2019 school board ballot

2019 official ballot facsimile.

At Large (Vote for 1)

Nancy Best

Age 56

Occupation Office Communications Administrator at Congregational United Church of Christ and BVSD Bus Driver

How long have you lived in the BV area? I moved here about 12 years ago.

What is your history with BV schools, either as a parent, alumnus/a, teacher, etc.? This is my third year serving on the DAC (District Accountability Committee). I was a substitute bus driver before becoming a regular route driver. I also used to be married to a BVHS custodian; I even substituted for a shift once – that’s one tough job.

What made you decide to run for school board in this election? I’ve enjoyed serving on the board these past 4 years and would like to continue serving. I like the direction the district is moving in and want to help it to continue in that direction.

What do you see the responsibilities of a school board member being? As a board that follows the Policy Governance model, the responsibilities are clearly spelled out, the key one being monitoring the board’s sole employee, the superintendent. We do that by hearing monitoring reports by the superintendent and hearing regular reports from the finance director and other administrators. We also hear from teachers and students and keep an open ear to other staff, parents and the community in general.

How will you live up to those responsibilities? I pay attention to the reports, keep up on reading and visit the schools during Board Learning Walks, special events and as a volunteer with the Boys & Girls Clubs picking up recycling at APES. I have periodic one-on-one conversations with principals, teachers, other staff and parents; driving a bus gives me a unique window; I tag along during System Support Reviews and I attend every school-related meeting I can.

What is the most important quality for a good member of a community school board to have? It’s important to be a good listener and to be able to synthesize all the information coming in from many avenues. It’s also important to not lose focus, but to keep the main thing the main thing – ensuring that everything the district does is toward the goal of helping students reach the peak of success as measured by the 7C’s and other priority indicators.

What are some of the biggest issues the school board has dealt with in the past 4 years? The bond issue for the new school building, principal changes, superintendent change, schedule changes.

As a citizen, how would you have liked to see those issues addressed? No matter who, what, where, or when, communication can always be better.

What was your view of how the school board handled those issues? We put a lot of thought and discussion into them. We didn’t do anything quickly or carelessly. All decisions were carefully considered.

If elected, what are the most important issues that you think will come before the school board during your term? During this 2019-2020 school year is the health/sex ed. curriculum review (and dealing with the state bill regarding teaching all or nothing sex ed.) and this year and the next is the continuation and completion of the building of the new middle/high school complex. The district will be adapting to CMC closing its BV campus, a new elementary school principal will be hired this spring, and the school schedule is something that is always being looked at.

What is your view on how those issues should be addressed? Communication and getting stakeholder input are always key.

At Large (Vote for 1)

Jessica Crites

Age 36

Occupation Accountant/business owner

How long have you lived in the BV area? 36 years

What is your history with BV schools, either as a parent, alumnus/a, teacher, etc.? I am a Buena Vista school district alumna and a parent to a 3rd and 5th grader attending Avery-Parsons Elementary.

What made you decide to run for school board in this election? I have always had a passion for serving our community and school district. I would like to serve as a link between the community and school district and advocate for our hard working administration, teachers, staff and most importantly our students.

What do you see the responsibilities of a school board member being? How will you live up to those responsibilities? The responsibilities of a school board member are to represent the citizens within the district; to collaborate with and listen to other board members and the superintendent and most importantly, to advocate for our children. I believe I will live up to these responsibilities by educating myself on the important issues our school district is facing and addressing these issues with the other board members and superintendent.

What is the most important quality for a good member of a community school board to have? I believe the most important quality of a community school board member is to be open-minded. A school board member needs to be able to see different perspectives, apply their own knowledge and expertise and make decisions that will benefit all stakeholders. I also believe dedication, collaboration and trustworthiness are all imperative qualities.

What are some of the biggest issues the school board has dealt with in the past 4 years? As a citizen, how would you have liked to see those issues addressed? What was your view of how the school board handled those issues? I believe the biggest issues the school board has dealt with in the past 4 years were the two bond elections for the new middle and high school, the turnover of principals at Avery-Parsons Elementary and state test scores. After the first ballot issue failed in 2016, I feel the school board listened to the concerns of community members and addressed those concerns which led to the second ballot issue passing in 2017. I also believe the school district has become more transparent with parents and community members. The increase in communication has helped me, as a parent, learn about the hiring process of the next principal for Avery-Parsons Elementary.

If elected, what are the most important issues that you think will come before the school board during your term? What is your view on how those issues should be addressed? Based on what I am currently aware of, teachers are faced with many challenges and have many expectations to live up to with state mandated tests. I believe improving staff retention by exploring different ways to balance these demands will be an ongoing issue for the board. The Comprehensive Sex Education Bill that was enacted will be an important issue for the school district and school board to address this coming year. I plan to listen to different perspectives and become educated by the stakeholders that currently know about these issues. That way, I can bring this combined knowledge forward to address these issues as they arise.

