Bellevue School Board member Steve McConnell recently announced his resignation from the board, which will be effective Dec. 31.
In an email to the school board and superintendent written on Saturday, Nov. 11, he said representing the citizens of the district for the last six years has been “both a tremendous responsibility and privilege.”
“However, as my children have proceeded toward graduation and graduated, and as I no longer have a personal stake in the Bellevue School District, I have felt for some time that I have not been able to bring the intensity, focus and commitment to the position that it deserves,” he wrote. “Therefore, I feel it is time for me to step aside and make room for a new board member who can contribute a higher level of energy, focus and passion to the board.”
Representing District 1, McConnell was elected to the board in November 2011. At the time, he had two children in the Bellevue School District – one in the gifted program and one with special needs.
So, to effect change, he ran.
“I didn’t feel like the system was serving either kid well,” McConnell said.
Since then, McConnell has been proud of the work the board has done on its governance role and policy updates, however, he still believes the board should continue to focus on special needs.
But, now, with his daughter graduated and his son out of the Bellevue School District, he doesn’t “have a personal stake in it anymore.”
When asked about the timing of his announcement, McConnell said it all had to do with when his son was projected to graduate. Back in March, when he would have had to make a decision for candidates to vie for his position in the November election, he said his son was expected to graduate in 2o19. Now, it’s looking like it will be spring 2018.
Because McConnell’s vacancy will leave the last two years of his term open, the school board will enact a process of filling the vacancy through a series of steps, which includes the announcement of the vacancy, a nomination process, public interviews and a vote. The person who is appointed must live in District 1, which includes the Northwest Bellevue neighborhood, Medina, Clyde Hill, Hunts Point and Yarrow Point.
McConnell said he hopes the district will continue to focus on social and emotional learning and doing a better job with students in the “bottom quarter” of academic performance.
“I would like to see more comprehensive support on that,” he said, noting the district has done a great job with high performing students.
McConnell said he plans to spend the extra time he’ll gain from his resignation on his business and more “professionally focused activities.” Prior to his time on the board, he published “Code Complete,” “Rapid Development” and “Software Estimation” among other professional software development books.
McConnell has been the CEO and chief software engineer at Construx Software in Bellevue since 1996. He has lectured at the University of Washington Business School, Seattle University, Project Management Institute, Washington Bar Association, Northwest Technology Executive Forum and others.
“I have very much appreciated the contributions of all the board members, superintendents and staff with whom I have had the pleasure to serve,” McConnell said. “It has been an honor to serve with you all.”