Shaw sees higher standards for schools |

Shaw sees higher standards for schools

Julie Sutor

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fifth in a series of profiles of the six Summit school board candidates. On Tuesday, read about the campaign of Bob Bowers.

Jim Shaw

– Age: 55

– Occupation: engineer, business manager

– Place of residence: Silverthorne

– Family: married, 3 children: 28, 27, 21

– Education: Bachelor of Science, Chemical Engineering, Oregon State University; Master of Science, Chemical Engineering, University of Colorado at Boulder; Master of Arts, Management,

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

– Last book read: “Globalization and Its Discontents,” by Joseph Stiglitz

– Favorite subject: Chemistry

SUMMIT COUNTY- Summit school board candidate Jim Shaw will tell you that engineers don’t make the best politicians. But this engineer will also tell you that he’ll make an excellent school board member.

His keen interest in education, his experience serving on boards, his finance and management expertise and his strategic planning skills all add up to what he hopes will be a winning candidacy.

Shaw took an interest in education at an early age, partly because he is surrounded by a family of educators. His mother holds a Ph.D. in education and, at 78, still volunteers in the classroom.

Family, in Shaw’s mind, is one of the key elements in an effective educational system. If elected, he will find as many ways as possible to get parents and the greater community involved in the district, he said.

“From the time my son was in preschool ’til he graduated from Colgate University, my wife and I made it clear that school was priority No. 1,” Shaw said. “You can’t ignore the value of what parents can contribute.”

While his son was growing up, Shaw coached youth soccer and basketball and worked closely with the gifted and talented program.

Shaw also firmly believes in the value of preschool and kindergarten in a child’s education.

“You can actually increase a child’s IQ if you get them into these programs early enough,” he said. “Unfortunately, when you have to pay for preschool and kindergarten, the ones that need it the most aren’t captured at the younger ages.”

Shaw said his strongest qualifications for the board arise from his business background. He looks forward to helping maintain the district’s financial integrity, and said that, coming from an engineering background, numbers are second nature to him.

More importantly, Shaw has vast experience in strategic planning – evaluating and steering the overall direction of an organization or institution. When he directed the Royalty Management Program for the Department of the Interior, Shaw made dramatic changes to streamline the program’s collection of funds.

When he worked with Union Pacific, he was known as a voice for environmental responsibility in the mining industry. He also oversaw the clean-up of a uranium mining complex, making it the only one in the world to be fully reclaimed.

Shaw also takes pride in his mediation and conflict-resolution skills. He has taken many classes on the subjects and finds that good consensus-building tools are helpful in all aspects of life, from family life to a corporate board of directors to a town council or planning commission.

He has been using those skills most recently as a member of the Snake River Task Force and as a voice in the debate over development of the Smith Ranch in Silverthorne.

Shaw hopes voters will give him the chance to shape, mediate and steer in his most-loved public arena – education.

“I’ve been looking at what I can do in the community to give back. And I asked myself, “What do I care about?’ I care about education.”

Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or at

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