Work: Director of Admission and Advising at Fort Lewis College
Experience: Previously worked as director of admissions at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Currently serves on the Southwestern Colorado Community College advisory board, the San Juan Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) and the Colorado Council for High School/College Relations.
How long have you lived in Durango?
I have lived in Durango since 2006.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I enjoy running, reading, traveling and spending time with my family.
Why are you running for school board?
First, my wife and I have two children who attend district schools, so I am keenly interested in ensuring that the schools meet the expectations of today’s youth. For the past few years, I have been the only board member with children in the school district, and that’s an important perspective to bring to the board. Secondly, as an educator, I am very interested in fostering greater collaboration across the P-20 spectrum, and with my work in higher education, I believe that I am well positioned to positively influence that conversation.
What school board issues do you care most about?
I am most concerned about college and career readiness. Statewide, over 40 percent of our high school graduates are not ready for college or the workforce. We need to make sure that students at all levels – even the elementary grades – are on track for postsecondary opportunities.
What would you most like to see change?
I would like to compliment Dan Snowberger and the work that he is doing for the district. We are setting a new path for the district – there is a new, positive tone in the air – and the board needs to continue with emphasizing the expectations that we’ve set for Dan (Snowberger). Those are clear, straightforward and focused on results.
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: New and innovative programs (IB, expeditionary learning, etc.); locally developed common formative assessments.
Want to see improvement: Expansion of pre-kindergarten programs; college and career readiness benchmarks, and the appropriate interventions, throughout all grade levels.
What do you think of the district using the traditional school calendar versus a longer or year-round calendar?
Like any decision that comes before the board, we need to critically examine the community needs, the established research and the fiscal impact of proposed actions and see how they support/not support the district’s mission and results expectations. The school calendar conversation is no different.
What do you think of Amendment 66?
Funding for higher education here in Colorado is woefully low, and I support Amendment 66; however, if Amendment 66 passes, the board needs to ensure that the money is spent in a responsible way that supports our mission and results expectations. And that will require extreme detail and precision from both the board and the superintendent, and it will need to be done in a transparent and accountable manner.
How would you propose ensuring teachers are effective?
Getting principals and teachers trained as effective instructional leaders is the best way for us to positively influence teacher effectiveness. At most districts across the country, principals handle administrative and managerial aspects of their building, and Durango 9-R is changing the expectation for principals from administration work to instructional leadership.