Heather Cleary

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Heather Cleary
Heather Cleary.jpg
Richland School Board, Seat 1
Term ends
November 2017
Years in position 9
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
First electedNovember 2005
AppointedFebruary 2005
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sMontana State University
Office website
Heather Cleary currently serves as the Seat 1 member on the Richland School Board in Washington. She has served on the board since her appointment in February 2005. Cleary won a third four-year term against Ron Higgins on November 5, 2013. She campaigned in support of improvements to classroom technology and facilities.


Cleary received an undergraduate degree from Montana State University. She worked with King Broadcasting until her retirement in 1991. Cleary and her husband, Joe, have two children who attended district schools.[1]



See also: Richland School District elections (2013)


Cleary sought re-election against Ron Higgins on November 5, 2013.


General election
Richland School Board, Four-year term, Seat 1, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngHeather Cleary Incumbent 55.3% 8,571
     Nonpartisan Ron Higgins 44.7% 6,934
Total Votes 15,505
Source: Benton County Auditor, "Election Results," November 26, 2013

Cleary placed first during the August 6, primary against Ron Higgins and Jimmie D. Chastain. She will face Higgins during the November 5, 2013 general election.[2]

Richland School Board, Primary, Seat 1, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngHeather Cleary Incumbent 55.4% 4,355
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngRon Higgins 34.9% 2,741
     Nonpartisan Jimmie D. Chastain 9.7% 765
Total Votes 7,861
Source: Benton County Auditor


Cleary reported no contributions or expenditures to the Washington Public Disclosure Commission.[3]


The Tri-City Herald endorsed Cleary on October 15, 2013.[4]


Cleary won a second term on the board without facing any opposition during the November 3, 2009 general election.[2]

Richland School Board, Seat 1, 2009
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngHeather Cleary Incumbent 100% 11,643
Total Votes 11,643
Source: Benton County Auditor

Campaign themes


Cleary explained the primary themes of her 2013 campaign in the Benton County voter pamphlet:[1]

"As a parent and current school board director, I am uniquely familiar with RSD challenges and issues.

It's exciting to be involved with a district where many of our students flourish. Our district has incredible teachers and staff who work daily to help students reach their potential. Our current school board is focused on high standards and making student centered decisions. I enjoy serving as a school board director because I've always believed our community is only as good as the quality and variety of educational opportunities we offer our children.

The district was grateful to receive a 68% voter approval of the February 2013 bond. This much needed bond will address growing student enrollment and replace worn and outdated facilities. The next few years will be challenging to bring these projects to completion on time and under budget.

We have several important new initiatives just beginning, such as the preschool initiative, All Children Exceeding Standards, and AVID that will help RSD students continue to excel.

I'm proud to have served as a Richland School Board Director for the past 8 year and am looking forward to what the future holds for the Richland School District."

Note: The above quote is from the candidate's website, which may include some typographical or spelling errors.

What was at stake?

Cleary sought a third term in Seat 1 against challenger Ron Higgins. Rick Jansons ran for a fourth term on the board from Seat 2 against challenger Lloyd Becker.


A major issue in the primary election for Seat 1 was the implementation of Common Core Curriculum standards in district schools. Higgins actively opposed Common Core implementation ahead of the August 6 primary. Another issue facing the district is growing enrollment in schools and related stresses on the budget.[5] In early August 2013, current members of the board cited the introduction of impact fees and the expansion of all-day kindergarten as priorities for the 2013-2014 school year.[6]

About the district

See also: Richland School District, Washington
Richland School District is located in Benton County, Washington
The City of Richland is located in Benton County in south-central Washington. The county is surrounded by tributaries of the Columbia River with the Yakima and Columbia Rivers connecting in Richland. The population of Richland was 48,109 according to the 2010 U.S. Census.[7]


Richland outperforms state averages for median income, higher education achievement and poverty rate. The percentage of city residents over 25 years old with undergraduate degrees (41.0%) is above the state average (31.4%). The 2010 U.S. Census calculated Richland's median income at $67,666 while the state median income was $58,890. Richland had a poverty rate of 8.4% in the 2010 U.S. Census while the state rate was 12.5%.[7]

Racial Demographics, 2012[7]
Race Richland (%) Washington (%)
White 87.0 77.3
Black or African American 1.4 3.6
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.8 1.5
Asian 4.7 7.2
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.6
Two or More Races 3.2 4.7
Hispanic or Latino 7.8 11.2

Presidential Voting Pattern[8]
Year Democratic Vote (%) Republican Vote (%)
2012 35.4 62.2
2008 36.1 62.2
2004 - -
2000 - -

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one or two tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.[9]

Recent news

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