Sami Jensen, who has lived on the Key Peninsula for 20 years, is seeking election to the Peninsula School District School Board this fall to represent Director District 1, which covers nearly all of the Key Peninsula.
Jensen grew up in the Los Angeles area. When asked what brought her to the Key Peninsula, she said, “Love made me do it.” She met her husband Shawn in California through mutual friends. He owned a home on the Key Peninsula, and she moved here with him. She worked as a pharmacy tech at Costless and then in Tacoma, but as their family grew, “The kids’ schedule became my schedule and we became a one-income family.”
Her six children have all attended school in the district, and four have now graduated. Her children have attended Vaughn and Minter Creek Elementary, Key Peninsula Middle School and Peninsula High School. Jensen volunteered in the classroom and with school events for years, and began attending school board meetings regularly over the last two years because she wanted to become better informed and educated about the recent bond issue. Ultimately, she was the local lead for the successful bond campaign, Stand Up for Peninsula Schools.
Jensen has been an active community volunteer. “You do what you love, right?” she said. She is on the board of Ashes, a group established in 1952 that provides funds for firefighting equipment not covered by other sources and gives direct support to families who have lost their homes to fire. She helps lead the July 5 cleanup of the Purdy Spit, coordinating with the Pierce County Parks Department. She volunteers with the Red Barn Youth Center and the Key Peninsula Civic Center. She recently joined KPAC – the Key Peninsula Land Use Advisory Commission. In 2018 she was nominated as a KP Lions Citizen of the Year.
When asked how she would reach out to the community about the needs of students, she said that she plans at least two meet and greets during the campaign. She will attend community forums like the recent one on homelessness. And she said that many parents have communicated with her via her own Facebook page.
“I believe education is important. We have an amazing school district, but I feel we could do more. Thank goodness this is a nonpartisan position. We don’t have to make this political. It is not about the right or the left. It is about the kids,” Jensen said.
Jensen thinks that the first challenge facing the school board will be hiring a new superintendent to replace Art Jarvis, who was selected as interim superintendent last summer. “We will have to connect with the whole community,” she said.
Another challenge she expects the board will deal with is the completion of four new schools. “I’m excited for Evergreen,” she said. “I think it will become a hub.” She also is looking forward to seeing how a new magnet school will benefit the students in our community. Other concerns on her radar include bullying and doing a better job in dealing with the issues of suicide, drug and alcohol use. She wants to ensure that the district keeps up with all the advances in technology, and she thinks there needs to be an increased focus on the trades that also includes young women. She thinks ROTC should have a presence as well.