WALLA WALLA — The four current Walla Walla School Board members Tuesday chose Dr. David Hampson to join the panel starting next week.
The board unanimously selected the local physician as its fifth member following half-hour public interviews with each of the position’s three applicants.
Hampson will be sworn into office at the regular board meeting next Tuesday.
He will replace Max Carrera, who resigned effective this month. The position will be up for election in 2015.
Hampson was selected over Todd Brandenburg, president of PocketiNet Communications Inc., and Pamela McBride, a retired Walla Walla High School science teacher.
Board members — who include Anne Golden, Dan Hess, Ruth Ladderud and Cindy Meyer — said the decision was difficult because of the strong pool of candidates.
But Golden, the board president, said in an interview following the selection that Hampson rose to the top because of the “sincerity with which he answered the questions,” he was well-prepared and has volunteered in public schools.
He also ran for the School Board several years ago, which demonstrates his interest and commitment, and has time and energy for the position, Golden added.
During his interview, Hampson told the board he is a caring, helpful, responsible person who wants to share those qualities with the district and the public.
He said he also believes “a strong education buys a person a ticket to freedom to pursue what’s important to them in life.”
Hampson plans to investigate the district’s priorities, read prior analyses, ascertain major problems and work toward creating the strongest solutions.
Medical director at the Urgent Care Clinic at Providence St. Mary Medical Center, Hampson told the board he is a team player, involved in administration and decision-making on policy needs and desires of his staff and patients.
He identified school leadership, community interest and a solid financial position as the district’s strengths, but added that improving facilities — particularly at the two high schools — is a challenge that must be met.
“We can’t have high schools like that,” Hampson said. “They need to be improved.”
A resident since 1990 and the father of two grown children and a Walla Walla High School student, Hampson told the board he has volunteered in youth activities. But he now has time to dedicate to directing policy as a School Board member.
During her interview, McBride — who taught for 30 years in the district before retiring in June — told the panel she would bring a teacher’s perspective to the board.
“I have an understanding what a teacher experiences,” she said, adding a strong desire to work with Superintendent Mick Miller to accomplish his goals.
She added she would listen to varying points of view, analyze a situation and always keep students’ needs in focus.
Brandenburg spoke as an advocate for improving technology in schools to arouse students’ imaginations and inspire them. “We are on the tip of a dramatic change,” he said.
He told board members he would like to improve student’s exposure to business opportunities, perhaps encouraging more career days. He also emphasized the need for enhanced communication with the community, particularly regarding the district’s successes.
After Hampson was selected, he said in an interview he was looking forward to making a positive impact.
“I love kids and kids are the energy of life and that’s where our future is,” he said.
“I think it was a very strong pool of candidates. And I think any of us could have given a strong contribution to the district.”
Terry McConn can be reached at email@example.com or 526-8319.