Summit Board of Education cancels election, names next three members
A little sooner than was expected, the Summit School District has the next three members for its seven-member Board of Education.
The school board held a special meeting Tuesday morning to formally cancel the November election and appoint the only three candidates who completed the requirements to run for open seats by the Sept. 1 deadline.
Public education veteran Bonnie Ward, who was previously appointed to the board in mid-2016 to complete the term of former member J Kent McHose, will now maintain her seat for another two years. Summit County residents Kate Hudnut and Tracey Carisch will also join as new board members and be sworn in this upcoming November.
“I feel really good about the candidates who are now appointed,” said board president Margaret Carlson, who is term-limited and will complete eight years of service this fall. “I definitely feel that I’ll be leaving the board in good hands, both old and new. This is an important role in the community, and I’m really pleased that we’ve got the folks on this board that we do have.”
To get on the ballot for school board, a potential candidate must obtain 50 local voter signatures on a petition by the cutoff date. When the number of candidates is equal to that of total openings, an election can be canceled, which saves the district an estimated $13,500 in advertising, ballot and postage costs.
“So that’s always a plus,” said Carlson.
Regardless of the cancellation, attending board members were complimentary of those who threw their name into the hat to run for office.
“With those sorts of candidates I see no reason why we wouldn’t move to cancel the election and save the funds,” said board member Cindy Bargell. “I love the folks that stepped up. I would love to see more people who want to be more involved with the schools come forward, as there will be — as we know it — more elections in two years.”
Hudnut is a 23-year resident of the county and currently resides in Frisco. She has a background in graphic design and business consulting, and, with her husband John, owns the GatherHouse glassblowing studio in Frisco.
The Hudnuts have a daughter at the middle school, and Kate has past experience serving on the board of directors for the Little Red Schoolhouse in Breckenridge and the school district’s Building Accountability and Advisory Committee at Dillon Valley Elementary. She’s also served on the Family & Intercultural Resource Center’s board of directors for going on six years.
“Big-picture leadership is my strong suit,” said Hudnut. “I’m passionate about education and I’m very interested in supporting all of our communities here. It’s just the way I was brought up to volunteer and give back.”
Carisch is a Dillon resident and a member of Summit County’s Rotary Club. Her professional résumé is rooted in business management and consulting.
Ward, meanwhile, holds a doctorate in educational administration and was an educator in Maryland for 40 years, including a decade-plus as a public school district chief administrator and then superintendent.
“Bonnie’s credentials are clearly unparalleled,” said Bargell. “I think we have so much to learn from (Kate) and (Tracey), and Bonnie’s been incredible.”
Absent Tuesday were Ward and Marilyn Taylor, the board’s secretary, who was originally appointed in March 2013. She then won election in November 2015, but is opting not to rerun for the seat. Carisch also missed the meeting.
“We had three strong candidates,” said district superintendent Kerry Buhler. “The other piece of it is I think that people obviously have great faith in the work that the school board has been doing, and there’s not anybody saying, ‘Wow, we need some people in there that need to be doing things differently.’ We need to continue to make sure that we are out there in the community and talking with people and making sure that we do know what people need and want.”
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