Work: Southern Ute Indian Tribe, director of Management Information Systems
Experience: Mick has a diverse background in education having taught for 11 years, mainly on the Zuni Indian Reservation in Western New Mexico. At the end of his teaching career, he coordinated development of a pioneering online-education program for The College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minn., and helped Capella University get accredited. He also was a statewide Internet curriculum specialist for K-12 school districts in Minnesota.
He has been an advocate of using communication technology to empower people to affect their societies for the past 30 years. This has included helping start not-for-profit Internet services (Minneapolis Telecommunications Network River Project), training (Access Minnesota Main Street e-commerce project), teaching elementary school students to produce community radio (Zuni Public Schools), community access television (camera operator, board member and president for Durango Community Access Television) and helping write a book on applying the principles of e-commerce to state and local governments. Mick has been involved with the global civic engagement organization, E-Democracy.org, since its inception in 1994 and is currently serving on its board of directors.
He has also served on the Durango Nature Studies board of directors.
How long have you lived in Durango?
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Hiking, biking, home-brewing, reading and studying uses of the Internet in society.
Why are you running for school board?
I have been a teacher, developer of online classes and Internet curriculum specialist. I enjoy discussing and reviewing educational research, pedagogy and policy. I have experience in business, government and deliberative environments that would be beneficial as a board member and provide me a chance to give back to the community.
What school board issues do you care most about?
I care about addressing challenges that we face as a school district, including:
1. Providing meaningful education to all community members and helping young people become life-long learners.
2. Balancing local learning needs with state and national standards.
3. Balancing rote learning/memorization of facts with higher-level thinking.
What would you most like to see change?
I would like the district to better balance meeting academic standards with flexibility to allow students to succeed in areas important to them and that benefit Southwest Colorado with their talents that may include learning a trade instead of pursuing college.
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.
After talking to Superintendent (Daniel) Snowberger, I appreciate what the district is doing to improve student assessment and how the district is leveraging resources throughout our region to improve the success of our students. Based on my conversations with community, communications on school district plans and issues needs to improve.
What do you think of the district using the traditional school calendar versus a longer or year-round calendar?
I like a traditional calendar because I believe that children need a big chunk of time to not be in the compulsory education system.
What do you think of Amendment 66?
It is the responsibility of school board members to advocate for school funding. So thinking as the school- oard member I hope to be, I am for it. Based on the amendment text, it would add revenue to our schools without attaching educational mandates to the funding, which is good.
How would you propose ensuring teachers are effective?
I suggest we match the student-assessment tools to what we want the student to learn. My concern is that current methods for assessment lead educators to teach to the assessment tools. Assessment tools should include student observation and assessment of student products, as well as testing.