Maya Vengadasalam won’t run for reelection to the Kent School Board after eight years as a director.
Vengadasalam announced Feb. 24 on Facebook that she won’t seel reelection to a third four-year term. Voters elected her in 2013 and reelected her in 2017. Her term expires in November.
“As some of my close circle of friends know, I believe in fully committing to the political office for which we are elected; finishing terms through all the challenges and opportunities; and in political leaders having term limits to allow the space for new leadership,” Vengadasalam said. “As such, I am announcing today (Feb. 24) that I will not seek reelection to the Kent School Board.”
A Kent resident since 1991, Vengadasalam became involved in school district activities when her son began kindergarten at Kent Elementary School in 1996.
“For the past eight years, it has been my greatest honor to serve the students and families of the fifth largest and one of the most diverse school districts in Washington state,” she said.
Vengadasalam said it can be a challenging position.
“The school board position is not for the weary,” she said. “The time away from family and professional work demands the ability to manage tasks and priorities with utmost attention and care. We are faced with competing interests, ideas and challenges that require ethical, moral and skilled considerations.
“I am proud that I never missed an important (and many would say controversial) vote and have only missed two regular board meetings in the last eight years. It is my hope that my work on the Kent School Board will be remembered for what it was – a reflection of my father’s integrity, selflessness, honesty, and decision-making based on facts and reality checks that never wavered from my own core values…even when the decisions were not popular.”
Vengadasalam said much work remains in the district.
“With (Superintendent) Dr. (Calvin) Watts and team at the helm, our equity work is beginning to take full shape and we have the right leadership in place to address the needs of our most vulnerable students,” she said. “I look forward to the next 10 months working alongside my board colleagues to get back to in-person teaching and learning; to maintain our financial stability; to work on our legislative priorities; and to put our equity plans to action and get our new schools opened.”
Vengadasalam joined board members Denise Daniels and Leah Bowen in a 3-2 vote in August to extend Watts’ contract through June 2022. His contract would have expired this July.
Daniels, the board president, said she’s enjoyed working with Vengadasalam.
“You will leave difficult shoes to fill, and it has been more than a pleasure to serve on the board alongside of you,” Daniels said in a comment on Vengadasalam’s Facebook post. “I don’t know anyone that has done more for the students and families in the community of Kent. Thank you for all you’ve done and the support you’ve given to all of those around you.”
Anyone who runs to replace Vengadasalam must live in District 5 and file with King County Elections May 17-21. The district stretches from about the West Valley Highway east to 116th Avenue SE and from South 240th Street south to South 277th Street.