There’s been a lot of talk about experience in this election, and I want to address it head on. It’s true that I’ve never been on the school board, but I’m a quick learner, and I have extensive experience in creating communities and clear communication (how’s that for some alliteration?).

When it comes to community, the best experience I have is simply being my parents’ son: Lynn and Blake Willeford have been involved in a ton of community projects and have instilled in me the importance of building a community where everyone feels respected and supported. I chose Carleton College because it was an excellent school, and because it was excellent at creating a community feeling among its small population of students and staff. But I’ve also been a volunteer coordinator and community organizer professionally: I organized more than 5,000 volunteers around the world running games for a tabletop gaming company and built them into a community.

Building community takes clear communication, and what I started there I honed in my later career as an advertising copywriter. Over the past 11 years as a copywriter crafting ads for Microsoft, Xbox, T-Mobile, Group Health, and others, I’ve learned the importance of clear, crisp, direct communication. Without that, you cannot have trust, and without trust, you can’t have safe, healthy learning conditions for our students.

So it’s true that I’ve never been on the school board before, but I have extensive experience with the direction that I think we should take the school district.

I have also attended most of the school board meetings this summer, as well as scattered other board meetings since the beginning of last summer. I’ve read the board minutes of the meetings I haven’t been able to make this summer. I’ve taken a class from the Washington State School Directors’ Association. I’ve studied the budget over the last year. I’m definitely getting up to speed on what it means to be a board member, and how to work toward the priorities I believe would benefit our school district.