Knowledgeable, Independent, Determined, Sensible - K. I. D. S.
With four children, all with very different learning styles and needs, our family has experienced multiple Jeffco Schools, from Kyffin Elementary to Evergreen and Creighton Middle Schools, and Lakewood and Wheat Ridge High Schools. For almost a decade, I have worked with teachers and staff to ensure my children’s needs were met. That experience included: on-line classes, dual enrollment, taking Massive Open Online college level Courses (MOOCs), and independent study.
Kyffin, Evergreen and Wheat Ridge PTA member/volunteer
Kyffin, Evergreen and Wheat Ridge Accountability member
Wheat Ridge High School PTSA, President
Wheat Ridge School Accountability Committee, Chair and Member
Wheat Ridge Farmers 5000, raised 20K per year for programs
Wheat Ridge Post Prom and STEM Committees
Cross Country, Lacrosse and Track Booster program(s) member
I have district level experience advocating for all students, working to make IEP processes easier for families, expanding opportunities for marginalized students, and helping raise the bar for gifted students.
Jefferson County Schools Choice Committee
Jefferson County Association for Gifted Children, President
Jefferson County Schools Diversity Council
Jeffco Charter School Consortium, Co-leader
Montessori Peaks Academy Board
I have worked with state level organizations to ensure money is spent in classrooms focused on meeting student needs.
History Day Colorado, Board member
Colorado Student Leadership Institute (COSLI- Governor’s School), Advisory Council
Colorado School Finance Project and SB-231 Working Group (2013)
Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented
I am also active in my community.
Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), Table Captain
Learning Heroes (Formerly Raise the Bar), founding parent group
Calvary Episcopal Church
Kappa Alpha Theta, Alumni Advisor to Colorado School of Mines Chapter
With more than twenty years in the finance industry I have evaluated and managed large infrastructure projects and financings, and developed strategies to save taxpayer dollars. I have worked for large corporations and small start-ups, and led many teams to meet and exceed their goals.
Over nine years, I have repeatedly navigated the school and district budget processes in Jeffco. There were times when these processes became contentious, when some of us realized that excessive emphasis on collaboration would only reinforce the status quo and not serve the best interest of students.
I advocated for funding focused on results
I advocated for Gifted Center Programs to be adequately funded
I advocated for simple to understand IEP processes
I advocated for data protection strategies
I advocated for fiscal responsibility and investments in programs with a proven track record
For more than a decade we have seen Jeffco Schools’ third grade reading proficiency fail to improve from unacceptably low levels. If a child can’t read at grade level by third grade, they are not equipped to access higher-grade level materials. From kindergarten through third grade, students are supposed to be learning to read. After that, they need to read in order to learn. A child’s ability to “catch-up” to proficiency becomes increasingly challenging as they move from grade to grade. Also, Jeffco’s math proficiency levels continue to decline as students move through the system.
I will focus on asking how we improve achievement opportunities for all students
I will ask for proof that investments are made only if there are expected positive outcomes and outcomes are monitored to ensure Jeffco is achieving the expected results.
I will ask which practices are working and advocate for sensible roll out plans
Board members have a fiduciary duty to be careful stewards of the billion dollars in taxpayer funds the district receives every year. This stewardship not only requires that these funds be allocated in line with the district’s strategy and goals, but also that we evaluate the return on investment they produce.
For example, administrative costs have risen far more rapidly than teachers’ salaries. Do we fully understand the activities that have driven that increase in cost and the return on this increase in overhead spending?
Second, we spend (in money and time) an enormous amount every year on teacher professional development, but have not measured the return taxpayers are receiving on this investment.
It has also been claimed that Jeffco struggles to attract and retain talented teachers. Salary is clearly a part of that problem, but research has also found that salaries are usually not the primary reason people leave a job.
I will ask for exit surveys so we know why teachers are leaving and can work to attract and retain great teachers and staff.
I will ask why money isn’t getting to the classroom.
I will ask why administrative costs are rising faster than salary increases.
I will ask which professional development programs are working for teachers and students and ask how those investments are made.
Susan and family (from left) Austin, Michael, Hallie, Tom, Susan, Caleb and