Bell-Graves files for School Board; no one has filed to run against Bush

Posted: Friday, August 10, 2007

Small business owner Jo Anne Bell-Graves filed Thursday to run for the Juneau School Board in the Oct. 2 municipal election.

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The seats of President Bill Peters and longtime School Board member Mary Becker are up for re-election. Both have said they do not intend to seek re-election.

Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium family counselor Gregory Brown Sr. filed to run for the School Board on Wednesday.

Bell-Graves, who has served on the site councils of Harborview Elementary School and Floyd Dryden Middle School, presently fills one of two business seats on the Juneau-Douglas High School site council. Now that her son is older, Bell-Graves said she wants to build on her experience volunteering in schools by taking the next step of running for School Board.

"I've been asked before to run and I think with my son in high school, I have more time to commit," she said. "Early on I didn't (run) because I felt it would take away from home life."

Bell-Graves said the opening of Thunder Mountain High School will be a major undertaking for the community.

"I'm interested in being a part of a team, the School Board, in that transition," she said. "And not to have it affect the education of the students during that transition."

Bell-Graves said she has concerns about the vocational training opportunities that will be available to students once the new high school opens because it does not have plans for such education.

"Not everybody is going to college," she said. "There's a lot of jobs and opportunities in business when you have vocational training."

Bell-Graves said she would like to see high school students have the same access to vocational training regardless of the campus where they are enrolled.

"I feel like I'm an asset to at least put in some time and try to help with that," she said.

Bell-Graves said she would also like to see the district provide competitive salaries for teachers.

"We don't want to lose teachers to down south because we're not keeping up with the pay scale," she said.

As of Thursday, nobody had filed to run for the District 1 Assembly seat held by Jeff Bush. Bush has told the Juneau Empire he intends to seek re-election and has filed a letter of intent with the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

Incumbent Randy Wanamaker is running for re-election to the District 2 Assembly seat he now holds. Licensed marriage and family therapist Dixie Hood also has filed to run for the District 2 Assembly seat.

Incumbent Johan Dybdahl is running for re-election to the Areawide Assembly seat he now holds. Juneau Planning Commission member Marshal Kendziorek has filed to run for Dybdahl's areawide seat.

The filing period closes at 4:30 p.m. on Monday.

• Contact Eric Morrison at 523-2269 or eric.morrison@juneauempire.com.



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