01-13-14: Newly elected board members outline goals
01-13-14: Newly elected board members outline goals
Posted on 01/13/2014

Puyallup School Board Director Pat Donovan and newcomer Kathy Yang have each won four-year terms on the school board, according to certified November General Election results.



Superintendent Tim Yeomans administered the oath of office to both Donovan and Yang at the December 2 Puyallup School Board meeting.



Pat Donovan


Pat Donovan won a second four-year term after receiving nearly 74 percent of the vote in a race against Noreen Wolfe.


Donovan was appointed to the school board in early 2009 to fill a vacancy left by former Director Bruce Dammeier. Later that year, he was elected to his first four-year term.Image


Since then, Donovan has served most of the four years as the board’s legislative representative. He represents the district on legislative issues both locally and statewide and makes several trips to the state Capitol in Olympia during special legislative sessions.


“It’s important to keep those areas of dialogue open and be available as a resource for our legislators,” he said, especially when it comes to providing state resources to public education.


“Recent education reform has been placing higher demands on our system in the face of shrinking budgets,” he said.


The 52-year-old father of two said he looks forward to continuing to provide leadership and educate the community about needs such as increasing academic rigor, providing adequate facilities to accommodate projected enrollment growth, maintaining safe schools, serving English Language Learners and homeless students, expanding full-day kindergarten districtwide, and offering more educational program choices.


“We need to get ahead of the growth projected over the next eight to 10 years and be able to meet students’ needs by offering them more academic choices that are relevant to their learning,” he said.


Donovan is especially interested in considering an International Baccalaureate (IB) program; Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) offerings; and enhanced Career and Technical Education classes — especially those that have a strong emphasis on international relations.


“We have huge global partners in Boeing and Microsoft,” he said, adding the district needs to continue to foster community and business partnerships and stay current in its technology.


“We have to prepare our kids to compete in the world and be a productive part of society,” he said.


Donovan has been an active school volunteer and PTA member. He is a two-time recipient of the Golden Acorn award, which is given annually to deserving school volunteers throughout the school district.


He also served on a citizens committee that worked toward the successful passage of the 2004 school bond, which funded the construction of three new schools, two replacement schools, several school remodels, and districtwide technology improvements.


After that election, Donovan served on a Bond Oversight Committee to review the 2004 bond projects, site selection, and building designs to assure that taxpayer dollars were used in the most cost-effective manner.


Donovan has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Pacific Lutheran University and an associate’s degree in emergency medical services from Tacoma Community College.


He was promoted last spring to deputy fire chief with Central Pierce Fire and Rescue after having served as an assistant chief and a battalion chief.


He and his wife, Tricia, have lived on South Hill since 1993. Tricia works as an elementary education coordinator at Bethany Baptist Church in Puyallup.


Their oldest son, Ryan, graduated from Emerald Ridge High School in 2010, attended Pacific Lutheran University, and is studying Norwegian to prepare to work internationally in areas of peace and conflict resolution. Their youngest son, Connor, is a senior this year at Rogers High School.


Kathy Yang


Newcomer Kathy Yang edged out challenger Karen Edwards to win the election with 50.91 percent of the vote.


Yang fills the seat formerly held by Greg Heath, who decided not to seek another term.


The newest director hasn’t wasted any time in getting acquainted with her board responsibilities.


ImageIn November, Yang attended a new board member orientation presented by the Washington State School Directors Association. She has also met with former school board members to discuss the role and regularly attends school board meetings and district events.


One of her first orders of business, she said, will be to visit schools throughout the district and meet with Puyallup Education Association President Karen McNamara.


“I want to get a dialogue going right away and understand teachers’ needs,” she said. Effective communication with the community and employees is key, she said, to keeping people informed about the district.


“There may be points where we disagree, but if we talk and keep the dialogue going, we have more chances to find common ground and understand one another,” she said.


Yang is passionate about a series of education issues, including addressing future enrollment growth, providing students with up-to-date technology, offering families a choice of more educational programs such as International Baccalaureate and STEM, and developing partnerships with area businesses.


“I love the traditions in Puyallup and the fact that so many teachers grew up here and came back to teach here,” she said. “I want to be able to move this district forward without losing all of those strong foundations that make Puyallup what it is today. There is a fine balance of keeping great traditions and not becoming stagnant so that our kids can be prepared to go out into the world and become more global.”


The 43-year-old mother of two is also eager to educate the community about the upcoming February 11, 2014 school levy election. The Puyallup School District is proposing two school levies in that election — an Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy and a School Facility Improvements and Technology Upgrades Levy.


Yang has been an active school volunteer over the past decade, including serving as the Shaw Road Elementary PTA Membership co-chair and a Kalles Junior High Booster Club member.


She has also held several volunteer roles in the community, including serving nine years on the Good Samaritan Foundation Board of Directors and helping as a Sunday school and youth group teacher at church.


Her goal, she said, is to help students reach their full potential in school.


“I would like students to understand that education is their best means to achieve their dreams,” she said. “I want to raise expectations and see our culture change, where education is viewed as a great opportunity by our kids and not something to be taken for granted.”


Yang has a law degree and master’s degree in taxation from the University of Washington, and a bachelor’s degree in English from Northwestern University in Illinois.


Born in Korea, Yang and her husband, Anthony Kim, have lived in Puyallup since 1999. She works part-time as an assistant operations manager at Dreamline Construction in Sumner, and her husband is a general surgeon in Puyallup.


Their daughter, Jordan, is a sophomore at Puyallup High and their son, Jonas, is a seventh grader at Kalles Junior High.