LEAH TOCCO APPOINTED TO SCHOOL BOARD
Leah Tocco is the newest member of the Lakewood School Board of Directors. The 39-year-old mother of four, lives in the Mountain Meadows neighborhood with her husband Brian. She has two children starting Kindergarten at English Crossing Elementary in the fall, a step daughter starting her freshman year at Lakewood High School and another step daughter studying to be a nurse.
“I am really excited to be of service,” said Tocco of her July 21st appointment to fill the Director District 5 position. “I strive, and teach my children to strive, to be civically responsible and community stewards.”
Local voters will have the opportunity to elect Tocco to this seat in November. She is running unopposed. Tocco replaces Larry Bean who resigned earlier this spring.
She moved to Lakewood 4 years ago. Tocco said she heard Lakewood schools were very supportive of students and provided opportunities for them. “That is what I’ve experienced so far,” she said. Tocco has been involved in school activities including the creation of the Lakewood Middle School PTA. “I truly enjoy being a part of the community and an advocate for kids, families, community, school staff and teachers,” Tocco said.
Lakewood School Board President Catherine "Sandy" Gotts had not met Tocco before the School Board interviewed her as part of the appointment process but knew of Tocco’s accomplishments. “Leah has had a strong presence in our community for some time. She is really in it for the kids,” Gotts said citing Tocco’s work from elementary school functions up to district level committees.
Most recently, Tocco served on the school district’s Reopening Committee. “Lakewood did a very good job of communicating what to expect even as they had to adapt as things changed,” she said of the district’s efforts during the pandemic shutdown.
“She is really in it for the kids.”
— Catherine "Sandy" Gotts
Lakewood School Board President
Gotts agrees. “It was a tough year with all the ups and downs and changes that had to be acted upon swiftly,” she explained. “Our little Lakewood did great from the support staff to the teachers and all the way up to the Superintendent. We on the School Board could not appreciate them more.”
Lakewood was at the forefront of reopening in the county, offering free COVID testing, returning K-8 students to school full time, and hosting the first in-person musical performance.
Tocco is a strong advocate for the education of all children. “I believe children will excel when you engage and meet them where they are at; whether that be through special education or highly capable learning programs,” she explained. Gotts heard that commitment over and over in Tocco’s interview. “There is no doubt she wants to live in an area where the education, health and safety of children is important,” she remembered.
Looking forward to her service on the School Board, Tocco described herself as adaptable. She first seeks to listen to others to ensure understanding of issues and concerns. Compromising and collaborating for creative solutions are some skills she believes she is bringing to the School Board. Tocco is curious to see how the rising growth in local housing impacts the schools.
“She is really a natural for this position,” Gotts explained. “Leah has insight on how government and the community should work together to be successful.”
Tocco is an experienced public servant. She has been employed for the past 8 years in the Executive Office for the City of Marysville. In her role she serves the assistant to the Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer. She provides support to communication, community events, and various projects and programs such as the city’s Committee for Creating and Sustaining Opportunities for People with Disabilities, Community Beautification Grant Program, Hotel/Motel Grant Committee and previously she led the City Youth Council.
Prior to the City of Marysville, Tocco was successful in the business world moving from barista to store manager to corporate project manager for Seattle’s Best and Starbucks coffee companies.
In her spare time, she enjoys the outdoors including running and hiking with her family. She also “attempts” to garden, she said with a smile.