Meet the candidates
Wenatchee School Board, Pos. 4
WENATCHEE — Four candidates are in the running for two contested spots on the Wenatchee School Board.
One-term board member Gary Callison is defending his Position 4 seat against challenger Robert Sealby.
In the Position 5 race, Jennifer Talbot and Ryan Kelso both want to replace Kevin Gilbert, who is stepping down from the board after serving two four-year terms.
Callison, 70, said he wants to continue being an active player in Wenatchee schools. He’s been a teacher, assistant principal, principal for three schools and special projects coordinator, all for the Wenatchee School District. He resigned the special projects position to run for school board, where he’s served the past four years.
“My children received an excellent education from the Wenatchee School District and have gone on to college graduated degrees. I’d love to serve another term and see that all kids have a chance to get that,” Callison said.
Callison said there are inequities at some district schools that he’d like to help improve. He’s been involved in putting a bond proposal that, if approved next year, would bring great facility improvements to Washington and Lincoln elementary schools.
He also supports the Wenatchee Learns program that aims to help students and the community to work together to keep education in step with current technology.
“Wenatchee Learns has received more public input than anything we’ve ever done and that can only help,” he said.
Sealby, 51, has been a Wenatchee attorney since 1991 and is now a partner in the Carlson, McMahon & Sealby law firm. Both he and his wife come from families where many members were teachers.
The Sealby’s two sons, twins Jacob and Lucas, were outstanding athletes and honor students in Wenatchee schools, and now at Washington State University. Their daughter Alissa is now doing well as a WHS junior. With the two boys out of the house, Sealby said he has more time for a different role in education. Instead of coaching, going to every game and so many school functions, he’d like to help improve local schools for all kids.
“I’m not running a negative campaign. The board is doing a good job, but I think I can bring new blood and perspective,” Sealby said. “I feel like I may be more in touch with what’s going on in the schools and I want to offer what I can.” He also supports district-wide facility improvements.
“I want to keep a good, healthy and positive attitude going in the schools,” he said.
The Position 5 slot opened when Kevin Gilbert decided not to seek re-election after nine years on the board.
Jennifer Talbot, 41, said running for school board was the logical next step for her after years of volunteer work, and serving on many school, district and state education committees. She and her husband, Tony, have six children, ages 4 to 23. She served as president of Lewis and Clark Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Association.
Having children in Wenatchee schools gives her a parent’s perspective that she believes is essential on the board, she said.
“This is something I have all the skill levels to do,” said Talbot, who is working on a master’s degree in organizational leadership through Gonzaga University.
The district in moving in a positive direction with the Wenatchee Learns program, she said. She would like to help continue that and contribute her problem-solving skills.
“When you’re a parent with children in the schools you’re in the schools a lot. You know students, teachers and principals. You know what’s working and what can be done a little better,” she said.
A Wenatchee resident for the past 17 years, Talbot said the community clearly values quality education.
“That’s an integral part of who we are in Wenatchee,” she said. “As a school board member, I would be a voice for the community.”
Ryan Kelso, 40, is president and CEO of Complete Design, Inc. He has two children in Wenatchee schools. He’s been a track and field and cross country at Wenatchee High School and is currently head girls track and field coach at Pioneer Middle School.
Kelso said he’s running for the position to set high obtainable goals and objectives for the district while creating an environment of accountability.
“I envision an environment using empowerment of positive, practical learning techniques where students look forward to attending class and learning essential educational and life skills,” he said. If students can gain feelings of self importance in education, they will excel in the studies, graduate and become productive members of the community, he said.