At Large (Vote for 2)

Tracy Storms

Age 48

Occupation Realtor with Coldwell Banker Collegiate Peaks Realty

How long have you lived in the BV area? 23 years

What is your history with BV schools, either as a parent, alumnus/a, teacher, etc.?

I am a parent of three children who have been a part of the Buena Vista school district from elementary through high school. I am currently serving in my 4th year as a director on the school board. I have also served on the District Accountability Committee and Booster Club as well as serving as a parent leader for many activities in our schools.

What made you decide to run for school board in this election? Having served on the school board for the last 4 years I feel I have gained knowledge of what a school board’s role is through policy governance and how we as a board can implement the best practices to serve our students, administration, staff and community. This has helped lead my decision to run for re-election to serve another term on the school board as I feel I have and can continue to help make a positive impact for our students and our school district.

What do you see the responsibilities of a school board member being? How will you live up to those responsibilities?

I believe the responsibilities of a school board member are: To adopt policies that give the district direction to set priorities and achieve its goals, to hire and evaluate the superintendent and to adopt and oversee the annual budget for our district. As a board member, I will be present at board meetings, research and ask questions to gain knowledge on the issues and topics brought forth and be engaged and active in discussions and the decision process.

What is the most important quality for a good member of a community school board to have? I feel the most important qualities of a school board member are: Believing in our school district, having a passion for public education and leading my decision making with integrity, competence, insight, dedication and effectiveness.

What are some of the biggest issues the school board has dealt with in the past 4 years? As a citizen, how would you have liked to see those issues addressed? What was your view of how the school board handled those issues?

The biggest issues I feel the school board has dealt with are the school bond, hiring of administration including our superintendent and principals in four out of our five schools in the district and finalizing new graduation guidelines set by the state of Colorado.

Having walked through all of those issues and being involved in the process and decision making as a current board member, I feel we as a board handled each issue with integrity and we were able to lead our district well on each topic.

If elected, what are the most important issues that you think will come before the school board during your term? What is your view on how those issues should be addressed?

What may come down from the state will affect education on the state level as well as our local school district. There are topics and decisions that may arise locally within our district also. At that time, we as a board will educate ourselves on those topics and weigh all the pros and cons to make decisions that will best serve our students and staff.

At Large (Vote for 2)

Brett Mitchell

Age 49

Occupation Farm, ranch and recreational property realtor

How long have you lived in the BV area? Most of my life

What is your history with BV schools, either as a parent, alumnus/a, teacher, etc.? I spent my entire school career in the R-31 school district, and now my daughters are in the middle school and will spend their entire K-12 career here.

What made you decide to run for school board in this election? I have always been civic minded, and I felt that this was a way for me to give back to a school system that has provided me the foundation for everything that I am today.

What do you see the responsibilities of a school board member being? How will you live up to those responsibilities? The school board is responsible for keeping the school curriculum on track, as well as managing and supporting the superintendent in her duties. I feel that it is important to dedicate the proper time to keeping informed as to the direction of the school, and helping to keep the focus on the long term goals of the schools, which is to prepare our kids for whatever they will find in their after school life.

What is the most important quality for a good member of a community school board to have? A focus on the future needs of the school and the students, and a confidence to ask the tough questions and require real answers.

What are some of the biggest issues the school board has dealt with in the past 4 years? As a citizen, how would you have liked to see those issues addressed? What was your view of how the school board handled those issues? The biggest issue over the past 4 years that the school board dealt with was getting the funding for the new middle and high school. I would have loved to see the first attempt to secure a vote be tabled until we had a BEST grant, and I voiced my concerns to the board at the time. The issue failed, but the board listened to the community and put together the initiative which garnered support and we now have new buildings being built.

If elected, what are the most important issues that you think will come before the school board during your term? What is your view on how those issues should be addressed? The board is dealing with typical unfunded requirements sent to them by the state, and there will always be curriculum issues which come to the board. Currently a curriculum issue that has been precipitated by the state revolves around “Comprehensive Sex Education” and this issue will require much community input in order to develop the proper course work that will satisfy our needs.

District C (Vote for 1)Suzette Hachmann

Age 36

Occupation Business owner

How long have you lived in the BV area? 10 years

What is your history with BV schools, either as a parent, alumnus/a, teacher, etc.? I am a parent of three BV schools students. I have volunteered in the schools as long as I have had children in them; helping in classrooms, serving on the DAC, and serving as a school board member for 4 years.

What made you decide to run for school board in this election? After serving for 4 years, I have seen first hand the great things BV school district has to offer. Our board has worked hard alongside superintendent Lisa Yates to support the work of the district. I would like to continue to support the success of our students and the district as a whole.

