West Grand candidate question – week 4


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 grandgazette@ gmail.com.

Candidates appear in the order they will appear on the ballot.

What is your role as a school board member?

What would your relationship be with the administration and staff?

Do you see yourself primarily as a representative of the community or as a representative of the school system?

Rebecca Guthrie

Rebecca Guthrie

Good question. If elected, I would first be joining the board as a mother, as this is where I draw my experience. Having a 12 year old that has attended WGSD from K through 6th (so far), those are my direct experiences with the school district.

I did cover the school board for the Gazette the last few years, so I understand that there are a lot of moving parts, including private matters that are not discussed in a public forum, so I would still have a learning curve. To appropriately serve, I would research when necessary and try my best to understand the various points of view. Go Mustangs!

Jeremy Bock

Jeremy Bock

A school board member helps to set policies, sets the vision and goals for the school and holds the district accountable for the results. Board Members hire a Superintendent to manage the school and staff, and they should be approachable if the staff have questions or concerns. I feel a good member will represent the constituents that voted them in with the interest of the kids first and foremost..

Bryan Klotz

Given the opportunity, my role as a board member would be to serve as a public voice to help channel information to and from our community, and to volunteer the time and effort towards the enrichment of our District.

My relationship with the administration and staff would be largely unaffected. I’ve said it before, our District staff are some of the best. I do hope to work more closely with faculty members and to help facilitate the growth of their careers.

I would consider myself a primary representative of both the community and the school system. It is my belief that there is little distinction between the two. In a District our size, one cannot thrive without the other. Erasing the line between community and school system should be the main objective. I am a passionate community member and an appreciative supporter of our school system.

Jess Buller

Jess Buller

The role of the school board is very explicitly stated in Colorado Revised Statute 22-32-109: Board of Education
– Specific Duties. Additionally, West Grand has adopted Policy BBA: School Board Powers and Duties which defines the most important functions of the board as:
Legislative or policymaking – adopting and approving policy
*Educational planning and appraisal
–approval of textbooks and scope of educational activities

*Staffing and appraisal – hiring of superintendent and appointment of teachers, principals and supervisors.

*Financial resources – budget approval

*School facilities – maintain awareness of programming, personnel and facilities status.

*Communication with public – listen to citizens on matters of administration and policy.

*Judicial – court of appeals.

As a board member, I would take measures to ensure that lines around these duties and responsibilities are not blurred and that I am not overstepping my role as a board member. I will view every issue that comes to my attention with a wide-angle lens in order to gain a full perspective of the situation. If it is a school-level matter, I will pass along the information to the superintendent to allow him the opportunity to address the situation. If it is a district-level matter, I will make sure it goes in front of the entire board to act on (if necessary). At no time will I speak for the board in their absence.

My relationship with the administration and staff would remain strictly professional. As with all stakeholders in West Grand School District, I would be available to listen to issues they might be experiencing; however, I would not offer any type of resolution and would likely direct the staff member to the appropriate channel within the district. It is not my job to evaluate staff other than the superintendent or to make day-to-day decisions and would never want to put myself in that position.

The best thing a board member can do is stay apprised of the state of the district. If there are matters that are unclear, a good board member will ask questions. If there are matters that do not align with policy or with the mission of the district, a good board member will be vocal about that in a meeting or let it be reflected in his vote. We are primarily representatives of the community as we depend on hard-earned tax dollars to create and maintain a school system that is not only governed well but that is reflective of the values and the culture of the community in which we operate.

Rhonda Shearer

Rhonda Shearer

The role of the school board is to set policies and procedures, visions, goals, etc., and then ensure that those things are being followed. They also oversee the yearly budget, to ensure that there is responsible spending now and in the future.

The board is essentially running a business as well. The Board oversees the work of the superintendent, but all other staff should be managed by their respective managers. I see myself as both a representative of the community, and a representative of the school system. Those are both important positions to hold, and I don’t know that one is any more important than the other.

**Candidates appear in order of how they will appear on the ballot **