Introducing new School Board Director Maddie Names
Introducing School Board Director Maddie Names
Posted on 01/12/2018
Introducing School Board Director Maddie Names

When it comes to being involved in Puyallup schools and the local community Maddie Names is a veteran.

Names was elected as the newest member of the school board in the November election and began serving her four-year term after being sworn in by Superintendent Yeomans during the December 11, 2017 board meeting.

As a parent, Puyallup PTA Council member, Reflections Chair, and school volunteer, Names brings knowledge, experience, and a passion for students to her new role.

She served as co-chair for the Citizens Committee for Education in 2016, is a recipient of the Award of Recognition for Volunteer Service by the district, and was recognized by Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA) with the Community Leadership Award for her contributions to the improvement of public education.

Maddie NamesWith an interest in art she has served as the Puyallup PTA Council Reflections Chairperson for five years and was the Art Docent Coordinator at Carson Elementary. “Arts and music will always be at my core.

They are relevant not only to a student’s education, but to their whole being,” says Names.

She makes it clear she joins the board without an agenda. “The school board is steering the district in the right direction, and our administrators bring their ‘A’ game every time! This is because our district leadership has vision, strong work ethic, collaborations within, community partnerships, impactful mission statement, and realistic goals that are enabling us to see well into the future. We as a board are in a good place to plan and think ahead rather than react in the moment. All of that formulates into success for our current and future students.”

Names got her start in Puyallup schools 10 years ago when her children enrolled at Carson Elementary one year after it opened. Prior to that she visited the school and said she was extremely impressed with then-principal Arturo Gonzalez. She was deciding whether to send her children to public or private school. She remembers, “I came knocking at the door as a parent and asked him if he had time for me. He invited me in and gave me the full VIP tour. I walked away thinking ‘that’s where my kids are going to go to school’, and I have never looked back.”

A parent of two students in the district, her daughter is a ninth grader in the PAGE program at Kalles and her son is in sixth grade at Carson Elementary. Names has served as the PTA president and vice president at Carson. She said she has worked with many principals and administrators, and says her experiences have all been collaborative and positive.

Next steps in her journey

Reflecting back 10 years ago on her first impressions of the district and knowing that Puyallup was her new home and community, Names considers her experiences a journey that has led her to serve on the school board.She looks forward to being a part of what the board is about and collaborating with them. “What an amazing group of people. Everyone, in their hearts, care about the kids,” says Names.

“Our board is comprised of a strong group of leaders who seek answers, ask pertinent questions, and also listen. It is clear to me from the start that we are respected, an essential part of the process, and appreciated for coming to the table prepared to do the work that is necessary to maintain the direction we want to go,” she says.

She is impressed by the level of detailed information the board asks for and considers as they make decisions. They ask tough questions and give careful consideration to the answers they receive.

A recent example is the restructuring of the senior project. It is an experience that affects all graduating students. Names said the board asked many questions during the review process, and it took three months to gather more information during school board meetings. “It’s a great example of not just rubber stamping, rather asking challenging questions which will create exceptional results” she says.

As Puyallup continues to see substantial growth throughout the district the role of the school board in the community becomes even more important according to Names. “We should continue to build upon our community partnerships. How is Puyallup going to support new families moving in? We should not only think as a school board member but as a partner with the community. These relationships go hand in hand for the best interest of our students and their families.”

When asked about the recent board decision to place the Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy on the February ballot Names said she supports the decision. As a previous co-chair of the Citizens Committee for Education in Puyallup she knows firsthand that these levies maintain the health of our district. As a new board member she has learned more about state Legislature funding for basic education and the definition of what is included versus programs that are not considered basic

education. “Our kids are fortunate to enjoy athletics, arts, drama, music, highly capable programs, and so much more. They have opportunities for enrichment programs such as field trips to the symphony, Junior Achievement, Chihuly glass exhibit, Karshner Museum, and the Ohop Valley,” says Names.

“It’s astonishing how many things we as parents have inherently come to think of as basic education, but they are not. For example, health screenings for hearing and vision, and ample enrichment opportunities. It is important to know that we seek to nurture and develop the whole child.”
Puyallup School Board Director Maddie Names

One of her first priorities as a new school board director is to visit schools. As a parent and volunteer, Names has already spent a lot of time in classrooms. “I’m still in those hallways and classrooms with teachers and principals, and I’m hoping to do that exponentially. I believe I have a well rounded understanding of what goes on in our schools and that will grow deeper from listening to teachers, principals, parents, and students,” says Names.

Her focus as a School Board Director will always be to make the best decisions for each and every student.

“When students leave our K-12 walls my hope is that I have made thoughtful decisions that have prepared them well to move on to whatever they endeavor. We want our kids to contribute to the community, lead their lives in a positive direction, and fulfill their potential so they can be the best they hope to be.”

Puyallup School Board Director Maddie Names