Work: Durango Education Center
Experience: Eighteen months on the Durango School District 9-R School Board; 13 years at the Durango (Adult) Education Center; 10 years adjunct instructor at Southwest Colorado Community College – English composition, literature and reading; 10 years full-time instructor at Middle Tennessee State College in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Started teaching in 1981 in the boomtown of Parachute – fifth, seventh and eighth grades.
Have also taught in Silver City, N.M., And Lima, Ohio.
How long have you lived in Durango?
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Hiking with my husband and friends, cross-country skiing, reading, gardening, writing and volunteering.
Why are you running for school board?
Education is the key to a better life, a life that engages the mind, body and spirit, and a life that contributes more to our world. Education moves people out of poverty and into lives that are free of some of the relentless challenges that poverty hammers people with and keeps them caught in an unending economic undertow. Education transforms ignorance into knowledge that lasts a lifetime and is passed on to others. I am a hardworking, balanced, reasonable citizen with a background that can help our district continue to help more of our children become educated and gain these extraordinary benefits.
What school board issues do you care most about?
Making sure that all the student groups in our district make gains across the curriculum and that the board stays focused on those results and sharing them with parents, families and the community in formats that everyone can understand. Reducing our deficit without cutting essential programs that support student achievement. Supporting teachers, principals and paraprofessionals as our new evaluation tool SB 191 is implemented.
What would you most like to see change?
Seeing more parents and families spend more time in their schools so that teachers and school staff can share students’ improvement and achievement; to have parents as true partners in the educational journey of their child.
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.
Improving: Far more budgetary transparency; small learning communities at the high school giving students more choice while still expecting a rigorous curriculum.
Need to improve: Cutting our $1.6 million deficit without harming programs; getting more of our families and other stakeholders to attend meetings where we brainstorm such solutions together.
What do you think of the district using the traditional school calendar versus a longer or year-round calendar?
The issue of being unable to cool many of our schools during the hottest months so that all can learn and teach to the best of their ability makes a longer or year-round school calendar unfeasible at this time.
What do you think of Amendment 66?
The current 9-R board wrote a resolution and voted unanimously in support of Amendment 66. We have been so lean a tax state and have tried to make do with less for decades, and we are finally to the point where less is just less, and our district, region and state suffer. We lose out economically as a state, and our children are less competitive in the marketplace. Being 46th in spending on education is an unacceptable finish in the race to the top. Colorado’s students deserve better.
How would you propose ensuring teachers are effective?
Senate Bill 191 is a very good start to ensuring teacher effectiveness, and its passage and current process of implementation has made everyone actively engage in developing practices that make good teachers great and support inexperienced teachers in becoming more proficient. This process has brought everyone from our superintendent to our paraprofessionals together over many months for professional development to understand the new evaluation guidelines and to collaborate on implementing them in fair and beneficial ways. The most critical component in a student’s achievement is the teacher.