Board appoints Talauna Reed to District 2 position

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Board appoints Talauna Reed to District 2 position
Talauna Reed appointed by Olympia School Board

Note: This news story was last updated on November 7, 2022 (updates noted below)


The Olympia School Board unanimously agreed to appoint Talauna Reed to fill the District 2 board director position vacated by Justin McKaughan, who resigned effective August 31, 2022.


Reed participated in her first board meeting after being sworn into office at the October 27, 2022 Olympia School Board meeting. She will serve a one-year term through December 2023.


Reed is the Lead Outreach and Advocacy Navigator at Interfaith Works where she works with unhoused community members. In that capacity, Reed facilitates training in Cultural Diversity, de-escalation, restorative justice models, anti-racism and trauma-informed care across multiple organizations and in collaboration with other Thurston County providers. She facilitates meetings in the community where she educates audiences with tools for dismantling white supremacy in order to create a more equitable society.


Olympia School Board President Maria Flores, on behalf of the school board, stated the following: “The Olympia School District Board of Directors has received a number of emails and calls both in support of, and in disagreement with, the board's unanimous decision on October 13 to appoint Talauna Reed to the Olympia School Board. Reed will complete the term of former board director Justin McKaughan who vacated his District 2 seat after moving out of the area.


"The school board followed the process for filling a vacant position outlined in board policy. Per that policy, the board advertised for and welcomed applications from interested residents, reviewed those applications, and interviewed finalists. The board's decision was based on information shared in all of the applicants' application materials, as well as during interviews at public board meetings. Recordings of these interviews are posted on the district website (September 30, 2022 interviews, October 5, 2022 interviews).


"The content of Talauna Reed’s answers throughout the process, as well as her advocacy and experience working with underserved members of our community, raised her to the top of the applicant pool and was the basis for our decision. During the interview process she showed herself to be a committed and thoughtful advocate for the students of our school district. We look forward to working with her to address pressing equity and inclusion issues in our school district. We believe she’ll be an important voice and partner moving forward.”


Reed has two children who attended Olympia schools. She has a bachelor’s degree in organizational management and was named a YWCA “Womxn of Achievement” in 2020 as part of the organization’s annual Olympia event. The YWCA describes the award as a way to amplify and celebrate inspiring South Sound community members as part of its collective work to bring about racial and gender justice.


Featured Photo (above): Talauna Reed is the fourth person from the left. Photo taken during the October 29, 2022, OSD school board meeting where Reed was sworn into office.



Statement from Olympia School Board Director Talauna Reed

(Posted November 7, 2022)


Dear Community,

Several weeks ago, I became aware of an unanticipated vacancy on the school board in District 2. I reflected on my family’s experiences during their time in the Olympia School District as well as my own and I decided to apply for the open position. I am the proud mother of twins who attended school in the Olympia School District and, since graduating, are both attending and thriving at universities. While they attended school in the Olympia School District, they experienced harm from both students and adults that no child should have to endure. As a parent, I quickly learned that I would have to strongly advocate for my children and looked for opportunities to work with teachers to improve their ability to receive a quality education. My collaboration with teachers and administrators coupled with my feedback helped change the trajectory of their education and created more positive experiences for them. While looking back on my children’s experiences, I believed that if I were selected to serve, the school board would better reflect the voices of many parents in our community who find their children underserved and left out of the conversation. Candidly speaking, I was a bit surprised, but honored when it was announced that I was selected to fill the vacant seat for District 2, because I understand that I am the first African American person to ever serve on the Olympia School Board.

As a single Black mother raising children in a white dominant community, I have experienced racism and discrimination firsthand, survived domestic violence and have had to overcome lots of adversity. Having made significant changes and lived through deep trauma, I offer my perspective and expertise, my resilience and my full commitment to create a school district that welcomes and protects all children and their families. I will make sure that resources are also accessible to all students and their families. The truth is, many children have Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) that result in varying degrees of trauma. This is why I believe that all classrooms and teachers should be equipped with tools, such as training in trauma-informed care and de-escalation so that we can meet children where they are.

Since the announcement of my appointment, edited video clips of me speaking at a rally in 2019 have circulated on social media. While speaking, I spoke frankly about the anger I was feeling after the lives of many black women, men and children were lost due to police violence as well as my own personal loss of my aunt Yvonne McDonald in 2018 here in Olympia. While some community members may feel that my language was inappropriate, my reactions and outrage over these countless tragedies were human. The space that I was expressing myself was one of protest. I was not spewing hate or calling for violence, rather voicing our community’s collective frustration at the lack of accountability and change within our local and national justice systems. Additionally, the clips do not include the complete context of my full comments that day, and have painted me in a negative light. There have been threats made against my safety, because these videos are being broadcasted all over social media and some national media outlets. There have also been reports circulating about my personal legal record and questions about my fitness to hold a position on the school board. I can say that my education, professional experiences, personal lived experience and track record for advocating for children and adults and volunteering in this community, as well as my performance during the interview process, prove me fit to serve on the Olympia School Board. Our elected and trusted board members have not violated any state laws or school board policies by appointing me. In fact, I have met the requirements and have many qualifications to serve on this and the many other boards I serve on in the community.

My response to the trauma related to the various tragedies and hardships that have impacted me and my family have played a significant role in my past actions and I can understand why some parents may have questions. It is my goal to continue in my position as Director of District 2 with honesty and transparency. Having run-ins with law enforcement does not always disqualify one from service as a volunteer, teacher or as an elected or appointed official. In fact, my unique experiences position me to better understand families who have had similar experiences and find it difficult to find community and understanding within the schools their children attend.

As I close this statement, I will reshare some of my values. I believe in leading and educating children and adults with the goal of restoration and giving them hope while utilizing trauma-informed practices in order to not cause further harm. I support accountability. I work with police frequently in my current occupation and have respectfully partnered with officers to help some of our most disadvantaged community members become successful members of our community. Like everyone, I believe our schools need to be safe. Safety starts from within by creating a school culture where all students, staff and community members are treated with dignity and respect.

Thank you, Board of Directors for selecting me to serve on the school board, and to everyone who has welcomed me and supported me for so many years! The work ahead is going to be challenging and I look forward to partnering with students, parents, caregivers, teachers, staff and administration to achieve great success for our district.


Talauna Reed
OSD School Board Director District 2

Editor's Note:

(Posted November 7, 2022)


All school directors in Washington are deemed elected officials; they are not OSD employees or volunteers. To hold an elective office, the individual must be a citizen of the United States and Washington state and be registered and eligible to vote in the director area of the district school board at the time of election/appointment to office. If a school board member chooses to be a volunteer at an OSD school, they are required to complete the volunteer application process like anyone else.