Losh aims to take on financial challenges, meet needs
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SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit School Board candidate Jan Losh brings 13 years of experience with the district to her candidacy and says she want to help serve the range of student needs while bracing for financial challenges.
“I do see in the coming year there will be some financial issues,” she said, adding that it’s admirable the existing board used contingency funds in 2009-10 to “make the school year whole.”
Enrollment at Summit schools has been projected to decline, and state funding next year is likely to take a hit as well.
Losh said her years of experience with the district include working with six superintendents. She said current superintendent Millie Hamner has brought stability to the district over the past few years. Her objectives for the board, Losh said, would include a “very well thought-out” approach to financial challenges. She also said recruiting and retaining the best staff possible is a “monstrous challenge,” and that Summit’s current staff is “outstanding” at all levels.
She said she wants to make sure “change simply for the sake of change” doesn’t happen.
“I want it to be a visionary leadership and not a micro-managing effort,” she said.
Losh’s years with the district started in 1986 when she was a secretary at Breckenridge Elementary School. She also served as Dillon Valley Elementary School secretary and as a short-term secretary for the district’s transportation and maintenance departments.
She was the first receptionist for the district’s central administration office and later the secretary to Summit School Board.
In 1998 Losh left the district to begin a career in human resources. After the office for which she was working moved to Golden, she returned to the school district. She worked as secretary to the superintendent, then as executive assistant to learning services.
Losh left the district in September 2005 when she was recruited to work for R.A. Nelson and Associates, she said. She worked three years as the human resources director of the building company in Vail. But as she was planning what cuts would be necessary in her department, Losh found her “position had to be eliminated,” she said.
She is a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church of Leadville, High Country Human Resources Association and the Society for Human Resource Management.
Losh said she’s been attending board meetings since election petitions went out in early August.
Her educational background includes one of two years in a secretarial science program at Colorado Mountain College. In 2001 she earned professional certification in human resources .
She said that having worked with 27 school board members over the years, she always appreciated those who “truly saw the role as that of service, governance” and that supported the community as well as education of children.
She said personal agendas of some board members to her were detrimental and diverted attention from more pressing issues.
“Many had specific items they focused on and wanted to fix,” she said.
Losh said students need to be prepared for whatever field they choose – whether that involves a university, trade school or other options.
“I want to make sure they all have every resource we can give kids,” she said.
Losh said she respects the International Baccalaureate program that’s been instituted across the district.
“I understand it to be the most effective approach to a well-rounded and balanced education,” she said.
She said it’s important to make sure teachers do their jobs well and are “mindful and aware of what’s expected” in the classroom.
But she also said it’s important they don’t get burnt out, for the demanding profession frequently experiences high turnover.
Regarding the achievement gap between struggling English learners and their native-English peers, Losh said the district is on the right track.
“Statistics show if you have a child in the system for any length of time, we get ’em there,” she said, adding that the district has no control over where people choose to live for what length of time.
Often English learners come from transient families that don’t stay in the area more than a few years.
Asked whether much change is necessary from the way the district is run, she said there’s “perpetual opportunity” for “fine-tuning and honing” the board’s priorities.
“The best are never satisfied. That’s what makes them the best,” she said.
Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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