Espy appointed to fill vacant SKSD board seat

New board member is longtime South Kitsap volunteer

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PORT ORCHARD — Following interviews conducted by the South Kitsap School District’s board of directors at a special session on Wednesday, Kate Espy was appointed to replace Eric Gattenby as the District 1 representative on the school board.

Espy, who has had a 40-year career as a registered nurse and had two children attend South Kitsap schools, was selected to replace Gattenby over candidate Rene Hernandez Greenfield by a 3-1 vote.

Director Jeff Daily selected Greenfield following a public interview session with Espy, Greenfield and a third candidate, former board member Rebecca Diehl. Prior to the vote, the board evaluated the candidates during a 30-minute executive session.

Espy will serve until the next regular school board election takes place during the summer and fall of 2023.

“I really appreciate this,” Espy said following the vote. “I’m looking forward to this. I’m excited, I’m honored and can’t wait to be part of this group. As we used to hear, there’s no ‘I’ in team, and I want to keep that going, and work and learn.”

Espy is a longtime South Kitsap resident who has been a volunteer in several service organizations. Her involvement included time spent with the South Colby Elementary PTO, South Kitsap High’s Football Parents Association, Soroptimist of Port Orchard, Girls on the Run, and the Kitsap Support Advocacy and Counseling Board.

In a news release, the new board member said that “The children in our community are so important and their education is paramount. I have the ability to stay calm and listen during high stress situations. I’m ready to learn and will bring a fresh perspective to the group.”

During her interview, which was streamed live during a Zoom session to the community, Espy emphasized that she has a history as a registered nurse of working well with people during stressful situations in the emergency room. She said her presence on the board will help bring continuity and calm during what have often been disruptive and contentious meetings.

Espy is scheduled to be sworn in at the board’s Dec. 15 regularly scheduled meeting, which will begin at 5 p.m.

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