Work: Self-employed attorney
Experience: I have taught at the following schools: Pueblo Community College, substitute teacher at Durango High School prior to attending law school, Shiprock Alternative High School and Headstart.
I have been a mentor in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program for the past 12 years.
I served on the board of directors of Headstart for approximately seven years in the 1990s.
I taught chess club at DHS for several years.
I taught country swing dancing prior to attending law school at Fort Lewis College and Farquahrt’s.
How long have you lived in Durango?
Thirty-eight years, since 1975. I lived in Missoula, Mont., while attending law school 1982-1985 and returned to Durango immediately thereafter.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Downhill skiing, hiking, swimming, boating, softball, basketball, playing with my two chocolate Labs and traveling with my family.
Why are you running for the school board?
I have lived in Durango for almost 40 years. I have two children who were educated in this school district and graduated from DHS in 2003 and 2008. Durango has been very good to me, and I feel like it’s time for me to give back to the community.
What school board issues do you care most about?
1) Ensuring that elementary school children can read, write and do basic arithmetic.
2) Do what we can to get more teachers and teacher aides to be able to assist children to learn to read, write and do basic arithmetic.
3) Make sure that jobs are not lost in the school district.
4) Do what we can to get students prepared for the requirements of the modern world.
What would you most like to see change?
Increasing personnel to ensure that we can adequately teach our students.
Please list two ways in which you think Durango School District 9-R is improving and two ways in which you’d like to see it improve.
1) I believe we are making improvements, slowly and steadily, in teaching minority students.
2) The new administration is in better touch with teachers and students than the previous ones.
a) We need more teachers and teacher aides, particularly in kindergarten and elementary school, to ensure our children can read, write and do basic arithmetic.
b) We need to engage the parents of children who are not doing well in school to see if we can obtain their assistance in teaching them. This may involve home visits by teachers or teacher aides to students’ homes to attempt to enlist the aid of their parents.
What do you think of the district using the traditional school calendar versus a longer or year-round calendar?
I am not convinced that a longer or year-round calendar would improve the quality of education in the district. Both children and educators look forward to and require a summer vacation, when many families plan vacations and other leisure activities that are important for both students and teachers. The issue here is quality of education, not quantity of time spent in school.
What do you think of Amendment 66?
I am for it, particularly as it relates to early education. I see the increase in taxes, which I believe is relatively minor, as a wonderful investment in our children and our future.
How would you propose ensuring teachers are effective?
Teachers should be evaluated by not only administrators, but by fellow teachers and students, as well. People from each of those groups should observe teachers teaching and provide them with constructive feedback to help them improve in any areas they need to. All teachers should be comprehensively evaluated by their students at the end of each semester to see if they are meeting the needs of their students and engaging them in the subjects they are teaching. If the teachers are not educating adequately, they should be offered training to ensure they can teach ably. In the event training does not work, and the teachers are still not effective, such teachers may need to be replaced.