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Kari will bring a wealth of relevant experience to the job. Kari has spent 36 successful years as an administrator in public education, managing large and diverse school districts with budgets as large as $100 million dollars and staff of nearly 1000. In 2018 she became the superintendent of San Juan Island School District where she made the difficult decisions necessary to restore sound, sustainable budgeting. After retiring, she was persuaded to become the part-time superintendent of Shaw Island School District where she has led the effort to construct two units of permanently affordable teacher housing. Kari has also provided public and non-profit organizations with leadership and effective communication consulting. 

Throughout her career Kari has been committed to being responsive to the values and priorities of her community. She is dedicated to listening to all voices in our community as we work together to tackle the critical issues we are facing – sound budgets, affordable housing, stewardship of our natural resources, and transparent government. 

She is committed to seeking workable solutions through honest discussion with all stakeholders. She is committed to doing the hard work of developing balanced, sustainable budgets through transparent processes.  And she will work with state and local governments to forge relationships that produce results. 

Our success as a community depends on knowledgeable and experienced leadership. We trust you will find that Kari has what it takes to tackle the big issues and see us through to successful outcomes.  



Kari McVeigh is seeking a new challenge in helping to create a more resilient and more equitable island community through effective governance -- consistent, inclusive and transparent communication, budgeting that reflects our priorities and values as a community, and fully informed decision-making.

Kari believes by achieving goals through collaborative, well-defined protocols, we can come together as a community to ensure that the support and services we depend on are accessible and effective, and that we can successfully tackle complicated issues we face; the need for affordable housing, balancing environmental protection with economic growth, and doing all of this without compromising the unique qualities of the San Juans that we value so dearly.

View Kari's position statements.


Leadership & Administration

After 23 years as a school teacher and administrator, Kari was ready for bigger challenges, and embarked on new path heading large district-wide initiatives in Boston, Massachusetts, San Diego and Union City, California.

There, as Superintendent, she managed a budget of over $100 million and led a staff of nearly 1,000, through the Great Recession. That didn't stop her from leading her district to compete for and win a national Race to the Top Grant, an award of $29 million, and one of only two awarded in the state.

Community Service

Within weeks of relocating to San Juan Island in 2016, Kari quickly became involved in supporting San Juan Island School District (SJISD) as leadership coach. Within two years she became Superintendent, leading the district through tough budgetary times and the early stages of the pandemic.

A year after Kari retired from SJISD, she was serving once again, as part-time Superintendent at Shaw Island School District and has since taken the lead to build teacher housing  there.

Active locally in community service, Kari has served on the board of Soroptimist International of Friday Harbor, as a Board member and Treasurer of San Juan Island Public Schools Foundation, was a member of the San Juan Island Fire and Rescue Logistics team, volunteered for the Joyce L Sobel Family Resource Center, and is currently a member of the League of Women Voters of the San Juans.

Meet Kari

A native San Franciscan, Kari knew as a child that she wanted to become a teacher. What she didn't know then was that teaching would lead her to a life in public service, driving change for the benefit of students, families and the broader community. Now, after a lifetime serving in public education, Kari feels compelled to utilize her skills in leadership, administration, and managing multi-million dollar budgets to help improve services for the people of San Juan County.

Family & Education

Kari, the 2nd of 8 children, was born in San Francisco, California. She completed her undergraduate degree at San Francisco State University, and Masters of Educational Administration from University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Her move to Las Vegas for her first teaching position was a career step that would ultimately lead to her first principalship and the 1998 Principal of the Year Award.

In 2016, Kari and her wife Cynthia, moved to San Juan Island after falling in love with its natural beauty and have stayed because of its wonderful community. They live in Hillview Terrace with their three doodles, Raleigh, Gracie and Seamus.

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Committee to Elect Kari McVeigh
PO Box 2441
Friday Harbor, WA 98250
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