CJ Costanti knew he wanted to serve the local community and the more he saw the work being done by former Lynden Schools superintendent Jim Frey and the folks in the district, the stronger the pull was to be part of that situation.
Costanti joined the Lynden Schools board in 2017, filling an open position, and was elected to a full term in 2019. Calling Frey a wonderful mentor, he says that board members must understand the concept of strategic versus tactical thinking. “Board members typically don’t deal with day-to-day operations, though we need to have a good feel of the current heartbeat of the district,” he says. “We try to look over the horizon and navigate for the future, yet make sure the integrity of the ship is solid. This is a constantly evolving, subtle balancing act.”
Both Costanti and his wife were raised in Lynden and graduated from Lynden High in the mid-90s. The couple now has three boys in the district. He says the district has had tremendous success because of talented teachers, principals and coaches and remarkable superintendents and school board leadership. “I always come back to the dedication of our teachers and support staff,” he says, “without them we’d be average at best.”
As a board member, Costanti says an overall goal is to set up staff for success while ensuring students reach their full potential. The pandemic has shown Lynden continues to have an involved parent group and community and he hopes that the district and parents can keep communication open and trust intact, as that relationship is “critical to our future success.”
While he knows he can’t be expected to have all the answers, he tries to “know more than you think” and listen more than he speaks. “Our school district is fantastically complex, but don’t lose a handle on the big picture,” he says about his focus. “Just when you think you have a pretty good grip on things, the next week will show you there is a lot to learn. Good, I wouldn’t want it any other way.”