Prosser’s newest school board member is no stranger to the school district.
Peggy Douglas, the recently retired Paterson superintendent, was appointed by the Prosser School Board earlier this week.
Douglas, who has about 28 years of experience working with the Paterson and Prosser school districts, fills the position left vacant with the recent death of school board member Gayle Wheeler.
Douglas was hired by the Prosser School District to work in the business office in 1988 and served as Prosser Superintendent Ray Tolcacher’s assistant for nine years.
She started working for the Paterson School District as the business manager in 1991 and became the first full-time superintendent in 2000. She retired at the end of last school year.
“Peggy can really hit the ground running because of her experience, and that’s a positive thing on her side,” said Bill Jenkin, Prosser School Board chairman.
Douglas is familiar with the demands and responsibility of school board members and would have the time to dedicate to the position, Jenkin said.
All three candidates the board interviewed were well-qualified, Jenkin said. The others were Patty Johnson and Dr. Russell Smithyman.
He’s hopeful all will decide to run for the position in the general election. The filing period is next week.
Douglas does plan to file for election for the four-year seat, as the current term expires in December.
She had planned to eventually run for school board as a way to give back to the community that has been home for 37 years, she said. Her children were raised in Prosser, and her grandchildren now attend Prosser schools.
She hopes to help make Prosser a great place for children to learn and said she’s a great listener and a strong team player.
She’s passionate about school safety and sees the need not only for a new high school, but also for other school buildings to be modernized, she said.
She hopes to help rebuild community trust, which along with paying for a new high school are what she sees as the district’s largest challenges.
“What I would like to is ensure that the same quality of education that my children received is perpetuated for future children,” Douglas said. “It’s all about that need to give back to something to a community that’s been very gracious to me and my family.”
Position 1, which Douglas plans to run for, is one of four positions up for election this year. The others are the four-year terms held by Andy Howe, for district 2, and Bruce Matsumura, for district 5, and the two-year term held by Warren Barmore for district 4.
The school board has experienced quite a bit of turnover during the past few years. Three board members resigned in 2013, either because they were moving out of the district boundaries or out of the specific areas in Prosser they represented.
Detailed maps of the boundaries for each position are available at the school district’s offices at 1126 Meade Ave. and online at www.prosserschools.org.