Meet Evan

Hi, my name is Evan Saint Clair and I’m running for the position of Bainbridge Island’s District 4 school board director. I was appointed by the current board during an interview process in March of this year and have been learning about this role on the job.

I am a father of two girls at the Odyssey Multi-Age program and live near Lynwood Center.

I grew up in Redmond, WA, in a multi-racial household, which is to say, my dad was Black, and my mom was white, and there weren’t many others like our family. I did a pretty good job of being obtuse about the difficulty of this, spending my time volunteering for the Boys and Girls club and getting in trouble in a teenager sort of way. But along the way my dad decided to become one of the first Black judges in King County, and my mom helped pioneer her company’s computer science department. Despite my obtuseness, their accomplishments were sinking in, feeding a lifelong desire to give back and achieve.

They were part of the reason I went to college at George Washington University, in DC, and chose a degree in conflict resolution, thinking maybe I could right some of the wrongs in the world. I also probably wanted to get as far away from my sheltered home as possible. 

I bought a bike, used it to breeze around the capital, dropped into our nation’s peerless museums and galleries, and accidentally developed a passion for cycling. It was easily the best way to get to the Kennedy Center or Adams Morgan, but after getting doored multiple times, almost run over by buses and flipping over on uneven pavement, cycling in the city made me respect nice bike infrastructure. 

After college I decided to go even farther and found a teaching position in a rural school in Bangalore, India. Not only did this expose me to the different living conditions experienced by a vastly different culture, but to the ease in which good-hearted educators could ignore the plight of the children who worked on their very campus. I watched as child laborers were ignored, returning to their tin-roofed shelters day after day, as their more affluent peers were bused in from adjacent neighborhoods. Those excellent educators; they just didn’t see it, or were fine ignoring it.

Coming home after that year of teaching and traveling, I followed my future wife to Boston, first working for the Alzheimer’s Association as a temp, then finding a more permanent position at Horizons for Homeless Children. This organization helped provide high-quality daycare to kids of invisible families who were couch-surfing, living in cars, squatting… I got to see and talk to every one of those families who walked through those double security doors. I saw many who rose, and a few who fell. I learned the importance of making every minute you have with kids count, because those minutes could be the only quality they get.

Boston was close enough to Providence that I tried to get my Masters of Landscape Architecture down at RISD, but it proved a bridge too far with the arrival of my daughter Isabella. I transitioned to stay-at-home dad and started up a side business serving fitness and wellness communities. This business grew nicely and I continue to run it to this day

On coming to Bainbridge Island I dove into the school system and local organizations, joining the board of the Bainbridge Mountain Biking Club, helping my wife with her kids program at the Battle Point Astronomy Association and eventually becoming a current president of the Odyssey PTO, helping it to reboot it’s post-COVID agency. I’ve met a lot of good people along the way.

Why I’m Running

I’ve had a calling to contribute to my various communities my entire life. It’s certainly manifested in different ways, from helping out as a mentor for mentally disadvantaged kids when I was a teen, to spending a year in India attempting to teach world views in a rural school.

In many ways, I’ve shaped my life around being of service to others, whether to my kids, through my business or through the organizations I’ve had a leadership role in.

As a person of color with all of the advantages of whiteness, I’ve had to search deep within myself to make sure that I don’t always take the easy road. It’s taken a while for me to realize my viewpoints are simply my own. That realization forces me to carefully listen to make sure I keep my blinders off. It’s led to a firm belief that every voice should be heard and valued and when justified, celebrated. I’ve also found it’s often really hard, but I’m getting better at it.

Why do I seek this role? Really, it’s because I feel a nudge to contribute even more. 

I feel blessed to have been educated at some of the best schools in the country and walk barefoot with my students through the dusty lanes of rural India. I think the combination of both gives me a unique perspective on the difference between the ivory tower and street views.

I feel like my experiences in the lows and highs of entrepreneurship could prove useful in helping students engage with members of the business community.

I hope that my journey from hesitant kindergarten volunteer to PTO president will help me understand the nuances of classroom management and teacher support.

Most of all, I want to stand up. I want to help continue the legacy of excellence that Bainbridge Island School district embodies and be a contributing member of its further development.

Thank you for your consideration,

Evan