REAA candidate Willow Olson plans to prepare students for futures beyond high school

The halls of Shishmaref's school are housing students at 170 percent capacity. Photo: Jenn Ruckel, KNOM.

In section III of the REAA election, Willow Olson runs uncontested for seat D of the regional school board. Incumbent Irene Navarro withdrew from re-election, leaving Olson as the only candidate for section III. REAA election day is October 5.

Each seat within the REAA represents a different region. Within REAA 02, Bering Strait, there are four seats available for the upcoming election. In section III, only seat D is up for election.

Candidate Olson plans to use her term in seat D to prepare students for post-graduation life.

“We’ve tackled a lot on graduation rates and getting kids to graduate, and that is amazing, and I applaud the work, and now we need to address getting them ready for the next step of life — getting to college. And how do you be successful in college?” Olson said.

Olson would also like to work on ways to keep teacher retention up.

In terms of financial priorities, Olson believes that funding should go directly to the classrooms first to aid teachers and their curriculums. She also emphasized importance of getting a counselor at each school.

“The other thing that I believe is a priority and I would like to delve into this issue is getting a counselor at each site. A counselor is pretty broad. It can be mental health, but you know counselors also help with college readiness. And so I think we should prioritize having a counselor in all the 15 district school sites,” Olson said.

Olson also wants each village to have their own representative within the REAA in the future. She also commended the district for taking school safety seriously and agreed with how leadership handled COVID-19 precautions.

Olson is running from Golovin, and will represent the communities of Golovin, Elim, Koyuk, and Shaktoolik with her seat. Seat K of section V is also up for election with only one candidate, Charlotte Kava.

Photo at top: The halls of Shishmaref’s school. Photo by Jenn Ruckel, KNOM.