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Everett, Monroe school boards have challengers

Most local school board elections will see incumbents running alone, with the only opposition coming in Everett.
In Everett, Janelle Nixon-Burke is the sole challenger to current District 2 Director Pam LeSesne.
The office has a 6-year term and an annual stipend of no more than $4,800 per year. Directors are paid $50 per board meeting and for attending events such as graduations.
LeSesne hopes to make internships and apprenticeships more available to students if given another term.
“There’s a lot more to be done and I’m up for the challenge,” LeSesne said.
Nixon-Burke did not return multiple requests for comment by press time.
LeSesne was first elected in 2011. The retired Navy captain previously served on the school district’s Strategic Planning Council and Fiscal Advisory Council.
Monroe’s school board has all of its incumbents going unchallenged, with only one seat being contested by two newcomers, Jerry Martin and Josh Gibson. They are
vying for an open 2-year term in District 5 to fill out board member Katy Woods’ seat.
When Woods moved elsewhere in Monroe, she moved out of her board seat district area and had to relinquish the seat.
The position has a salary of $50 per board meeting and other sponsored events. There is a $50 limit per day, but no annual cap.
Gibson has lived in Monroe for the last eight years.
“Monroe has a special place in my heart,” Gibson said. “There is literally nowhere else I’d rather be.”
Gibson said his two children are an inspiration to run, saying he’ll “hopefully influence or be a part of the next generation of education.”  
With experience managing different branches of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and now an e-commerce company in Woodinville, Gibson said he hopes to bring leadership.
Martin did not respond to a request for comment.
Jason Hutchinson, Darcy Cheesman and Jim Langston are all running unopposed. Each position has a 4-year term.
In Snohomish, school board members Shaunna Ballas, Sara Fagerlie, Josh Seek and Jay Hagen are all up for re-election and will be running unopposed. All positions have 4-year terms except Fagerlie’s, which is two years to fill the remainder of longtime board member Leah Hughes-Anderson’s seat.

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