Julie Shapiro chosen to fill Summit School District Board of Education vacant position

When the Summit School District Board of Education members were asked to read out a short list of three school board candidates they thought should be considered for the position, every single one had candidate Julie Shapiro on their list. 

The meeting, held on Thursday, June 16, had time dedicated on the agenda to interview, nominate, elect and swear in a new school board member to replace former board member Gloria Quintero.

That evening, Shapiro was sworn into office and put to work. 

Shapiro, who has lived in Summit County for the past 12 years, is originally from upstate New York. She is the director for the Center for Natural Resources at the Keystone Policy Center, where she is currently working on the reintroduction of the wolf population in Colorado

Kate Hudnut, the president of the Summit School District Board of Education, said if she can bring people together over that big of an issue, “it makes anything we do seem pretty darn simple.”

Shapiro wanted to become a school board member not only because she wants to give back to the community but also because she said she cares deeply about public education. 

She impressed the board with her history of problem solving, decision-making skills and experience with negotiating with stakeholders through her position at the Keystone Policy Center. 

“It’s one thing to come to a table and just kind of complain, it’s another thing to come to the table, address it and move that work forward,” said board member Johanna Kugler at the meeting.

Shapiro said she was excited to use her skills as a strategic thinker and problem solver to do just that.

“How can we prioritize and get things done to move the needle for kids,” she said. 

Many at the meeting expressed their interest in what she could bring to the table as someone whose career has been centered around the outdoors.

“Summit County is an outdoor place, our kids are outdoor people. I think for her to have that value system really meshes with the value system of Summit County,” said Roy Crawford, the Summit County School District interim superintendent.

When Shapiro graduated from college in 2003, she headed to the Colorado mountains in her Toyota Camry not even knowing how to ski, she said with a laugh. 

But through that experience, she said she learned “the courage to do something new and do something different that’s bold, and make a big move.” It’s a lesson she said she would bring to the school board — to take the big leap, trust her gut, and go all in. 

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