 3 Medical Lake Schoolboard Director.

 Current Washington State Schoolboard Director Association District 10 Representative.

Current Small District Representative for the Spokane County School Association. 

I served our community for 16 years, 4 terms, as City Council Member and 4 of those were as Mayor Pro-tem. 

Small Cities representative for for the Spokane Solid Waste Board.

Small Cities Representative on the Spokane Regional Transportation Council.

Appointment by Governor Locke to the Citizens for Pipeline Safety board.

Association of Washington cities Legislative Board member.

I am currently a Board Member of the Passages Family Center of Spokane.

Foster/Adoptive Parent.

Scout Master, Coach for various city league sports, supporter of Reimagine Medical Lake. 

BA Applied Psychology EWU, Master of Public Administration EWU, FFA State Farmers Degree, Certified Municipal Leader. 

I am a parent of 5, and I have 2 grandchildren. All my children attended ML School District and 1 is still in HS.

1. State mandated comprehensive sexual health education is definitely a concern for  parents.  Parents have the right to not have their child in these courses.  Some families want their children to have these courses so they are available to them. Senate Bill 5395 requires that Public Schools provide these courses for all students. There is no sexual content in the course for K-3. 

2. The implementation of social and emotional learning is a way of providing students with a nurturing setting, curriculum or content  and opportunities to practice understanding their emotions.  This helps kids work together and improves achievement and helps diminish bullying. RCW A.300.478 It is also required by our State government for Public Schools to provide SELS.

3. It is definitely a hot topic for the State to mandate vaccines and closures of public institutions in a pandemic situation. I believe the Washington State Board of Health in good faith did what they did during the pandemic to protect our communities and our children. Our schools are mandated by the WSBH and our WA ST government to follow these requirements.  Our public schools funding depend on us following the laws which are required, whether it is for pandemics, disabilities, discrimination, etc. In doing what’s best for our children in a public secular school system.

Medical Lake School District

School Board Director #3

Dennis Schilling

Age 68

Medical Lake

Retired, 23 years Ag Industry Superintendent, 2 years Far West Ag Assoc. board member.

Member and elder at Medical Lake Community Church, attended 15 years, performed clean up days for city and city cemetery.

2 years college

Married, 6 children blended marriage, 3 each.

Question 1:

I do not support the comprehensive sex ed in its current form. State law requires only a minimum presentation. That is what I would also support.

Question 2:

I have spoken to several experts including a veteran behavioral scientist, and a 30-year veteran teacher in a Washington state school district. Based on their information SEL has already been a law and has already been implemented for at least 6 years. The teacher felt that SEL was forcing teachers into a role they are not trained for, plus adding a huge burden of paperwork for them. That is why I will advocate for much more parental involvement and transparency by the school district as to what is being required and why.

Question 3:

I would have to gather information on the specific details and realities of that pandemic to make that determination. I believe we have a much more informed citizenship in our country now to do a much better job of making that determination.

 

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