School board

Members of the Vancouver Public Schools board of directors are elected by the citizens of the community to four-year terms. The board sets the district’s goals and policies and is the governing body for adoption of school budgets.

Acting as secretary to the school board, the superintendent is responsible to them for implementing policies and operation of the schools.

Board meetings are accessible to all regardless of sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, disability or the use a dog guide or trained service animal. If you require special accommodations or an interpreter, please contact the superintendent’s office at 360-313-1200, before 4 p.m., at least four school days prior to the meeting date to allow sufficient time to make appropriate accommodations.

The board of directors is responsible for district policy, budget and hiring and supervising the superintendent. Read the board/superintendent goals.

Individual board members serve as a committee of the whole. They hold monthly workshops to examine topics of interest including policy issues and topics such as curriculum and facilities. Board members also meet for monthly study sessions during which they review items that will be put forward for a vote at their monthly business meeting. The study sessions cover topics including budget, district performance scorecards and policies.

Annually, board members select a board chair and co-chair. The board chair oversees meetings using parliamentary procedure. Workshops, work sessions and business meeting are open to the public and the media. Exceptions are executive sessions, which are limited by law to discussions that concern issues regarding legal matters, personnel or property, in which public disclosure would be damaging to individuals or the general welfare of the district.

Board members are elected by the public to serve four-year terms. To be eligible to fill any of the five board positions, a person must reside within the school district’s boundaries and be a registered voter. If a member leaves during a term, the board may choose a replacement to fill the position until the next general board election.

The board welcomes comments from parents, students, and community members. Comments may be submitted by:

  • Email: The board chair serves as the spokesperson for the board of directors.
  • Letter: Attention: Board of Directors, PO Box 8937, Vancouver WA 98668-8937
  • Public comment: See directions below.

Public comments regarding policy, finances or other responsibilities of the board are taken at a designated time during the board meeting. Anyone who wants to address the board during the regular business meeting via Zoom can sign up to speak by filling out this form by noon on the day of the school board meeting. Written comments or questions also may be sent to the board of directors at the above email address. Public comment must be relevant to the meeting agenda. Comments are limited to three minutes; however, a person can sign up to speak and then yield their time to another speaker. The board will not respond or make decisions regarding comments during the meeting.

State law requires that board meetings be open to the public, per RCW 28A.343.380. However, there is no legal requirement to provide an opportunity for public comments during a board meeting. There also is no legal requirement for board meetings to be videotaped and broadcast to the community. The VPS board and staff have chosen to provide this service for expanded community access and public awareness of the board’s business.

School board guidelines on public comment can be found in section X of policy 1400.

Concerns or issues regarding a specific school, teacher or student should always begin with district staff member(s) closest to the area of concern. The procedure is:

  1. Visit with the teacher or a guidance counselor.
  2. Visit with the principal (if a school-wide concern, this becomes step one).
  3. Contact one of the following district administrators:
    • Elementary education • Kristie Lindholm • 360-313-1010
    • Secondary education • Jim Gray • 360-313-1011
    • Special education • Daniel Bettis • 360-313-1250
    • Human resources • Kathy Everidge • 360-313-1080
    • Nutrition services • Mari Ovens • 360-313-1190
    • Transportation • Grace Elligott • 360-313-4800
    • Safety • Dave Bennett • 360-313-1044
    • Communications office • Pat Nuzzo • 360-313-1230
    • Education ombuds • Rachel Cason • 360-313-1187
  4. In rare circumstances, the board may conduct hearings or appeals of administrative decisions. Most matters are expected to be resolved using the administrative structure described above.

VPS board of directors believes that schools, families and communities interact as partners to strengthen opportunities for students to learn and grow. Your input is valued and critical to our continued success. Citizens, patrons, partners and families are encouraged to get involved. Citizens wishing to express opinions on policy, finances or other responsibilities of the board which have not been placed on a regular agenda should use one or more of these alternatives:

Board members encourage citizen input. In general, anonymous information will not be acted upon.

Concerns will be communicated to the superintendent, who will direct the administrative work necessary to address the issue.

Strategic plan

Design II, Chapter 2 Strategic Plan 2014-2020 The community's vision for Vancouver Public Schools

Tracie Barrows
Tracie BarrowsPresident

School psychologist in Evergreen Public Schools

Tracie Barrows is a school psychologist in Evergreen Public Schools. She has been a school psychologist for more than a decade and has lived in Vancouver since 2009. Barrows earned a master’s degree from Argosy University in Hawaii. Her husband, Doug, is a teacher in Evergreen Public Schools.

Served since 2019 • Term expires 2023 • Position 5

Meet the directors

Sandra Zavala-Ortega
Sandra Zavala-OrtegaVice president

Business owner

Sandra Zavala-Ortega has served in several capacities as a representative of the local Latino community to improve cultural diversity and increase opportunities for people of color.

Zavala-Ortega grew up in Vancouver and attended VPS schools. She also was previously employed by the district as a Family-Community Resource Center coordinator at Harney Elementary School.

She is currently pursuing her master’s degree at Washington State University Vancouver. She and her husband, Enrique, have a son who attends school in VPS.

Served since 2021 • Term expires 2025 • Position 2

Kathy Decker
Kathy DeckerDirector

Retired teacher

Kathy Decker, a former VPS teacher, began her career after earning her Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. She has taught in three states and Japan. She and her husband, Mark, have three children; two are VPS graduates and one is currently at Columbia River High School.

Served since 2019 • Term expires 2023 • Position 4

Wendy Smith
Wendy SmithDirector

Teacher at Heritage High School in Evergreen Public Schools

Wendy Smith is a lifelong Vancouver resident and product of Vancouver Public Schools. She attended Felida Elementary School, Jason Lee Middle School and Columbia River High School. After graduating, she earned bachelor’s degrees in history and anthropology from the University of Washington and a master’s degree in education from Washington State University Vancouver.

Smith, a social studies teacher, sees her work on the school board as a natural extension of her commitment to public education.

Smith and her husband, Rob Lutz, have two young children: George and Eleanor.

Served since 2017 • Term expires 2025 • Position 3

Kyle Sproul
Kyle SproulDirector

Marketing director

Kyle Sproul, a Washington native, moved to Vancouver in 2006. Sproul has a Master of Business Administration degree from Indiana University. Her career includes working as a marketing strategist for two Fortune 500 companies. Currently, she is a part-time marketing director for a small business. She and her husband, David, have three children; two are VPS students and one is a future VPS student.

Served since 2019 • Term expires 2023 • Position 1