Nickson takes on board position

The Enumclaw School Board picked a fresh face over the tried and true when it selected Tim Nickson to fill its vacated, two-year, unexpired District Director No. 4 position during a special meeting Sept. 16.

The board interviewed each of the three candidates – Craig Flintoff, Lorianne Taff and Nickson – individually and then discussed their qualifications and characteristics behind closed doors before they came out for open discussion and two votes.

Several times during the discussion, the board noted any of the candidates would have been a good fit, but in the end it was Nickson’s technology background, people skills, ability to take a task through to fruition and his business perspective that swayed the majority of the board.

“What Tim brings to the table is a strong set of tools,” board member Corey Cassell said. “I think he’s more than shown the ability to get something done and his skills in technology will help us tremendously in the next two years.

“I think he’s a quick study and it won’t take him long to get up to speed.”

Nancy Merrill cast the dissenting vote, favoring Taff, who held the seat before being ousted by Gerd Weyer in the 2007 election. Weyer resigned in August to devote more time to other interests.

Merrill supported Taff in both votes. The board voted 3-1 against Taff in an earlier vote.

“She’s the most qualified candidate for the position,” Merrill said, citing Taff’s years of former experience with the board would be to its advantage and in its best interest. The district’s upcoming maintenance and operation levy, for example, is familiar territory to Taff. She also is well connected in Black Diamond, where the district is anticipating growth.

No one argued Taff’s experience and heart for the job.

Nickson is also an active Black Diamond resident. His wife was raised in Black Diamond and is an Enumclaw High School graduate.

He has a child who attends Enumclaw High School. Nickson also started a PTA at Thunder Mountain Middle School.

It’s that connection and grass-roots resourcefulness, plus the experience he brings from his day job at United Parcel Service in customer solutions development, that drew the board’s attention.

“I think I’ll be able to add to the pool of knowledge to help you move forward,” Nickson told the board.

As difficult as the decision was for the board, they were excited to see three candidates apply for the position.

“We have three great people to fit into one spot,” Chris VanHoof said.

“The worst thing about this whole thing is we have to send any of you away,” Cassell said.

Nickson was scheduled to be sworn in and take over immediately at the board’s meeting Monday.

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