Summit County voters to choose local education leaders |

Summit County voters to choose local education leaders

The five candidates running for election to the Summit School District Board of Education discussed their backgrounds and some challenges in local education at a public forum at Summit High School on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015.
Alli Langley / |


Summit County voters will choose their top four of five candidates running for open seats on the Summit School District Board of Education. The candidates are newcomers Cindy Bargell, Terry Craig, Mark Franke and Lisa Webster as well as incumbent Sue Wilcox.

Incumbent Kathy Goudy and challenger Jon Warnick are running for the only contested Colorado Mountain College Board of Trustees seat, which represents eastern Garfield County. Patty Theobald (Summit County), Ken Brenner (Routt) and Pat Chlouber (Lake) are running unopposed for the remaining three open trustee seats.

Summit County voters will have a chance over the next few weeks to choose who’s in charge of local education policies and how tax dollars collected for local schools are used.

Every candidate on the 2015 ballot is running for an open seat on the governing board of either Summit School District or Colorado Mountain College. Both school systems serve thousands of local students and have budgets of more than $60 million.


Summit School District encompasses six elementary schools, Summit Middle School, Summit High School and Snowy Peaks High School. In 2014, the district served roughly 3,300 students with a budget of $63 million.

The district has experienced notable academic and other successes in recent years and is currently facing challenges with funding, testing, technology, changing student demographics, literacy, mental behavior health, teacher retention and workforce housing.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Five candidates — newcomers Cindy Bargell, Terry Craig, Mark Franke and Lisa Webster as well as incumbent Sue Wilcox — are running for four open seats on the seven-member Summit School District Board of Education. All but Craig currently have children in Summit schools.

Incumbent Wilcox, who has worked at the Keystone Policy Center for 25 years, said her last four years on the school board make her distinct. She has been involved with local schools for 20 years and helped with the district’s last property tax initiative.

She enjoys the details of education policy, she said, and, if re-elected, she would want to continue the district’s work addressing mental-health concerns and improvement academic achievement among students whose first language is not English.

Franke has lived in Frisco full-time for the last six years. As manager of a small technology business, he said he would bring numbers savvy to the board. He also would want to address needs in technology, community communications, early childhood education and career and technical opportunites for secondary students.

Craig lives near Keystone and said she brings an outside perspective and time to devote to the school board’s meetings and committees.

She moved to Summit in 1978 and has been a well-known community figure as wife of Keystone Policy Center founder Bob Craig, as a teacher at the Keystone Science School, as a local art gallery owner for decades and as a member of the Snake River Basin Planning Commission and county Open Space Advisory Board.

Bargell, a lawyer who lives near Silverthorne, has been involved with school PTOs and local nonprofit boards for more than 10 years.

She said she wants the district to focus more on addressing behavioral and mental health and suicide prevention, and she would like to become involved as a board member with the district challenges of testing, capital improvements and integrating the successes of Dillon Valley Elementary and Frisco Elementary.

Webster, a Breckenridge resident who came to Summit five years ago, said she brings organizational, leadership and strategic planning skills from her career in the U.S. Air Force. She helped start Summit Advocates for Gifted Education, and, this year, she helped coordinate the district’s new summer school program.

She said she would focus on 21st century skills, stress coping techniques, arts opportunities and academic rigor.


Voters in all six counties of CMC’s district elect the seven at-large trustees, and one resident each is elected from Eagle, Lake, Pitkin, Routt and Summit counties while two trustees represent Garfield County.

The board usually meets every other month at rotating CMC locations, and board responsibilities include employing and evaluating the president, approving the college budget (roughly $60 million in 2015), establishing college goals and monitoring progress.

CMC now offers five bachelor’s degrees, various associate’s degrees, vocational certificates, training programs and non-credit courses across its 11 locations. The Summit County campus — which includes Breckenridge and Dillon locations — is home to CMC’s culinary institute; business, nursing and sustainability bachelor’s degrees; and outdoor education, emergency medical services, early childhood education and English as a second language programs.

The only contested CMC seat is in eastern Garfield County, and incumbent Kathy Goudy and challenger Jon Warnick are vying for the spot.

An attorney, Goudy started taking lifelong learning classes at CMC after moving to Carbondale in 1999. In her last four years as a trustee, she helped hire CMC’s president, Carrie Besnette Hauser, and create CMC’s new strategic plan, which was rolled out last year.

She is running on a platform of inclusiveness for all district residents and better utilization of campuses. She said she speaks her mind if she notices something wrong, pushes fiscal and budget transparency and advocates for lifelong learning classes.

Warnick moved to the Carbondale area in 1998 after retiring from a career with IBM that included decades of business experience in Asia. He has engineering, business and law degrees and has taken various humanities courses at CMC over the last 15 years.

He has served on the board of the CMC Foundation, the college’s fundraising arm, and has been the board’s treasurer and chair. He is running on a three-part platform: community integration, educational excellence and affordability.

Summit County’s current representative, Bob Taylor, isn’t running again; longtime local Patty Theobald is running unopposed and will take his spot later this fall.

Theobald first came to Summit in 1969 and lives near Breckenridge. She has a degree in early childhood education and spent 14 years working in education consulting. She is now chair of the CMC Foundation board and worked on the construction and fundraising for the Breckenridge campus.

Her goals are strengthening partnerships with local businesses, working closely with the Latino community and keeping tuition low for in-district students while maintaining a healthy balance of out-of-district and out-of-state students. She also wants to continue to serve the changing needs of CMC’s communities, especially in Summit, which is experiencing growing pains.

The remaining two candidates are incumbents, Pat Chlouber (Lake County) and Ken Brenner (Routt County). The other three board members, who were elected for four-year terms in 2013, are Charles Cunniffe (Pitkin County), Glenn Davis (Eagle County) and Mary Ellen Denomy (West Garfield County).

Marijuana tax money

One ballot initiative will determine what Colorado does with recreational marijuana taxes. About $40 million was set aside for public school building construction costs, and other tax money was supposed to go to drug safety and educational programs.

However, a constitutional technicality requires voters to again approve the tax funding’s purpose or it will be refunded to cannabis growers, consumers and other taxpayers.

For more on that ballot issue, look for a story in Wednesday’s Summit Daily.

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