2017 PRIMARY ELECTION CANDIDATE STATEMENTS: Don Shennum - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

2017 PRIMARY ELECTION CANDIDATE STATEMENTS: Don Shennum

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

Statement from Don Shennum: 

My name is Don Shennum, and I am a candidate for the District 4 at-large position for the Eastmont School Board. My campaign slogan is ‘Schools and Community in Unison’. I chose that slogan for a few reasons. When we first moved to the Wenatchee area in 2012, I worked as a Teacher at the Wenatchee Valley Technical Skills Center. I taught Computer Programing, Robotics and other Technology topics to high schoolers from Wenatchee, East Wenatchee, Quincy, Entiat and other points throughout the region. As a vocational teacher, my focus was on job skills that would be directly applicable to the workplace. During my two years teaching, I reached out to local businesses, asking them what they were looking for in technical skills. What could our school possibly offer that would make these students more attractive to them for potential employment down the road. What potential internship or mentoring opportunities could we jointly explore.

I received very little feedback, nothing that resulted in anything concrete. It was frustrating. Now here I am, working for Confluence Health in the IT Department, and I see that we need to recruit heavily from outside the region for even some junior level positions.

I am a supporter of STEM opportunities throughout the district. My 6th grade daughter and 9th grade son are active in Mathematics and Robotics programs, and I volunteer with both. But, my impression is that STEM and vocational opportunities are skewed towards those students identified as ‘gifted’ or ‘advanced’ students. I would like to expand the STEM and vocational offerings, ensuring that all students are able to learn a skill that will aid them in their post-high school job search or for continued education.

So….my slogan of “Schools and Community In Unison”. My long-term vision is to have a common fundamental understanding between the Eastmont School District and the entire community. It is ALL our responsibility to help our youth prepare for the future.

As a community, we need to identify, foster, and facilitate career and job opportunities for our youth that do not require leaving the region for extensive training and education. An extensive secondary education is just not a reasonable financial or logistical option for much of our community.

As a school district, we need to make sure we are preparing all of our students for life after high school. All students, regardless of their demographic, should have the ability to learn a skill that is relevant to their educational or career plans.

As parents, we need to make sure we are preparing our children for a bright, optimistic future. High school is not just ‘something to get through.’ It is the foundation for everything else that will come in life.

The slogan “Schools and Community In Unison” also means something larger to me than just this run for the Eastmont School Board. From my time as a teacher, and as a parent of teenagers, I am concerned in the lack of opportunities for our teenage population. Not just educational, but recreational, volunteering, and other ways to spend their time productively. We have an abundance of activities targeting elementary aged kids. As they get older, those options for dry up. This is particularly true for minorities and at risk populations. We need to do a better job of providing our youth with opportunities and activities in the community to keep them engaged, and not able to “tune out” and become disenfranchised.

For me “Schools and Community In Unison” represents our shared responsibility to protect our youth, nurture our youth, and prepare them for what lies ahead. Not just in the classroom, but in all facets of life. My hope that you, too, share my vision.

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