New Renton school board member discusses top issues

March 6, 2009

By Jim Feehan

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Pam Teal was sworn in Feb. 11 as the newest member of the Renton School Board. She fills the vacancy left by Marcie Maxwell, who won election to the state Legislature in November.

Teal, 44, was born in Minnesota and grew up in Anacortes and Mount Vernon. Her husband, Mike, works for Boeing on the 747-8 program in Everett. They have two sons, Michael and Nicholas. 

Michael graduated last year from Hazen High School and is studying engineering at the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana. Nicholas, a junior at Hazen, is a member of the track and cross-country teams. He also plays drums in the jazz band. 

Teal has been active in PTSA for 12 years, including four years on the Renton PTSA Council. She chairs the Education Committee at the Renton Chamber of Commerce and is a board member of the Renton Community Foundation. For the past three years, she has been a mentor with Communities in Schools of Renton. Teal is also a member of the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce.

Teal represents the school board’s 5th District, which includes Newcastle, Newport Hills and north Renton. She lives near Newcastle’s proposed sports park on Southeast 95th Way. 

Despite her busy schedule, she took time to answer a few questions from Newcastle News.

What educational issue do you wish to tackle as a board member? 

The No. 1 job of a school board member is to facilitate student learning. It is our job to have vision, policies and partnerships in place, in addition to having high standards. These high standards will impact the education students are receiving today; providing them with the skills that they need to directly impact tomorrow’s economy and our community. I see this as a win-win situation for everyone; students achieve, businesses thrive and our community continues to grow on its already solid foundation.

Hobbies? 

Cooking, wine collecting, gardening and my favorite — crabbing in the San Juan Islands  during summer

Favorite school memory? Attending the annual Future Business Leaders of America conferences in Seattle

Favorite school lunch? 

Peanut butter and honey sandwiches — I liked it when the honey would get crunchy on the bread.

Favorite subject in school? Business classes and American government

Favorite Crayola color?

Sea green; it reminds me of the waters in the islands.

I’m a parent. How will you represent my child and me? 

I will represent the Newcastle parents and students by being an active listener and sharing successes all of our students and staff in the Renton School District. 

What do you believe will be the most challenging issue facing students upon graduation in the next five years? 

One challenge facing students is to realize the importance of being lifelong learners. In these tough economic times, it is critical that students are always looking to the future and being open to new ideas and skills. We are living in a time that is changing and evolving every day; globally, technologically, economically we need our students to be prepared for the ever-changing world.

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