Former teacher gets nod for Chimacum School Board seat

Posted 10/8/20

A former German language teacher — who also happens to have been an IBM systems engineer — has been appointed to fill a vacant seat on the Chimacum School Board.

Kathyrn Lamka was …

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Former teacher gets nod for Chimacum School Board seat

Posted

A former German language teacher — who also happens to have been an IBM systems engineer — has been appointed to fill a vacant seat on the Chimacum School Board.

Kathyrn Lamka was unanimously appointed to the Position 5 seat during the school board’s last meeting in September.

Lamka was one of two candidates to step up and volunteer to serve the school district following the resignation of Jack McKay in late July.

Wilma L. Hackman, 75, was the first to offer to fill out McKay’s term. 

A Port Hadlock resident, Hackman ran against McKay for the school board seat three years ago but lost in the Primary Election.

The Chimacum School Board interviewed both candidate’s for the empty seat during a meeting conducted on the Zoom videoconferencing platform.

Hackman recalled her different roles in the Chimacum School District since moving to Jefferson County in 1987, first as an instructional assistant and later, after she earned teaching certification, as a substitute teacher in Chimacum and other school districts.

“I’ve had a long history of involvement in education,” Hackman said.

“The thing I care most about in education is, besides having a strong curriculum and basic skills ... I like seeing emphasis on not just providing information ... but learning how to evaluate the information. How to decide what’s important to a person,” she explained.

With a vacancy on the school board, it’s currently short-handed, she said.

And that’s during a time when the district is navigating how to provide education during the COVID-19 pandemic while also searching for a new district superintendent.

Lamka, 74, is a Port Ludlow resident and worked as a secondary German teacher for South Redford Schools in Michigan. After a career at IBM, she became a partner in Meetingworks, a software/consulting company. 

Lamka has lived in Port Ludlow since 2004, following a move from Seattle.

She grew up in Michigan, and taught for a decade before getting laid off due to a lack of enrollment, she said.

She then turned to technology, and work with IBM.

“I kind of made my father happy by becoming the engineer he wanted me to be,” Lamka said.

She said she later “found Seattle and had to move here.”

“I convinced IBM to move me here and I couldn’t be happier with that choice.”

For the past nine years, Lamka has been a volunteer at Chimacum Elementary School. She’s also been a helper in a third-grade class.

“I find myself involved in the schools a whole lot right now,” Lamka said.

“I really do think you all, and we all, are doing a good job,” she added. “Even if it’s a tough time; we’re really stepping up. And I want to roll up my sleeves and be part of that.”

When asked about her vision for education in Chimacum, Lamka said: “I feel like this community needs to find an identity to glom onto.”

She noted the success of Port Townsend in incorporating the maritime theme into its place-based education efforts.

“That said, I don’t think everybody should become a farmer,” she said of Chimacum’s potential approach.

Even so, there’s an educational opportunity on the business of growing food, and the science of food and production, and having it coupled with a technology base.

But putting first things first, Lamka said the district needs to focus on creating a safe learning environment, student achievement and enrollment.

“I am really into cooperation, collaboration, communication. We need to be partners, all of us,” she said.

That includes promoting the district.

“I think we have a story to tell, and we could increase our enrollment to remain strong,” she said.

“The really, really good stories aren’t always told. We need to tell the story in every place we can,” Lamka said.

The school board then adjourned to a private session to talk about the candidates before returning to a public session to vote.

There was no additional board discussion or debate, and Lamka was unanimously picked to fill the seat.

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