Steamboat Springs Having two young children can spark a parent's interest in education. So can living next to a South Routt School Board member.
Janette Manke, 40, is the newest member of the School Board, replacing former neighbor AlidaLee Gingerich, who moved out of District 1 this spring.
A School Board member must live in the district he or she represents.
Manke was sworn in at Thursday's meeting. She has two daughters, Zoe, 3, and Aspen, 8 months.
"I will go talk with other moms and parents and find out what they want," Manke said. "It's not just what I want."
Manke said Gingerich, as well as her daughters' education, influenced her interest in joining the School Board.
Manke submitted a letter of interest shortly after Gingerich resigned. School Board President Tim Corrigan called Manke in June to notify her that she was selected.
Manke understands the responsibilities that come with being on the board. The seven-person board works closely with Soroco Superintendent Kelly Reed on policy and progress within the district's three schools.
"I know the elementary school is very strong," Manke said. "I know at the middle school, one of the measuring tools is CSAPs."
Manke went on to say she would like to work with other board members, Reed and teachers to help improve Soroco Middle School's scores on the Colorado Student Assessment Program tests.
"How do we make our middle school better?" Manke asked. "How do we maintain that energy from the elementary school?"
Manke's background is in engineering, but she spent three years substitute teaching in the district.
"I taught whatever they needed," she said.
In addition to representing District 1, Manke said she represents parents of current and future students. She already has spoken to other mothers and is ready to "become a little more active in the community and help move education in a positive direction."