School board candidate Groneman has a passion for children, education |

School board candidate Groneman has a passion for children, education

summit daily news
Sheila Groneman

SUMMIT COUNTY – Silverthorne resident Sheila Groneman’s passion for children and education has turned into a career – a position with Early Childhood Options in Dillon – and four years already spent on the Summit School District board.

“I have a strong background in early childhood education,” Groneman said. “It helps to bring a good perspective to the board.”

She’s also involved in other education-related organizations, like Community Partners for Children, Early Childhood Advisory for the Colorado Association of School Boards, Early Childhood Summit and the Early Childhood Council in Summit County. She is the president of the Colorado Head Start Association, and a member of Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church.

As a current member of Summit School District’s board, Groneman said she’s attended most of the school board meetings in the last six months.

“It really gives us the opportunity to have an up close and personal look at what’s going on in schools,” she said of holding school board meetings around the district.

When asked to describe the superintendent’s role and how the board should interact with and oversee the super, Groneman said: “I think it’s important for the board to work closely with the superintendent and to have a good working relationship as we work toward the common vision for the school district. … We are also working together to create an organization that’s proactive and has a strong reputation for high standards to help ensure that we deliver a quality education system. Dr. Hamner is a strong leader of our district and it’s a positive experience working with her as the superintendent.”

The school board member also said that it’s the board’s responsibility to build relationships with the community, including town governments and other citizen groups.

“It’s important to hear from the public about expectations and values,” she said.

According to Groneman, she envisions the Summit School District as “a quality experience for all students, every day in every classroom.” She also wants to support the idea that young children entering kindergarten should be ready for success through early preparation.

“It’s a challenging and complex time for education right now in terms at looking at what 21st century education looks like,” she said. “We need to look at how we’re delivering an educational system and is that the best way? Our job is to prepare children for a world that we haven’t seen.”

One way to do this is through the IB program – “To me its a framework, a trans-disciplinary program of international education,” Groneman said. “It focuses on total growth and development of the child, and knowledge is developed through inquiry. It has a holistic approach, and it also has strong academic rigor and it has a community service component. And in the middle years it helps to develop some 21st century skills – critical thinking, research and inquiring skills.”

And Groneman’s ongoing goals for the district include: Having a strong focus on the early education years as a foundation approach to education; keeping tabs on the Colorado achievement Plan for Kids -Senate Bill 212; looking at new education standards; and studying high school reform by taking a look at courses, schedules and alternative education. Groneman also wants to continue working on the Close the Achievement Gap program.

“Overall, the district has the same responsibility for all students,” Groneman said. “It’s our responsibility to understand the individualized needs of all students.”

In terms of English-language learners, Groneman said the district must have a support system and instructional strategies in place to support their academic success. She also noted that teachers should have access to professional development to help in this effort. Groneman added that the district has the same responsibility to gifted and talented students, as well as students pursuing careers after high school.

Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at

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