Karen Sheek is a retired educator, former business owner, volunteer, mother of two and has been the mayor of Cortez since 2016, a role she sought after serving on the city council. She moved to the area with her husband, John, in 1975 after he was hired as a park ranger at Mesa Verde National Park. “We liked the area and it was close to my family that lived in Phoenix, so we stayed,” she said. “Cortez became our home.” She taught thousands of students at Cortez Middle School over 30 years, and was co-owner of the catering company Seas’nings, LLC, and the Seas’nings at 319 venue for private parties and full-service afternoon teas. To relax, Sheek enjoys reading and gardening.