Erin Dury
Erin Dury

The Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors filled its vacant District 4 seat last week by appointing Ballard resident Erin Dury.

Dury was selected from two other applicants, Magnolia’s Eric Souza and Queen Anne’s Laura Marie Rivera, to fill the vacancy left after former board member Eden Mack resigned in January.

As the District 4 board member, Dury represents Magnolia, Queen Anne and some of Ballard.

Dury will serve out the remainder of Mack’s term, which expires with the November election.

Dury could choose to run for a new term in the fall election.

“I am honored and grateful to serve District IV and Seattle Public Schools, and I recognize the privilege and position of power this appointment has, and I know that true service will be shown through action,” Dury said in a SPS news release. “I look forward to working with the community, particularly those most impacted by the decisions of the board and district. We have an opportunity to reimagine education and access. I am ready to do the work to see a new vision and I am here in service.”

Dury’s appointment wraps up an application process that began online with letters of intent and background information, multiple interviews and last week’s vote.

Initially, eight applicants expressed interest in the position, but only Dury, Souza and Rivera opted to remain in contention.

At a candidate forum, March 15, moderated and planned by the NAACP Youth Council, Dury and the other candidates answered a number of questions ranging in topic from educational justice, student voice, community voice, working with the board, curriculum and COVID-19.

In her introduction, Dury said she was interested in serving on the Board of Directors because she supports and is excited about the district’s commitment to dismantling and reconstructing the educational system in Seattle schools.

She said collaborating with community members of all backgrounds, as well as her fellow board members, will be a priority for her, as will prioritizing equity among all students and schools.

“Educational justice, to me, means that we recognize that education is a foundational right in our country for all students and all people to experience, and at a level that ensures their success,” Dury said at the forum.

Prior to the March 24 vote, SPS Director Chandra Hampson said she was grateful to everyone who applied.

“What a difficult time to choose to be of service,” Hampson said in the press release. “No one currently on the Board chose to lead during a pandemic, and it speaks volumes of the dedication and character of each of our candidates.”

Dury’s background includes nonprofit work and fundraising, strategic planning working with underserved individuals and families.

She was the executive director at the West Seattle Helpline from 2017 through early 2020, when it merged with West Seattle Foodbank. Prior to that she was the founder of Heartwood Solutions, a nonprofit consulting firm.

Dury earned her masters of nonprofit management from the University of Oregon in 2013, where she also completed her bachelor’s degree in women and gender studies.

Dury has a fourth-grader at Salmon Bay K-8 in Ballard, where she serves as the director of the parent-teacher organization, Friends of Salmon Bay.

To learn more about the Director IV appointment process and timeline, go to https://www.seattleschools.org/district/school_board/director_appointment.