Gini Bradley: Supporting children, families highlight of 35 years of community work
Summit School District board candidate
- Occupation: social work/community organizer
- Hometown: Frisco
- Years in Summit County: 35
- Civic involvement: The Summit Foundation past president and board member, 2002-present; The Summit Foundation Outstanding Citizen Award recipient 2017; Building Hope founding organizer and board member, 2016-present; Family and Intercultural Resource Center founding organizer, 1994; Summit Prevention Alliance founding organizer, 1990; Lake Dillon Optimist Club past president and member, 1989-1994; Advocates for Victims of Assault volunteer, 1990; Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center board of directors, 1988-1990; and Red, White & Blue Fire Protection District volunteer firefighter, 1981-1986.
I have dedicated my past 35 years to working for the betterment of children and families in Summit County. I want to continue helping children as a member of the Summit School District board of directors.
I first came to Summit County in 1981 to work with the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center. After five years in outdoor education, I earned my master’s degree in social work. I was fortunate to return to Summit County after graduate school as the director of youth and family services. After 13 years with the Summit County government, I started a consulting business focused on community organizing, facilitation and strategic planning. Through the years, I have worked with more than 40 organizations locally and across the state of Colorado on topics ranging from early childhood education to community health planning. In addition to my professional work, I have spent countless hours volunteering for nonprofit boards related to children including The Summit Foundation, Lake Dillon Optimist Club, the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center and Building Hope. As a mother, I raised two successful graduates of the Summit School District.
Through my years of service, I have had a myriad of opportunities to create innovative solutions to community needs. Early in my tenure at the county, there was a growing trend with substance abuse in the county. Working with numerous community partners, I helped create the Summit Prevention Alliance, an organization dedicated to the prevention of substance abuse. A few years later, Summit County experienced a need to better support the growing population of working families. Again, working with local representatives, I led the planning process to create the Family and Intercultural Resource Center. More recently, after the community experienced a rash of suicides, I worked with a group of concerned citizens to launch Building Hope, an organization dedicated to increasing assess to mental health resources.
In addition to community-based projects, I have worked extensively with the school district over the years. I was on the planning committee to create the School Based Health Centers and the after-school programs in the early ’90s. More recently, I facilitated the process for developing the universal preschool program and convened the school district’s land-use planning process. As a parent, I volunteered in the classroom and helped with various school events.
All of these experiences have prepared me to be an effective school board member. I bring extensive leadership, knowledge of the community and creative problem-solving skills to the position. I am motivated to run because I believe there are numerous opportunities to move the school district from a good district to one that is truly exceptional.
My three top priorities for the district are as follows:
Ensure that every student thrives academically
Every child is unique and has unique needs. I will fight for specialized programs to guarantee every student thrives and grows into a successful adult, including programs for learning disabilities, English as a second language and gifted education learners. I will support smaller class sizes, increases in school-funded tutoring and specialized training for teachers.
Advocate for better wages and resources for teachers
Research has documented that the single most important link to student success is the quality of the teaching staff. The cost of living in Summit is approximately 25% higher than other communities. I will advocate for an increase in teacher salaries and paid training opportunities. I also believe the district must actively pursue affordable housing options for teachers.
Guarantee that students are emotionally and physically healthy and secure
Students cannot learn if they are emotionally distraught or feel unsafe. With 1 in 4 high school students reporting that they felt sad or hopeless almost every day in the past two weeks, we must do a better job of supporting the emotional needs of students. I will fight for additional counselors, curricula, parent trainings related to mental health and enhanced prevention programs to tackle the vaping epidemic. I will also work to create improvements in building security and to increase the reach of effective anti-bullying programs in the schools.
To achieve these goals, I will rely on the same skills that I have used through the years to create effective community and school programs. I will start by promoting effective planning processes that include engagement of all stakeholders — including administrators, teachers and parents — completing thorough research, and creating clear and measurable goals for the district. Working together, I believe the Summit School District can become one of the most respected and effective district’s in Colorado.
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