Saddler exuberant about new school board term

Juneau School Board President Sally Saddler was the only candidate to appear on the ballot for two open seats.

She says there are plenty of ongoing issues to tackle, and she’s happy to come back to take them on.

“None of this happens quickly, and I think if there’s anything it’s having the fortitude and the patience and the persistence to keep at it,” says Saddler.

She noted that the board recently held a retreat, where it developed a set of student performance indicators to track how well their policies are working. Those include student achievement and progress in the classroom, attendance, and graduation rate.

Besides Saddler, voters cast 1,280 write-in votes for school board. Former member Sean O’Brien registered as a write in candidate after nobody filed to run for the second open seat. As City Clerk Laurie Sica explains, that guarantees O’Brien will win the seat.

“The only ones that are going to count are Sean O’Brien’s, because he’s the only one who submitted papers to become a declared write-in candidate,” says Sica. “So, although other people probably got write-in votes, they won’t be counted, because they haven’t said they’re willing to run and will serve if elected. That’s a big part of it.”

O’Brien served on the school board from 2005 to 2008. He decided to step down to spend more time with family, and had planned on running for the board again next year. When only one person filed, he moved it up a year, but not in time to get his name on the ballot.