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Lake Washington School Board members Evan Kurtz and Shivani Sama.

Lake Washington School Board adds student members

The state's two largest districts give students a voice

Lake Washington School Board is following Seattle’s lead when it comes to giving students a voice. 

The board, which governs the district’s 56 schools serving more than 30,000 students, has created two seats for students members. 

The Seattle School Board approved its first non-voting student members last Spring. Lake Washington’s decision means that students have a voice on the boards of the largest and second largest districts in Washington State.

Representing two district areas

Evan Kurtz, a senior at Juanita High School, will serve on the Lake Washington School Board as the student representative for the west side of the district (Juanita and Lake Washington) for the 2022-23 school year.

Shivani Sama, a junior at Tesla STEM High School, will represent the east side of the school district (Redmond and the East Lake region) for the next two years. 

In introducing the new students members to the board and public, school board President Siri Bliesner said they would “will act as a liaison for students and provide information and input as the board conducts their work evaluation and decision making.” 

Students care about equitable treatment

Kurtz listed “equity and representation” as priorities among the west side student body.

“I’m extremely happy and thrilled to be in this position to be able to represent students,” Kurtz said at the board’s September meeting. “I’m very proud to be representing the schools in the Juanita and Lake Washington high school district. I believe that it is a very diverse district and so I’m very excited to be able to work with them to be able to ensure that we have equitable treatment for everyone in our area. I’m going to strive to be as open with everyone as I can be, be as communicative as possible and generally represent the area.” 

Sama too voiced enthusiasm for the newly created role: “I’m really excited to represent the student opinion — and, hopefully, to be able to provide students with the changes that they want to see.”

Two year terms

In future, both student seats will have two-year terms. Because Kurtz will graduate next year, the next student representative for the district’s west side will start their two-year term in 2023-24. Each year, the Board will select an incoming junior to replace its graduating senior using an application and interview process.

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About the Author

Cheryl Murfin

Cheryl Murfin is managing editor at Seattle's Child. She is also a certified doula, lactation educator for and a certified AWA writing workshop facilitator at