Longtime Yelm School Board member resigns

Mark Rohwedder’s departure effective immediately


Mark Rohwedder, District No. 1 director for the Yelm Community Schools Board, announced his resignation, effective immediately, during the board’s meeting at Ridgeline Middle School on Thursday, May 9.

Rohwedder, whose term was set to expire in 2025, had served on the board since July 25, 2013. He told the board and attendees during the meeting that he first intended to resign on the first of the year but he chose to wait until after the special election for the district’s educational program and operations (EP&O) levy, which failed on both attempts.

After the meeting, Rohwedder said his job has taken him between Vancouver and Longview and that he does not “have the time to dedicate what this needs to do.”

“I basically was going to resign on the first of the year, but with the levy coming up, I was in solidarity with the board and I didn’t want to have division going into a levy election,” he said. “We decided that it would be good to wait until the levy was over, so that was gonna be the end of February. But then we didn’t pass the levy, and then, after spring break, there was only one board meeting in April but it was before the levy. So this was the first board meeting after the final levy election.”

Rohwedder did not vote on the district’s reduced education plan, which was unanimously approved during the meeting. Superintendent Chris Woods said that 200 positions would be impacted, either temporarily or long term, but the district did not make the list of positions public.

Rohwedder said that while he no longer lives in the Olympia address, as of 2022, that is listed on the YCS board of directors website, he “rents a place in the district and I rent a place down south.” He confirmed that he did not vote on either levy attempt because he changed his mailing address to his southern residence, citing “the mail system is safer down there than the house within the district.”

“I hate to say that one vote doesn’t matter, but it does. But to go through all the hassle of changing my mailing address back to where I was staying up here just to change it to down south again, I didn’t want to deal with that headache,” he said.

Rohwedder said he hopes to continue supporting the district, particularly the career and technical education department in which he started his career. He added that he enjoys helping students open their eyes to careers outside of a four-year college degree, such as vocational schools and trade schools.

“For me, it’s promoting trades and engineering for high school students and junior students to get them interested in either college or vocational trade and to let them know that there’s other options besides a four-year degree that can provide a great family wage,” he said.

According to the district’s website, the remaining board members will fill the vacancy by appointment. The board will receive applications from any qualified persons seeking to fill the position after suitable public notice. Interviews of candidates for vacant positions will take place in a meeting open to the public. The board will appoint one of the candidates to serve until the next regularly scheduled board election, at which time a director will be elected for the unexpired term, if any.