Alan Browning — a longtime community member, coach and golf professional — was appointed to a vacant seat on the Chehalis School Board at Tuesday night’s regular meeting.
Browning, 48, a Lewis County resident of 37 years, replaces former board member Brennan Bailey in representing Director District No. 2. The board appointed Browning with an unanimous vote.
He will take the oath of office and begin his service at the board’s next meeting, which is tentatively set for July 20.
“I have a lot to learn and I know that, (but) with my experience being a business professional and my education experience, I feel like I’ve got a lot to give,” he told The Chronicle.
Browning is a familiar face in the Lewis County golfing scene and was also a longtime golf coach at Adna High School. In 2004, he won the annual Lewis County Amateur Golf Tournament. He’s also served as an advisory board member for a decade with The Salvation Army.
His father, former Centralia mayor Tim Browning, was deeply entrenched in Centralia’s business development. He served as the president of the civic nonprofit Centralians 1, which helped develop downtown and provided seed funding for businesses. The elder Browning also served as the chair of Centralia’s planning commission.
Tim Browning is currently pursuing a seat on the Centralia School Board.
Community turnout at Tuesday night’s meeting was strong as the board considered adopting a mandated policy sent down by the state Legislature that would prevent discrimination against transgender students. Browning sat through the entirety of the hot-topic discussion, providing a glimpse into the tough calls school boards sometimes have to make on controversial decisions surrounding education.
“Shows what kind of candidate he is,” said board President Larry Petersen, who said he’s excited to serve alongside him. “I’m very appreciative that he decided to run for the position.”
Browning, a 1991 Centralia High School graduate, will also run unopposed for his seat this November. His almost certain win this fall will secure him a two-year term, which expires at the end of 2024.
The board’s sole eligible candidate, Browning was interviewed for about 10 minutes at Tuesday night’s meeting prior to the vote. He was questioned on his motives for running, qualifications, his background and what he would bring to the board.
He told the board he’s had a very positive experience with the school district as a father who just recently enrolled his 6-year-old son in the school.
“Every single morning, I dropped him off and every single afternoon I picked him up, pretty religiously, and I cannot say anything of higher praise. The experience was just phenomenal,” he said. “I couldn’t be more satisfied as a father and as a citizen of Chehalis.”
Browning said he would bring a young father’s perspective to the board, something not entirely unique but one that he feels he could lead to productivity.
Having grown up in Tucson, Arizona, Browning is the son of two lifetime educators, his mother, who’s currently a substitute in Rochester, and his father, who was a university professor.
“I’ve heard all the conversations, I’ve seen a lifetime of ups and downs with education,” he said, adding later: “I’ve had one year of kindergarten under my belt as a father, but I have had a lifetime of exposure through my family.”
Browning coached golf for 10 years, five of those as a coach at Adna. He’s also been a volunteer coach. That time gave him the opportunity to work with students to develop their integrity, honesty and “help them develop as people through the game of golf.”
“I am blessed to be able to do that because golf is very hard, as many of us know, and it’s also hard to keep yourself accountable. And I think, with those opportunities, that we have a role to play in not only education but helping our kids become decent citizens and not fall to some of the pitfalls that we’re facing,” he said.