What do you see the responsibilities of a school board member being? How will you live up to those responsibilities? The role of the school board is to act as a link between the community and the school district, bringing guidance and direction through the leadership of the superintendent. I will stay connected to the community to understand the direction you would like the district to go.

What is the most important quality for a good member of a community school board to have? A good board member cares for students and the success of the school district. A great board member is also engaged and seeks to learn about each relevant issue facing the school board, in conjunction with the views of the community.

What are some of the biggest issues the school board has dealt with in the past four years? As a citizen, how would you have liked to see those issues addressed? What was your view of how the school board handled those issues? Each decision the board has made; superintendent choice, asking the community to fund buildings, and leadership within the schools; was made with great care and consideration. More and earlier communication with stakeholders in the community will always help in these impactful decisions.

If elected, what are the most important issues that you think will come before the school board during your term? What is your view on how those issues should be addressed? Each upcoming issue should be considered in light of what is best for the students of the BV school district. We weigh our decisions against our board-driven District Priorities of Professional and Community Collaboratives, Thinking Strategies, Safe and Healthy Learning Spaces, and Spaces of Optimism.

District A (Vote for 1)

Stacey Moss

Age 51

Occupation Electric lineman

How long have you lived in the BV area? 51 years

What is your history with BV schools, either as a parent, alumnus/a, teacher, etc.? I went to school in Buena Vista from kindergarten through my senior year. I have two kids in high school, my wife works at The Grove preschool located at the elementary school.

What made you decide to run for school board in this election? I was encouraged to run for the school board from community members, friends and family. I also thought it was time to give back and get involved.

What do you see the responsibilities of a school board member being? How will you live up to those responsibilities? A new school board member will have to review and study board policies and state laws, help keep the board and school moving forward. I think it’s important to talk and listen to the community.

What is the most important quality for a good member of a community school board to have? Honesty, and having strong moral principles with deep desire for the good of the whole district by staying on task with board responsibilities and listening to others. To help develop and be familiar with the district strategic and priorities and plans. There is not just one quality that makes a good member, it is being able to lead effectively and efficiently by working as a team to do what is best for our school district.

What are some of the biggest issues the school board has dealt with in the past 4 years? As a citizen, how would you have liked to see those issues addressed? What was your view of how the school board handled those issues? The new school building. After the first proposal failed the board and committees regrouped and came a new plan that was voted in. I think the board and committees did a good job with the new building.

The statewide test scores are always an issue. I feel the board is always working on this, and there is always room for improvement.

If elected, what are the most important issues that you think will come before the school board during your term? What is your view on how those issues should be addressed?

Like all board members the students are first. There safety, education and a rich learning environment is important to ensure every student gets a quality education. Ways of doing this is by looking into ways to improve our state test scores by reviewing assessment data, supporting the depth of learning by our students, and support the leaders who implement the data teams in their buildings.

District A (Vote for 1)

Nathaniel Weeks

(Weeks did not respond by the Tuesday press deadline for the print edition of the Times published Oct. 24. His responses were received after publication and can be read here.)

Nathaniel S. Weeks

Age: 68

Occupation: Education & Business

How long have you lived in the BV area? About 5 years

What is your history with BV schools, either as a parent, alumnus/a, teacher, etc.? Enjoyed theater performances and supported the booster club.

What made you decide to run for school board in this election? Concern that the big increase in taxes might make pay raises less likely; plus the desire to afford students not interested in college to get training as entrepreneurs or in the trades (vocational ed).

What do you see the responsibilities of a school board member being? How will you live up to those responsibilities? We are to set good policies and evaluate their implementation, while not getting involved in the details which is best left to the superintendent and principals. I will study carefully the options so as to make good recommendations to my fellow board members.

What is the most important quality for a good member of a community school board to have? A desire to bless students, their teachers, administrators and staff, and a willingness to take the responsibility seriously necessitating careful study of what may improve various situations.

What are some of the biggest issues the school board has dealt with in the past four years? As a citizen, how would you have liked to see those issues addressed? What was your view of how the school board handled those issues? Finances is always a challenge, funding a good, high school building, getting our test scores up, filling slots in administration and faculty all matter. The present board has done a really good job. I’d like to cut out any fat rather than constantly raise the mill levy on weary property owners.

If elected, what are the most important issues that you think will come before the school board during your term? What is your view on how those issues should be addressed? Eventually pay raises and improved benefits (more likely if we can prove to tax payers that we are good stewards of their money), "comprehensive sex ed” (which we can address with sufficient local input), voc ed (BV needs more plumbers, welders, electricians, etc. and businesses may offer apprenticeships and training), a full-time Elementary Ed Principal (making good progress on that).

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