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Meet Puyallup's newest school board directors
Meet Puyallup's newest school board directors
Posted on 12/17/2019
Meet Puyallup's newest school board directorsPoint of View

Puyallup’s newest school board directors have hit the ground running after taking their oath of office on December 9. The first item on the agenda is to select a new superintendent to lead the ninth largest district in the state.

Board membersTuran Kayaoglu and Joseph Romero are the newly elected members of five school board directors who govern the Puyallup School District. Both received the majority of votes cast for their positions in the November General Election.

School Board Director Michael Keaton was reelected to his position on the board. Keaton has served the district since 2015.

Kayaoglu and Romero replace outgoing board members Chris Ihrig and Dane Looker, who chose not to run for reelection. Ihrig served Puyallup students as a school board director since 2009 and Looker served since 2011.

They join incumbent directors Kathy Yang and Maddie Names. Kathy Yang was unanimously chosen to serve as the School Board President during their annual board reorganization on December 9. Maddie Names will serve as vice president, Michael Keaton and Joseph Romero as legislative representative, and Turan Kayaoglu as Washington Interscholastic Activities Association WIAA Representative.

Superintendent Dr. Tim Yeomans has announced his retirement at the end of June 2020. A new superintendent is expected to be selected by the board at the regularly scheduled February 3 meeting.

Joseph Romero
Joseph RomeroJoseph Romero attended the University of Washington and has 20 years of customer service experience as a real estate agent in Puyallup. He serves the Puyallup community in many ways, including past President of Puyallup South Hill Rotary, past Board of Directors for St. Francis House, and past board member of Mountain View Community Center.

Romero has experience and is knowledgeable about the district as he begins his four-year elected position on the Puyallup School Board. He has two children who attend elementary school in Puyallup.

As a volunteer he has participated on the Bethel School District Strategic Vision Committee, Puyallup School District Dessie F. Evans Naming Committee, Bond Advisory Committee, Bond Oversight Committee, Career and Technical Education Committee, and Youth Advocacy Project: Hunger Task Force.

As a member of the Puyallup School Board Romero says, “The most important aspect I’m looking forward to accomplishing is envisioning what the future is going to look like for our kids. What does the baseline look like for the next 20-25 years, or even the next 10 years? That’s probably what I’m most passionate about — providing insight or leadership so people can make decisions and they have the access that permits them to dream and achieve.”

“I believe the role for us as a school board is to position our student body, through our work, to be able to achieve those dreams. That is the biggest motivation for me to take on this role.” Puyallup School Board Director Joseph Romero

He believes the district’s Early Learning initiatives of the past few years are important to the education of Puyallup students. “The Regional Preschool and Kindergarten Academy provide students a track to achieve as soon as possible early in life, and that is really important. Students come from different backgrounds and making sure all students get the opportunity to challenge themselves is the goal,” says Romero.

Another role of the school board, he adds, is to recognize the small town feel of Puyallup where people are passionate, and they care for one another. “Our role in these seats is to make sure we not only understand that, but we help carry it forward. The year 1854, when the Puyallup School District began, is not a small date. It’s a great blessing for us to have that knowledge and experience that runs through our community.”

Turan Kayaoglu

Turan KayaogluA long-time Puyallup resident, Turan Kayaoglu is a professor at the University of Washington Tacoma campus. He holds an M.A. in International Studies and a Ph.D. in Political Science.

He has a child who attends Puyallup Schools.

Kayaoglu has been active in the community as a member of the Puyallup Library Board, Associated Ministries of Tacoma and Pierce County, and a past Vice President and board member for World Affairs Council in Tacoma. He also served as a PTA Legislative Representative.

At UW Tacoma, Kayaoglu is a Professor of International Relations and Associate Vice Chancellor for Research. In the past he served as Associate Dean at the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. He is a Fellow at the Brookings Institute.

“I love Puyallup. After living in Seattle and Tacoma, I chose the land of generous people, small-town community values, and pioneers to raise my children. Let’s focus on student achievement for all students in Puyallup.”

Learn more about the Puyallup School Board and see the meeting schedule.