Chris Grames and Arlista Holman are running for a spot on the Auburn School Board.
Here’s what each candidate had to say as the Nov. 5 general election approaches.
As a leader of long-term planning for Boeing Commercial Airlines, Chris Grames has managed multi-million dollar budgets, employing strategic analysis and sharp business acumen.
At home, Grames and his wife are the parents of five children, four of whom attend the Auburn School District, the oldest a recent graduate of Auburn Mountainview High School. He has taught statistics and Spanish, coached youth baseball, basketball, softball, soccer and flag football in Auburn, working with and guiding its youth.
Positive assets all for a would-be member Auburn School District Board of Directors.
“As a concerned parent, I am interested in helping Auburn schools excel and work for our students,” Grames said. “An education is important for all children and a good education is key to success in life. We need to give our students and teachers the best opportunities for success that we can.
“… Ensuring the public’s money is well spent will be a guiding principle for me. The Auburn School District has done a good job being fiscally responsible, and I pledge to continue that. The focus of funds should always be the classroom and learning environment. Giving our children the best chance for a safe and accountable learning experience will be the goal,” Grames said.
He hopes to use every bit of his long-term planning expertise to ensure the district’s future in a growing community by hiring the sort of top-notch personnel who in turn will hire, train and guide top-notch teachers. He hopes to help formulate plans that will allow the district to continue upgrading facilities and accommodate growth so that students and teachers can remain in classes of manageable size.
Student safety is another concern.
“Many of us use key cards to get access to our workplace and security cameras abound, but our classrooms remain relatively easy to gain access to,” Grames said. “The unfortunate reality of the times we live in makes it imperative that we have better security in our schools. Our students and our staff are entitled to that safety. This also goes for protecting our children against bullying.
“I am passionate that all of our children have opportunities to succeed and am committed to making that happen. A safe learning environment where all can succeed and where teachers have the resources they need to best help our students is my goal,” Grames said.
Arlista Holman retired in July 2019 from the position she’d held with the Auburn School District for 30 years.
But just because she’s no longer a registrar, Holman says, doesn’t mean she ready to retire from m her decades of service to the Auburn community.
Not at all. Which is why she’s got her eye on a position on the Auburn School District Board.
“The opportunity to continue to serve the school community as a member of the school board is an exciting prospect, and the timing could not be better,” Holman said. “I believe working with colleagues, teachers, parents, administrators and supporting students for 30 years provides me with a unique perspective as a member of the school board. Student success is at the center of Auburn School District decisions and that is my main focus as well.”
An Auburn resident for more than 40 years, Holman began serving in the community in the 1980’s when her children started school. She volunteered in their classrooms at Lea Hill Elementary and then joined the Parent Teachers Association.
“The PTA is a wonderful organization that in my experience provides a connection for parents, a way to get to know the school’s teachers and connects us to the community,and together we all work to support our kids. It was the PTA that sparked a love of service in me, which led me to serve on the city of Auburn’s Human Resource Committee, Auburn Youth Resources – today Nexus Youth and Family – the Green River College Board of Trustees, Wesley Homes Senior Living, and most recently the Washington State Investment Board representing SERS members for the State’s Retirement System,” Holman said.
While the Auburn School District does a great job of hiring top-notch teachers and staff, Holman said, it has lost “more than a few amazing teachers,” and she would like to find a way to retain them.
“District-wide equity programs for the fair and impartial treatment of all people is growing district and community wide. In the spirit of equity, I would like to address the need for counseling and mental health services district wide, meaning those services should be available to students at the elementary level,” Holman said.
Arlista and her husband, John Holman, a member of the Auburn City Council, and their two children attended and graduated from Auburn schools. The Holmans have two grandsons “attending and thriving” in Auburn Public Schools.
“I have a vested interest in the quality of their education and that interest affects all of our children,” Holman said.