The Aberdeen School Board has unanimously agreed to offer a seat on the board to Jamie Walsh, an architect and the general manager of the SouthShore Mall.
The board met in special session Wednesday night to interview three candidates and will affirm Walsh’s selection in a roll call vote on July 15, its next regular meeting.
Walsh will replace Doug Smith who moved out of state. At Wednesday’s meeting, she told the board she would run for re-election in 2015, the next school board election year. If she wins, she will serve out the remainder of Smith’s four year term which expires in 2017.
Walsh speculated it may have been her past experience as a project manager for a construction company that set her apart because the district will tackle construction projects over the next few years. They include a new Stevens Elementary, a school she described in her interview with the board “as near and dear to my heart.”
The importance of diversity as well as the ability to achieve consensus was stressed in the interviews. Walsh, retired veteran teacher Dr. William “Doc” Carter and pediatric nurse Jessica Jurasin, were asked the same set of questions.
Carter, who taught at Aberdeen High School for 40 years, stressed his listening skills and ability to work with others. Jurasin graduated from Aberdeen High in 1996 and spoke of knowing the socio-economic concerns of the people on the Harbor well.
Walsh was the first candidate to apply and the only candidate who stayed to hear public deliberations after executive session. She graduated from high school in Newport Beach, Calif., earned a degree in economics from Smith College and a Masters of Architecture in 1999 from the University of California at Los Angeles’s Graduate School of Arts and Architecture. She and her husband Jim moved here about 10 years ago.
“Aberdeen has fully absorbed me,” she said. Three of their five children graduated from Aberdeen High School. The “second crop” of two younger children attend St. Mary’s School, Walsh said.
Walsh, who is also a state committeewoman for the Republican Party, assured them board business would take priority over that and her work as a part time architect.
She likes to solve problems and if there aren’t “problems to solve I will make problems to solve” she said to the laughter of board members Christi Boora, Jeremy Hawkins, Jennifer Hagen and president Sandra Bielski.
After deliberating in executive session, Hawkins said he had a great time considering all three candidates. Bielski replied, “I can’t say I had a great time, I like all three of them … I wish we could appoint all three.” Boora pronounced them “fantastic” and Hagen said the board was lucky to have such exceptional choices.