Children & Special Ed Advocate Joe Cunningham to Seek Seat on Shoreline School Board

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SHORELINE, WA --- If there has been a children’s issue in the past two decades which needed changing the law to help kids succeed, it’s likely that Joe Cunningham was there. Joe has led successful advocacy efforts passing legislation while serving as a statewide leader as Director of Advocacy at Arc of King County (longtime national organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities) and holding almost every leadership position on the Children’s Campaign Fund Board of Directors.

He today filed for the Shoreline School Board – the open seat (Position 5) created by Dick Potter leaving the Board after his term ends this November.

“As a parent of a child who experiences autism, I have professional and personal expertise in special education, and have networked with Dads across the state as a member of Washington State Fathers Network, as well as Member of Governor’s Committee on Employment and Disabilities. In addition, I am raising my own kids in Shoreline Schools as well as being a member of Briarcrest PTA, Kellogg PTSA, and Shoreline Special Needs PTSA,” Joe said.  

Joe Cunningham is a father of a child who experiences autism and worked collaboratively with Shoreline’s Schools every step of the way – as his son progressed to 1st place in his Math Olympiad in 4th grade and then advancing to the Dean’s List graduating from Shorecrest. He’s now attending college.  Joe said, “Our district board needs someone who understands the developmental needs of all of our children.”

“A 20 year resident of the Briarcrest neighborhood in Shoreline, my involvement in education and the community runs deep.  My father was a School Superintendent, Coach, Special Education teacher, and Federal Teachers Union President and my Mom taught music and was an administrator in a number of schools across the nation as I spent a fourth of my childhood being raised on Native American reservations and Central America.  My fiancée and I are raising our three children in Shoreline, and they are and have all attended Shoreline Public Schools. As a nonprofit professional focusing on advocating for individuals with developmental disabilities for more than 15 years, I have led parent programs designed to empower families who are raising their loved one with developmental disabilities.  I have led successful advocacy efforts passing legislation as Director of Advocacy at Arc of King County while serving as a statewide leader for 20 years in different leadership positions on the Children’s Campaign Fund board of directors.

“As a parent of a child who experiences autism, I have professional and personal expertise in special education, which is especially important now as the Legislature has just passed a history-making $25.2 million to address our special education needs which have frustrated parents for such a long time,” Joe said. He also has networked with Dads across the state as a member of Washington State Fathers Network, as well as Member of Governor’s Committee on Employment and Disabilities. “ I have worked in my Shoreline community from Richmond Beach to Briarcrest serving on many youth boards, the Peace & Justice Community, and as game organizer for the Shoreline TOPS Soccer team for children with developmental disabilities – it has been my commitment to every generation to address this problem.”

As a Shoreline School Director, Joe said he will work with school staff to make sure all students achieve at the highest levels. “I will work to steward voter passed resources for our schools – ensuring funds directed to ensuring recruiting and maintaining quality teachers, including hiring more teachers of color, and ensuring that maximum dollars raised for schools go toward educating students,” he said.  With a background in equity and social justice policies, Joe will work to ensure Shoreline schools are using principles of equity in all policy decisions. He is committed to serve as a bridge with teachers, parents and administrators to work collaboratively to strengthen “our extraordinary Shoreline Public Schools.”

I will listen to your ideas and provide forums for discussions and debate.  I will make decisions not just in immediate need, but with an eye toward the future.  I want to make our Shoreline schools the best they can be – together we can make a difference!  I humbly ask for your vote!
— JOE CUNNINGHAM, Shoreline School Director Candidate