Snoqualmie Valley School Board Incumbents Share Their Big Improvements

A couple of weeks ago, I asked Snoqualmie Valley School Board challengers to identify a big change they saw needed in our school district, or the driving force pushing them onto the campaign trail.   This week I’ve asked SVSD school board incumbents to respond and identify what improvements they would like to influence if elected to a new term, or what fuels their fire to continue serving.  These incumbents spend many hours representing valley students in a volunteer position, something that may feel like a thankless job at times.  So I asked them what improvements they would like to influence if re-elected, or what keeps them coming back to all those school board meetings that very few of us have the time to attend.   These are their answers…

Caroline Loudenback

It’s really about the kids.  Our primary duty on the school board is fiduciary. We facilitate student achievement by providing policies, support and resources so that each of our students can define and achieve life success in their own way.  As we move away from career specific skills towards 21st century skills such as problem solving, adapting to rapid change and other skills that span across a broad range of jobs we will need to continue to gauge our success by the most important metric – our kids.

Including the voice of the student is something I have been passionate about in all my work in the schools, various committees and on the school board.  I always insist on finding a way to include the students as we make decisions that affect their schools and futures.  It always impresses me when I hear from them. They are candid, articulate, incredibly wise and insightful as they provide input into any process.  We now have student representatives to the school board, two new principals that the students were instrumental in selecting and the student panel that was part of the 9-12 program study was hands down the some of the most valuable input we received in that study.  When the students talk, the adults listen.  To learn more about Caroline’s campaign visit her website here.

Craig Husa

It might seem cliché, but I serve because I care about kids.  Our schools need to be a place where every kid is given the tools they need to meet their individual potential.  Each one has a different journey.  The tools are created by utilizing best educational practices and are delivered through the collaboration of the learning community. There is no one size fits all solution.

Meeting the individual learning needs of our students, as stated in our district’s mission statement, is complex. In May of 2010, the district completed and reported on their Intervention Program Review.  One of my goals is to see the recommendations of this review implemented and bear fruit.  The purpose of the review was “to determine if current educational programs and instructional delivery models are meeting the needs of our special education, struggling, and highly capable students.”  The review committee recommendations were made for all building levels.  Some of the current 2011-2012 initiatives include:

•                    Home-school Connection Program;
•                    Expand  Snoqualmie Valley Virtual Academy
•                    Develop and launch Drop-out Recovery and Retention Programs;
•                    Assign Freshman Learning Center core team to begin transition planning

To find out more about Craig’s campaign visit

Dan Popp

To borrow a term from Mr. Charlie Kinnune’s Leadership class at Mount Si HS, I envision myself as a “Servant Leader”.  Participating in and giving back to my community is engrained in me.  When re-elected, I intend to spend the next four-year term focused on continuing to improve our schools while celebrating our successes.

Top areas of focus for Dan Popp on the School Board:

  • Create strategic plans driving new opportunities for students to compete, post-graduation, in higher education and/or in their chosen career path.  Significantly improve our percentage of students who go on to two- and four-year colleges/universities.
  • Improve parent, student, staff and community involvement, with two-way communication, in our partnership to take responsibility for the learning process.  Empower them in the decision-making process in matters affecting the quality of education provided in our schools.
  • Better prepare students to live and work in a rapidly changing technological environment – providing 21st Century Learning.
  • Foster acceptance, appreciation and respect among students for themselves and others.
  • Work to unify the various and disparate communities represented across our school district.  The future success of our school children requires that the communities unite together and collectively focus on improving schools.  We need to put aside the “us vs. them” mentality and look beyond ourselves and our personal interests.  There are children, some who live very far away from you or I, who are counting on us to unify.

These are not small tasks, but a unified community can accomplish extraordinary things.  For more info on Dan’s campaign visit

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  • In case you missed it, a campaign ad appeared in the 27 Oct 2011 SnoValley Star newspaper, in which Husa is credited with “The STEM initiative doubled the advanced math, pre-algebra and algebra offerings in middle school and offers other new courses such as robotics programming in the high school.” This is just the latest illustration of just how out of touch Husa and other incumbent directors on our school board are with what is actually happening within the school district they govern: STEM has not yet been introduced into any of our SVSD schools, therefore there has not been any such doubling of math offerings & new courses. STEM is presently under study by the district administration with no publicly revealed strategic plan on how/why/when/where it will be implemented (because such plan doesn’t exist?).

    There have been several misleading claims made by the school district administration subsequently approved & adopted by school board directors in their haste to paint a rosy picture, while not discussing problems that badly need attention and that are of great concern to parents, students, teachers, and taxpayers in our district: growing class sizes, high drop-out rates, low on-time graduation rates, verbal/physical/sexual/cyber assaults bullying incidents (named the leading problem by students), lack of a strategic plan with priorities that then drives the budget, little to no pressure on WA state to restore funding, reversing the decision to create middle school over-crowding, inaccurate enrollment forecasts and their associated impact fee disagreements with developers coupled with unusually expensive and ill-timed bond proposals, and more. For another example, promoting the higher-than-state-average scoring results of students taking the SAT/ACT test when we have among the lowest number/percentage of HS students who take that test fails to depict the real picture of the academic outcomes of students. And when any school board and its district administration does not recognize and discuss it’s challenges and areas that need improvement, there’s little chance that solutions to those problems will be developed and embraced by the community.

    Yes, there has been progress within SVSD, at least over the 15yrs I’ve lived here, and it’s worthwhile to celebrate accomplishments. No one argues against that. However, it has become very noticeable to many in our community that the most important problems of students, parents, teachers, and taxpayers are either not even being discussed by our school board or appear to be denied, dismissed, covered up, and prioritized below comparatively unimportant presentations that consume precious school board meeting time. We need to see BOTH a celebration of totally accurate reflections of accomplishments, and the clarity, candor and competence to deal with remaining issues that affect the future of our kids and community. An upgrade of the school board is needed either in the form of a dramatic change in what our incumbent directors are doing or the people serving us in their roles.

  • Living Snoqualmie