Work: Retired systems analyst
Experience: I have two daughters who attended Durango schools and four grandchildren in the school system as well. I have excellent communication and problem-solving skills and have served on various committees and boards, such as the committee to hire a new principal for Miller Middle School in 1998 and the Green Committee for the city of Durango. For three of my years at Miller Middle School, I was the drama coach. I also volunteered for drama portions of the Knowledge Bowl tournaments. In 1999, I received a ZAPP award for coaching Miller’s musical production of “Dr. Jekyll, Please don’t Hyde.”
How long have you lived in Durango?
I have lived in Durango for a total of 26 years. My husband was raised here in La Plata County, and we have lived here for the bulk of the 35 years that we have been married.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I enjoy painting, sculpting, gardening, walking and spending time with my family.
Why are you running for school board?
I am running for school board to retain my seat as the representative of District G. I feel that serving on the school board enables me to be a part of the most important gift we can give our children, a quality education. I can’t think of a better way to contribute to our community and the future of our community.
What school board issues do you care most about?
I care most about our graduation success and about making sure that our schools provide a safe environment conducive to learning.
What would you most like to see change?
I would love to see our school district be able to cut class size at the high school and for us to be able to add back positions that we were forced to cut to create a responsible budget this year.
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.
From the rise in last year’s ACT scores and the performance status of Florida Mesa, I can see that our achievement scores are improving, and I feel that the way our district administrators have collaborated with our employees to cut back financially in many areas shows that we are improving in fiscal responsibility.
What do think of the district using the traditional school calendar versus a longer or year-round calendar?
I don’t feel we’re ready, here in Durango, for a year-round school calendar. However, statistics show that children lose a significant amount of learning over the summer break. I think lengthening the year at the beginning of summer would be a good way to add more contact days without bringing the students back to school during the hot later months of summer.
What do you think of Amendment 66?
I think that it is essential to our school district that Amendment 66 pass. It would add $4 million to our desperately overtaxed budget. It was necessary to cut staff and programs to create fiscal responsibility in our budget this year, and we’re still running at a large deficit. The rate of tax increase would be minimal and would actually bring us back to the 5 percent that we were taxed in the year 2000. Currently, Durango School District is one of the lower funded school districts in the state of Colorado.
How would you propose ensuring teachers are effective?
I was fortunate to be able to sit in on the 1338 committee meetings this year, which was the committee made up of school administrators and teachers, tasked with creating the district’s teacher evaluation tool. I feel that the tool is comprehensive and fair to teachers and gives valuable feedback to help them improve in their craft. It also helps them create immediate and future career goals and allows for a clear grievance process. The success of their students is a percentage of their overall evaluation. I believe this tool, together with professional development opportunities and career coaching, will ensure that our teachers are effective.