After a two-month vacancy on the Yelm School Board, an interim position got filled Thursday night.
Mark Rohwedder was appointed as Director District 1 over William Hashim. The position will be voted on in the November 2013 general election, in which a four-year term will be decided with both Rohwedder and Hashim on the ballot.
Rohwedder replaces Dave Pratt, who resigned in April due to moving out of the district. He was selected over Hashim after a round-robin interview from the School Board, which went into executive session for more than 20 minutes before announcing the decision.
When Rohwedder’s name was announced, he said he was “excited.”
“I’m excited to be a member of the School Board and community, and I’m really excited to be part of the education process,” he said after the meeting adjourned. “I have a deep desire to see that all Yelm students graduate, and that they have the skills and knowledge and faith in their abilities to carry them wherever they want to go.
“Whether it be a four-year university, trade school, apprenticeship or just finding a job, I want to see everybody graduate and have the skills to do what they want to do (after high school).”
One of the main things he wants to accomplish is ensuring teachers can remain teachers, not become instructors.
“Teachers inspire kids to learn and instructors don’t,” he said. “I want kids to have a thirst for knowledge and continue to learn, and good teachers do that. When they’re instructors they’re just cramming information and not giving students the chance to show creativity, gain that knowledge and to gain that enthusiasm to learn.”
Rohwedder also hopes the federal and state government are patient enough to allow a program the time it needs to become successful. Changing things up every few years is not the answer, he said.
“I just to want to make sure with everything coming down from the federal government and state government, I’d really like to see a program stay in place long enough to see what the results are and make sure we don’t have a flavor-of-the-month program coming out of the federal government or state government. In other words, if we change the program every two or three years, we’d never give it a chance to see what it could do. To really know what a program does (it takes) like 12 years.”
As Board President Bill Hause read a statement to announce which candidate was chosen, it became clear who won when he mentioned an involvement in Yelm Community Schools. While Hashim has three kids he’s put through college, Rohwedder volunteered the past 12 years at YCS in various ways.
“It’s the Board’s duty to select the person we feel is most likely to contribute to the district’s mission and vision,” Hauss said. “Both candidates were very qualified. We made our decision based on the candidate who has demonstrated a commitment to Yelm (Community Schools) and is most involved in school programs and serving as a volunteer on a number of school committees.”
Hashim has worked 36 years as a public servant with several degrees in 12 years of post-high school education.
“I know how to drive a child’s passion and how to allow them to be successful at education,” Hashim told the School Board.
Even though he is qualified, Rohwedder, who has been in the private industry for 30 years, was evidently even more so.
“What I’ve seen is the product of education going into the workforce, and the deficiencies or successes going into the workforce,” Rohwedder said in part of his first response to the Board. “Because of some of those deficiencies here a few years ago, I started getting involved with the high school and CTE (Career and Technical Education) program, because … they cannot get past the entrance exam. They did not have the knowledge to do that and that bothered me.”
In their closing comments, Hashim had nothing left to add while Rohwedder did, saying, in part: “One of the reasons I moved to Yelm versus (larger cities) is because of the school system. I believe deeply that the heart of a thriving community is a strong public school system.”