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Our choices for Tacoma Public Schools: Gordon, Vialle

Post by TNT Editorial Board / The News Tribune on Oct. 23, 2011 at 2:58 pm with 7 Comments »
October 21, 2011 3:07 pm

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Tacoma voters this year enjoy an embarrassment of riches in their school board candidates.

Three of the best candidates we’ve ever seen have stepped forward to help govern Tacoma Public Schools, one of the most complex and challenging school districts in the country. And the fourth candidate is no slouch.

Tacoma’s schools need the best oversight possible. They struggle with poverty, an unacceptable dropout rate and a frustratingly persistent achievement gap between disadvantaged students and their more affluent classmates. This gap often breaks along racial lines, between white and Asian students on one hand and black and Hispanic students on the other.

The school board plays a crucial role in addressing these problems.

Running for Position 3 are the stellar Dexter Gordon and Scott Heinze.
Heinze has a remarkable breadth of experience. He’s been an aide to U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, a police officer, a homeland security adviser to state leaders, among other positions. He’s exceptionally bright and is currently working toward a doctorate at Gonzaga University.

Gordon, a distinguished professor at the University of Puget Sound, also has formidable credentials. In particular, he has immense expertise on the achievement gap and has led major forums designed to identify solutions.
Either Gordon or Heinze would be great assets for the school board and the entire district. We tip toward Gordon, but it’s a very tough choice.

The race for Position 5 is an easier call.

Kim Washington – like Gordon, a candidate with a doctorate – has been a college administrator and teacher. She hasn’t mounted a vigorous campaign and in any event is outmatched by her opponent, Karen Vialle.

Vialle’s résumé is startlingly deep. She has served on the Tacoma City Council and was the city’s mayor for four years. She has been executive director of Centro Latino. Her earlier career includes a stint as an assistant professor and extensive budget and administrative experience in state government.

She’s been heavily involved in Tacoma Public Schools. She was active in the PTA at Geiger Elementary and Foss High School; she’s also a member of the mayor’s education task force. On top of that, she has taught for the last seven years at Sheridan Elementary and Lister Elementary, high-poverty schools.
Strong personalities often come with liabilities.

The flipside of Vialle’s relentless drive is a tendency toward impatience and abrasiveness with people she doesn’t agree with.

Still, her career has prepared her superbly for the Tacoma School Board, where she would be death on complacency in the school system. She and Gordon get our enthusiastic endorsement.

Leave a comment Comments → 7
  1. olympicmtn says:

    No vote for Gordon he lived in Gig Harbor and tries the carpetbagger approach to run in Tacoma. He is also backed by those that were part of the Urban League audit! No to carpetbaggers. Voting for Heinz,

  2. The TNT imbibes the rhetoric about Dexter Gordon’s expertise, which he substantiates–on his web site–with claims about authorship of academic and opinion pieces in journals and The News Tribune. It would be nice if Mr. Gordon would provide links to these articles, as I have only been able to find one so far.

  3. yabetchya says:

    Vaille, NO NO NO ! She is rude, arrogant, and likes to use her power to belittle and abuse. She is not a nice person to be around let alone work with.

  4. KidTacoma says:

    TNT you had it right in august when you wrote that Gordon has the potential to be a giant. He is a proven leader with a dynamic resume of high level teaching, administration experience, and education policy research and is also an active Tacoma Public School dad. Disappointed to see you warm up to the business-as-usual candidate in Heinze. We don’t need more of the same, we need Dexter Gordon.

  5. Sparks62 says:

    Dexter Gordon is the right candidate for the school board. He is thoughtful, practical, collaborative, and has great passion and commitment for the work he engages in. He knows how to write policy that will engender change in the right direction for our schools. Gordon is a DOER and will get things done on the board to improve our schools and our community. One thing I am sure of – he is not the status quo!!

  6. headshaker says:

    interesting, compare the endorsement they gave to Gordon in the primary season…. It was Hands-Down Gordon, by a mile. Now they say it’s a “tip,” and a close one at that, but don’t explain what changed their mind. My guess: they were concerned about the achievement gap then, and now, not so much. Are they getting behind the early pick of Santorno as superintendent? It sounds like there is a story here. Maybe they will tell it in the Volcano. I’ve studied education in Tacoma for several years, been to a lot of Board mornings, made a bunch of web pages to help citizens understand school policy choices, etc., and I conclude Dexter Gordon is the exceptional candidate here. While the others are find folks, I predict they are more business as usual, if an improved version of it. The results of Tacoma Schools need big time change.

  7. olympicmtn says:

    Gordon is the carpetbagger from Gig Harbor . He voted in Gig Harbor and was registerd to vote there last year. Now he suddenly appears and RENTs in Tacoma and is supported by cronies Dixon and Ebersole. Some research TNT.
    You failed gain to rsearch their backgrounds.

    Dixon was the guy who haeded the Urban League who threatened an auditor in the alley. Then you have Ebersole who is part of the MLK fiasco. We dont need cronie carpetbaggers looking for a non-profit handout wiht Tacoma taxpayer monies.

    Do your rresearch and vote for Heinz,

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