Eric Van Cise is one of five candidates running for two open seats on the Sitka School Board. The municipal election is Tuesday, October 6, 2015.

Downloadable audio.

My name is Eric Van Cise. I’m a 21-year resident of Sitka, and I am a candidate for the upcoming school board election.

I moved here in 1994 from the community of Hoonah. My wife and I have raised our two children here — two boys, one recently graduated who’s up at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and our younger son is currently attending Sitka High School as a sophomore.

150924_EricVanCise_woolseySome of the reasons I’m running for school board:

I really want to be a good representation for our community, someone that you can come to and share your concerns, express your ideas, and you’ll find that I’m the kind of person who’s easy to get along with and willing to listen to what you have to say.

Some priority focuses of mine are dealing with our students and our children who are struggling academically. We have children for whom it might be a single topic, or a subject — or a multitude of things — but school is not coming easy for them. And I would like to continue working hard with collaborative efforts with parents, students, teachers, and the public to identify these areas of concern, and come up with solutions and ideas that hopefully will move these kids forward and gain on their academic achievement and confidence as well.

Our school has recently adopted the Alaska Education Standards, which model the Common Core curriculum. It has been controversial. There are concerns. But I do feel that we need to give it a chance — give it a chance to work. I have a lot of confidence in our district’s staff and administration. We’ve got excellent teachers — really focused and dedicated — and I really feel that if we’re given the latitude to tweak curriculum, adjust things, and monitor how it is going, I think it is worth a chance.

Having said that, if I’m elected a school board member, it is something that I would be monitoring very, very closely: How are the tests going for our kids? How is it for parents? How is it for the teachers, the ones who actually have to put this stuff into practice? I want to make sure that it’s something that’s helping our kids, and not making things worse.

The last thing is really just making sure that we’re addressing not only the needs of our current kids here in Sitka now, but making sure that we’re doing the right things to prepare them for the real world out there. I want to be there for them, I want to be there for their parents, and I also want to be a support service for the teachers.

During the election process this year, I’d appreciate your vote. My name is Eric Van Cise, candidate for Sitka School Board.

Due to the renovation work at Harrigan Centennial Hall, municipal elections will be held in two precincts this year. Precinct 1 is at Grace Harbor Church located at 1904 Halibut Point Road. Precinct 2 is at St. Gregory’s Catholic Church located at 605 Lincoln Street.  Polls will be open from 7am to 8pm.  Absentee/advanced voting will be available weekdays from 9am to 5pm at City Hall (3rd floor) beginning September 21 and will continue through October 5.