School board

VPS school board December 2019Members 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.

Each board member serves on one or more committees to examine topics before they are put before the board for a vote. Committees address policy issues and cover topics such as curriculum and facilities. What may appear to be quick acceptance or denial of a policy at the public board meeting often is proceeded by hours, weeks or even months of discussion and revisions at the committee level.

Annually, board members select a president and vice president. The president oversees meetings using parliamentary procedure. Meetings 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 through the superintendent’s office by letter or by email.

Public comments regarding policy, finances or other responsibilities of the board are taken at a designated time during the board meeting. Sign-up sheets are available at the meeting for those who wish to address the board. Anyone who wants to address the board should sign up to speak prior to the start of the meeting. When called to speak, go to the podium and state your name and address into the microphone. Comments are limited to three minutes. The board will not make decisions regarding those comments during the meeting.

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 • Debra Hale • 360-313-1010
    • Secondary education • Chris Olsen or 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 • Carole Pemberton • 360-313-4800
    • Safety • Dave Bennett • 360-313-1044
    • Communications office • Pat Nuzzo • 360-313-1230
  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

Wendy Smith
Wendy SmithPresident

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 2021 • Position 3

Meet the directors

Kathy Decker
Kathy DeckerVice president

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

Tracie Barrows
Tracie BarrowsDirector

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

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

Mark Stoker
Mark StokerDirector

Attorney, Heurlin, Potter, Jahn, Leatham, Holtmann, & Stoker, P.S.

Mark Stoker graduated from Fort Vancouver High School in 1976. Now he is putting his education, experience and law degree to use as a member of the board. He is an attorney with the firm Heurlin, Potter, Jahn, Leatham & Holtmann P.S.

Stoker previously served on the boards of the Vancouver School District Foundation and the I Have A Dream Foundation. He has coached youth sports and been active in organizations that support schools and children.

Stoker and his wife, Cynthia, have three children, all graduates of Columbia River High School.

Served since 2007 • Term expires 2021 • Position 2