Five candidates submitted their petitions to run for the November election. Of the three seats, one held by Michele DeSanti was term-limited. Travis Hoesli was up for reelection but also gave up his seat early to move to North Carolina. The third seat is held by Jeremy Bock, and he is seeking re-election. Others throwing their name into the hat are Bryan Klotz, Jess Buller, Rebecca Guthrie, and Rhonda Shearer.
Those elected will join current board members Everett “Shorty” Lemon, Jessica Smiley, Michael “Mitch” Lockhart and Shawn Lechman.
November’s election will be a mail-in ballot, and according to Grand County Clerk and Recorder Sara Rosene ballots will be sent out October 11.
The Grand Gazette will be featuring each of the candidates in a weekly forum where a question is answered by each candidate. The public is encouraged to send questions to [email protected] gmail.com.
Candidates appear in the order they will appear on the ballot.
What are 2-3 priorities our district needs to address?
Why do you see these as needs?
Hello! So the top priorities for the school district in my opinion rarely change, education and safety. How the district reaches and improves these goals are constantly changing or being challenged. Our evolving technology allows the school to offer classes beyond the standard classrooms. This can also be a challenge for some, so we need to continue to explore options and monitor these programs. Extending our hands-on training or “shadowing a professional for a day” are options that I would like us to explore. Teacher attraction and retention is very important in terms of educating the students, consistent, caring teachers need to be our focus. I do believe that the district is getting a solid foundation of teachers. Our amazing environment and four day week is attractive and helps WGSD stay competitive. In terms of safety, society is continuing to change and WGSD needs to be prepared to accommodate or explain how these changes will be handled. Love it or hate it social media plays a large part in the lives of the students, both on WGSD campuses and off.
The Safe To Tell hotline implemented at WGSD, offered through the state, has seen a large increase in calls as compared to the same period of 2018. This is an example of programs that are available to assist WGSD with these issues. The Board needs to continue to educate themselves on the hot topics and changes within school climates, the programs that are available to help with these issues and then educate the staff and students on the programs.
Communication, curriculum, and climate and culture are always a top priority. We are constantly working on getting better at each of these.
I will start by saying, I am very satisfied with our District and all the amazing work that takes place on a daily basis. As far as priorities go, there is ultimately only one. The kids.
They will always be the number one priority.
With that said, I do think recognition & retention of our faculty members should be considered as well. Having the right staff members for the job, and holding on to them.
This adds structure and stability to our kids lives, and ultimately builds a stronger community. We should always be looking for ways to “build up” our teachers and faculty members.
Another item I feel maybe a positive measure as it relates to our District deals with public service. Giving our kids more opportunity to be charitable and serve others. This can make a huge impact on a world with a slightly skewed moral compass. I love the community service program at our high school but I feel it could be looked at. Charitable activities give students at any age the opportunity to act selflessly.
I truly can’t think of a better way of representing West Grand than by giving to others.
One priority our school district needs to address (beyond what was captured in last week’s questionnaire) is making sure our budget and actual spending and our policies align with the district’s mission and goals. At the outset of each year, the board meets with the superintendent to outline goals and objectives for the upcoming school year. Each board member should leave said meeting knowing full well the direction of West Grand School District, from curriculum to finances to facilities to overall district governance. And they should use such knowledge to guide their decision making when it comes to matters put to a vote. Board meetings should be rich with discussion and questions, so that board members can feel confident they are making the most informed decision—a decision that is in the best interest of the school district and its stakeholders—as possible.
Another area of priority I see is for there to be well-defined lines when it comes to personnel—and Board—roles and responsibilities. I understand that this can be difficult in a small town where everyone is so well connected, but it is important for the health and well being of the school. As a member of the board of education, I will be an active listener to West Grand stakeholders. When appropriate, I will pass along questions and concerns to the district superintendent and trust that the matters will be handled timely and through the proper chain of command.
I would really like to be able to find a way to retain quality teachers. Kremmling is sometimes a hard place to draw people to. I would also like to see more advanced classes like gifted and talented for those students that excel in their studies. I think sometimes it is easier to hold kids back until the other ones catch up than it is to push others. And AP classes don’t have to mean additional assignments necessarily, but pushing them to the next level.
I think our district is doing a great job with keeping its facilities and equipment up to date, they are fiscally responsible, and I feel that they do really care about the students and make them a priority.
I hope to be able to learn even more about our District as your board member.
**Candidates appear in order of how they will appear on the ballot **