Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
WASHINGTON — After 17 years serving on the educational body, Washington school board President Eric Turner says he does not plan to seek re-election at the end of his term. The announcement opens up his at-large seat on the board once that term finishes Dec. 2023.
"I said when I was running for re-election that this would be my last term,“ he said. ”I made it clear that this last four years, that’d be it, and I’d move on to find something different to take up my time.“
Turner said his time to step away had come as the last of his three children graduated from the district last school year.
“I started out, I was young, they were young, I definitely wanted to be involved during that time period,” he said. “I still enjoy it, but even this year, I can tell the difference by not being at as many school functions, it’s harder to stay connected, to be communicating to people … so I just feel like it’s time to move on, and let someone else fill that role.”
Turner has also signaled that he won’t seek reappointment as board president in January, a position he’s held for the last 15 years. He said the early announcement would facilitate a smooth transition.
“Moving forward, I think it’s best to have other members in the leadership position of president and vice president, and I’m still there if needed as a resource,” he said. “It would be the best for the school board and school district if someone else took that over for the last year of my term.”
Looking back on close to two decades on the board, Turner said the experience enlightened him about the community.
“You’re in the buildings, you have interaction with a lot of staff, you get interaction from a lot of parents, family members,” he said. “It’s just good to learn how to do deal with people and be part of a group, in terms of making decisions, interacting together and trying to do that in a positive way for the school district.”
Turner said the most notable change during his tenure was the increased reliance on data for education policy. While he said the shift made decision-makers more informed, it didn’t undo the difficulty of making those decisions.
“There’s a lot more standardized testing utilized to help drive instruction and help support our students if they’re in need,” he said. “We can look at things, we know where things are … but it doesn’t necessarily make it any easier for the teachers to navigate the challenges.”
Turner’s time stretches back further than most district officials, working with schools’ last four superintendents. He said he was happy for all the connections he’d made in those years.
“Each of them have different styles in the way that they operate, provide leadership,” he said. “I’ve learned from them, developed friendships with them, with other board members, (and) I’m grateful for those experiences, those people.”