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What People are Saying

As a long-time advocate for students with disabilities, and as a former Seattle Special Education PTSA President (endorsement is my own), I fully support Andre's candidacy and feel he will work towards bonafide equity for children with disabilities. — Cecilia Palao-Vargas

Andre Helmstetter has the skills and knowledge that Seattle schools need. He will be a great addition to the district's Board of Directors. — Charles Davis

I've known Andre for 25 years, and I can't think of anyone more passionate about education, and equity and excellence in public schools. I am happy to endorse him for Seattle School Board District 5. — Alicia Kone

Oozing with creativity, demonstrated talent, and passion and commitment for community and equality, André Helmstetter is the standout candidate for Seattle Public Schools District 5 School Board Director. His enthusiasm, clarity in difficult situations, and sense of purpose are limitless. While working a full-time job as a consultant, André graciously considered my plea for him to coach the Kindergarten class of the Leschi Elementary Chess Scholars Program, which focuses on serving less represented students. Attendance had grown beyond our coaching capacity and rather than turn kids away I reached out to André who had been an incredibly dedicated parent to his two daughters’ participation in the program over the previous years. With it being a Herculean feat to teach a group of Kindergartners chess, the added challenge of the program being on a Friday afterschool, and with his current workload, I was doubtful he would accept. To my delight, he excitedly accepted the challenge without any prior coaching experience, with no pay, and with no curriculum. André provided the perfect balance of fun, nurturing, skill acquisition, and high expectations to help his class succeed. In his second year of coaching, there was one student in our program who I, as the program coordinator, struggled to connect with and who challenged my patience. André’s ability to see this child’s gifts and potential helped me shift my own perspective. This student ended up being the WA State Kindergarten Chess Champion against great odds that year and the Leschi Kindergarten team as a whole took an unprecedented 2nd place finish at the State Championship Event. This is only one small example of the way Andre has impacted his community, but I think it is extremely telling of his character. André is a true community builder, he fights for all students to have equal opportunities and preparation for success. He sees the potential in people and in situations and adeptly brings those to fruition. I admire his fearlessness and candidness in speaking up for what he thinks is right, especially when it involves equality. He works for thoughtful solutions and does it with openness, understanding, and a hearty laugh. I have great confidence in André’s ability to take his Cinderella story of his time with the Leschi Chess Scholars and turn it into a story of success on a grand scale. — Lisa Mihm

As parents of first and third grade students at Leschi Elementary, my wife Katie and I endorse Andre Helmstetter as a School Board Director for Seattle Public Schools. I first met Andre three years ago when he was a volunteer coach for our son at Leschi Elementary Chess Scholars. He devoted many weekends and afternoons to teaching kindergarteners to live by the motto “What did you learn?”. Andre would never take credit for this, but I feel obligated to mention that one of his kindergarten students won the state championship that year. I was thrilled to learn that Andre was running for School Board Director because of his passion for excellence in education and opportunity for all students and all public schools. One of Andre’s greatest strengths is that he has a data-driven, research-based approach to solving problems. Another is that he has an open mind and is happy to be challenged on ideas and policy. I truly hope that you will join me in supporting Andre Helmstetter. John Busby — John Busby

I was excited to hear about Mr. Helmstetter running for Seattle School Board. I have known Mr. Helmstetter for many years as a neighbor, fellow parent and PTA volunteer. He always brings a ton of knowledge to the table as an IT expert, a parent, a PTA volunteer, a neighbor, and education advocate. It is without reservation that I endorse Andre Helmstetter for Seattle School Board. I look forward to seeing him at the table. — Robin Boland

Andre is an active and engaged parent of Seattle School District students and has served on PTSA and community organization boards. He understands that the Seattle School District faces challenges and personally has experienced the profound impact that policies and decisions of the school board and the district have on students, families, teachers, and communities. Our students, families, communities and teachers cannot thrive if the focus is not on win-win solutions. Andre knows this and has the energy, focus and experience to help all communities win. Andre's considerable skill in and commitment to facilitating solutions will serve him well on the board. He will listen to and bring the best out in people to find solutions together. Seattle schools must maintain our great existing programs while at the same time ensuring that students have access to new STEM or STEAM programs. We need board members that are dedicated to developing policies and procedures that support fairness and equity. When Andre serves on the board we can be confident that he is interested in listening and helping us to work together toward solutions that will serve us all well. — Joanna Cullen

Paid for by Citizens for Andre Helmstetter