Opinion | Susan Knopf: Summit County school board candidates at a glance | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Susan Knopf: Summit County school board candidates at a glance

Susan Knopf

Summit School District board members: Four-year term. Vote for four.

I’m friends with several of these people, so I’m just going to share a few of their strong points. Largely I’m summarizing what the candidates say about themselves.  

Online, each candidates’ name is linked to their published statements, or go to summitdaily.com/election to find coverage of the candidate forum.

Summit County Education Association endorses Chris Alleman, Emily Lutke, Gloria Quintero and Consuelo Redhorse. For the record, I do not recommend this shortcut. Please read through the column so you understand the candidates’ qualifications and skill sets. We have some highly qualified candidates who are worthy of your consideration.

Chris Alleman: Master of Arts from Texas A&M, Lake Dillon Theatre Co. artistic director, Silverthorne Elementary PTA president and Accountability Committee member, volunteer with numerous local groups including The Summit Foundation and the Family & Intercultural Resource Center. Priorities: 1) Improve teacher retention rate, 2) invest in student mental health, 3) prioritize arts integration to improve education outcomes.

Gini Bradley: Master of Arts in social work from University of Denver, former director of Summit County Youth and Family Services for 12 years, two Summit Foundation awards for professional and service work, 35-years experience working in Summit County professionally and for nonprofits. A problem-solver committed to creative solutions and community partnerships. Key issues: 1) Supporting the whole child academically and emotionally, 2) retaining high-quality educators, 3) creative teaching approaches that better meet student needs, 4) creating school environments that feel safe for all students.

Miranda Fisher: General manager at Always Mountain Time, a local media company offering radio, digital content and events. Fisher is a well-connected community leader, a former pre-school teacher. Priorities: 1) Recruit and retain high-quality educators, 2) value social and emotional learning. Strongly supports 1A, 4A and 7A.

Lauren Gearhart: Master of Arts in public health. Worked 10 years coaching and mentoring Summit County youths.Priorities: 1) Increase teacher and staff salaries, 2) increase emotional support for students, 3) increase access to district interpreters, 4) increase access to trade curricula at Summit High School. Committed to creating workforce opportunities for students, and reducing youth substance use. Supports Measures 1A and 4A and Proposition CC.

Emily Lutke: Carriage House Early Education Center board member, Vail Resorts ticket sales manager, Breckenridge Ski Resort Epic Promise Foundation co-chair, wife of an educator, mother of a 7-year-old student. Priorities: 1) Ensure every student has the opportunity to learn and grow regardless of differences, 2) strengthen the health of every child, 3) support educators.

Stan Katz: Ph.D. in applied economics, veteran school board member who served 12 years in the West-Windsor-Plainsboro, New Jersey, board of education. That district is ranked third in New Jersey, a state that U.S. News and World Reports ranks second nationally. Katz says he was chair of the Finance Committee for 10 years. He believes our school board needs a finance committee and needs to be more actively involved helping shape the priorities of the school district. He says that when he was on the school board in New Jersey, the district ranked high in test scores while spending less per pupil than the state average. He says Summit County can do better, and he wants to help lead that effort.

Gloria Quintero: Degrees in accounting and international business, Master of Arts in social and human sciences, bilingual, Strengthening Families Outreach Program counselor with Summit County Youth and Family Services. Recently worked with Early Intervention and a member of Head Start Policy Counsel. Her passions include special education and mental health, starting in early childhood. The National Conference of State Legislatures found every dollar spent in the first three years of a child’s life saves eight dollars later in life. Believes diverse opinions on the board builds the best school district.

Consuelo Redhorse: Office manager/accountant, Summit County preschool chair. Shepoints out Summit County spends $2,703 less per pupil than the national average. That’s more than $50,000 less in a class of 20 students. She challenges the district to competitively fund education. She pledges to: 1) Support the district’s mission and strategic plan, Vision 2020 2.0, 2) build relationships and increase communication and participation, 3) support teachers and professionals.

Brooke Shotts: She says her kids and passion for high-quality education have been her driving force for 11 years of volunteering. She advocates for: 1) A livable wage for teachers and support staff so the district can retain talent and recruit the most qualified teachers, 2) mental health support in the schools, 3) spend school funds wisely “to provide teachers the time, resources and personal development needed to adjust curriculum to best suit the needs of their students.”  

Tim Westerberg: Ph.D. in education administration, 45 years of experience as a principal, teacher, coach, consultant and author. Priorities: 1) High academic expectations for all students and support those expectations, 2) make Summit County a top performing district, 3) hire, develop and retain high-performing principals and teachers in every building and classroom.

Susan Knopf’s column “For The Record” publishes Fridays in the Summit Daily News. Knopf has worn many hats in her career, including working as an award-winning journalist and certified ski instructor. She moved to Silverthorne in 2013 after vacationing in Summit County since the 1970s. Contact her at sdnknopf@gmail.com.

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