The potential for philosophical change on the Davis Board of Education is probably greater than it has been in more than 10 years, but such a change would come at the expense of experience.
Of the three members up for re-election this fall, two have opted to retire from the board, leaving only Raymond Briscoe, who is seeking a third term. Sheryl Allen, who has served three terms, and Henry Heath, a one-term board member, said they will not seek a return to the board.Robert Thurgood and Louenda Downs, the two members not up for election this year, are each in the second year of their first terms. Should Briscoe be re-elected, he would be the only member with more than two years of board experience.
Philosophically, Thurgood and Briscoe are often at odds. Thurgood has often been the odd man out in board votes, however, he is occasionally joined by Downs in his opposition. Ironically, the two most closely aligned board members have been Heath and Allen and both will be leaving.
Both Briscoe and Downs are educators by training, although neither are actively involved in teaching. Thurgood is a businessman. New board members are likely to have a great impact on board direction in the future, especially if all three are new.
Also, Superintendent Richard Kendell is new, nearing completion of his first year on the job. Although he has a strong education background, he joined the district after a stint in private industry as a computer consultant. Kendell has brought a new philosophy to the district and has been actively reorganizing the central administrative staff and has been very open about his support for extended day and year-round school concepts. He has also been outspoken about his desire to find innovative ways to meet the state's education funding shortage.
With about two weeks remaining before the April 15 filing deadline, Briscoe is unopposed for the Precinct 1 school board seat. Precincts 2 and 3, the seats being vacated by Allen and Heath respectively, have found a number of candidates ready to run.
Two of the announced candidates are regional PTA officials. Edrice Christensen, who has been regional director for the past four years, but will leave that position this fall, has filed in Precinct 3. Shauna Nakaya, the incoming regional director and the associate director this past year, is a candidate in Precinct 2.
Precinct 1 covers the southern end of Davis County including North Salt Lake, Woods Cross and parts of Bountiful. Precinct 2 covers most of Bountiful proper and the West Bountiful area. Precinct 3 includes Centerville, Farmington, Kaysville and Fruit Heights.
While Briscoe is unopposed so far, Precinct 2 sees Nakaya facing Dan R. Eastman, a south Davis auto dealer, and Scott Steorts in filings so far. All are Bountiful residents.