Michael DeBell, who has served on the Seattle School Board for the past eight years, has decided not to seek a third term, saying he’s interested in doing something new.
DeBell’s board seat is one of three that will be on the ballot this year, along with the ones now held by Board President Kay Smith-Blum and Vice President Betty Patu. Both are in their first terms. Patu has said she plans to run for re-election. Smith-Blum has not made an announcement yet. The filing period for candidates begins next week.
DeBell spent five of his eight years on the board as its president or vice president. In his tenure, he has worked with four superintendents and 15 different colleagues. He has been on the board through two rounds of school closures, the decision to return to a more neighborhood-based system of assigning students to schools, the financial scandal involving the district’s small business program, and layoffs that stemmed from reductions in state funding. During his tenure, the district also passed several school levies by big margins, and negotiated new systems of evaluating teachers and principals.
DeBell said he is proudest of the move to the new neighborhood assignment system which he credits, in part, with the enrollment boom that the district is experiencing.
He said he doesn’t know what he might do next, but hopes to continue to be in public life in some capacity.