Price Johnson resigns from board

LANGLEY — Helen Price Johnson formally resigned this week from the South Whidbey School Board following her election as the Island County commissioner for District 1.

Because current commissioner Phil Bakke was appointed to fill the job left by Mike Shelton one year ago, Price Johnson will be sworn in on Nov. 26 after the election is certified by the county auditor.

“I am stepping down from my uncompleted second term with the South Whidbey School Board,” Price Johnson’s letter to fellow board members said. “Though there is no legal requirement to do so, both jobs deserve to have focused attention by the office holder. This decision is bittersweet. It is not easy to step away from this group.”

Board president Fred O’Neal said it’s sad to see her go.

“We hate to see that because of Helen’s outstanding leadership qualities,” he said.

But Price Johnson said she’s not going far.

“I am excited by the ways my new role as commissioner can help to support the mutual goals of South Whidbey schools and our larger community,” she said. “Economic viability, affordable housing, sustainable growth and transportation are just some of the issues which impact our island at every level of government.”

O’Neal added that the board, because of the need to fill former member Bobby Riggs’ spot in September, is in good shape. Leigh Anderson was chosen as Riggs’ replacement, but there were five others qualified and interviewed for the unpaid position.

“We had five other applicants just a few months ago and there may be even more this time,” O’Neal said. “We expect to swear in a new member at our Dec. 17 board meeting.”

Among those who expressed an interest the last go-around were Robin Doucette, a volunteer with the Whidbey Island Dance Theatre; Dorothy Ferguson, a retired school counselor; and businesswoman Kris Barker.

Rounding out the group were retired businessman and former board member John Carty from Langley and Kevin Engstrom, a self-employed mortgage broker from Clinton.

“We’re very proud of Helen and she has our best wishes,” said District Superintendent Fred McCarthy. “She ran a positive campaign and she deserves the chance to be county commissioner.”

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