Occupation: control specialist/rancher
Years in Hayden: Routt County native
Family: married, three sons and seven grandsons
Civic involvement: 14 years as 4-H shooting sports leader; DOW hunter safety class instructor since 1995; Hayden Town Board trustee for 12 years with one year as mayor pro-tem; nearly four years on Hayden Planning Commission, currently on Hayden Board of Adjustments; served as a member of the Economic Development Commission; and also served on the Community Agriculture Alliance and Vision 20/20. Active in the Hayden United Church of Christ, served on the pastoral relations committee and the church choir
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55 total votes.
Q. Voters here will decide in November whether to approve new statewide tax increases to provide more funding for public education (Amendment 66). Do you support this ballot initiative? Explain why.
A. I do not support Amendment 66. I do not approve of issues that should be legislated being turned into amendments to our state constitution. It removes the ability of our elected bodies to manage budgets and issues with the flexibility necessary for good governance. This then impacts local boards’ abilities to use mill levy changes to affect funding for the district’s use. It looks good at first glance but carries a lot of unintended consequences. The intention is good, and we appreciate the attempt to support our students.
Q. The Hayden School District receives a mixed bag of test scores each year on the state's standardized test. What do you think the School Board's role should be in helping to improve these scores?
A. It is unfortunate standardized test scores are the recipient of such intense focus. While they are a much needed measurement of student progress, they are but one of the measures that need to be taken into account. They do not represent the whole picture of a school’s learning environment or a staff’s skill or even the capabilities of the students themselves. As a student, a parent and an instructor, I am keenly aware that all students learn at different rates and in different ways. Any child who has a learning challenge will not be represented well on a timed test. All children can and will learn, and it is our responsibility to provide the best possible learning environment and instruction to each student. Taking care to align curriculum and hiring the best possible educators will further our student success. The board’s role should be to provide just such opportunity.
Q. Last year, the Hayden School Board barely rejected a proposed split schedule for its schools that would have added more class days at the secondary school level but kept the elementary schedule the same. Are you satisfied with Hayden's school calendar? Explain why or why not.
A. I am satisfied with our school calendar decision. When closely examined, it became apparent that instructional time was, in fact, not increased. It was rearranged at the expense of calendar and family continuity. Many of our families have a child in more than one building, and they were not happy with two different calendars. We have to honor that. I am an elected representative of my community, and the input I received was that the community did not support the change.
Q. In what specific ways do you see yourself impacting your school district as a School Board member?
A. I have been, and hope to be again, elected to serve. It is my responsibility to stay in contact with students, staff and administrators and the community at large. In the past, my job required me to miss about two or three meetings a year due to my rotating shifts. That has been resolved. I now feel I won’t miss any meetings due to my job conflict. We must as board members use a finite amount of resources to achieve the maximum benefit. That is a serious responsibility, and I work diligently to create the best education possible for all our students. Communication is a key. I frequently meet with administrators and do check in with staff and parents to keep communication lines open. I work very hard to be accessible.
Q. What do you see as Hayden School District's greatest needs, and how would you work to address them as a School Board member?
A. As with all school districts, budget, budget, budget. We work to provide the most opportunity for all our students with the financial resources we have. Steamboat has been generous enough to share Education Fund Board income with us, which has enabled us to expand our technology and programs for our kids. We have reduced administrative costs and put that money toward the kids, too. We are constantly trying to do all we can with what we have. I have a great deal of experience with budgetary issues and government requirements. We work hard to keep our graduation rate high and our class size small.
Q. What do you see as Hayden School District's greatest strengths?
A. We have a great program in the Babson-Carpenter Career and Technical Education Center, and the opportunities it provides our students. We have small class sizes and a high percentage of our instructors have advanced degrees and training. Our administrators work very hard to ensure that student needs are closely monitored, progress is tracked and students have the benefit of much one-on-one or small group instruction. Our graduation rate is high, and we have a very high percentage of our students who choose to attend post-secondary programs and graduate. We receive a large amount of scholarship funding from the area and from the college level. But our single greatest strength is definitely our dedicated staff. We also benefit from strong community involvement and a sense of ownership.
Q. How can the School Board foster more parent involvement in the school district?
A. These days, in the households fortunate enough to have two parents, both are usually working outside the home. Add in commuting time, and it amounts to very tired and time-crunched parents. It is even more difficult in the case of single-parent households. We have a website where parents may interact with our staff from the top down, and schedules and class activities are posted and kept up to date. Our staff schedules allow for time to contact parents and return emails or phone calls. We have an open door policy, and visitors are welcome as long as they stop by the office and are identified. We have been fortunate to have some dedicated parents, and our volunteer hours and Booster Club participation is pretty good. The School Board tries to be sensitive to parent needs and schedule time with staff and parents in mind.
Open-ended statement: I have had three sons attend school in Hayden, and all were successful student athletes who were able to be very successful in their post-graduation choices. We currently have four of our grandchildren attending Hayden schools. I attended some years of school in Steamboat, but both my wife and I are graduates of Hayden School District. I believe in our school. It provides a safe, nurturing and challenging learning environment. We have had family members who required special assistance in their learning as well as those who have excelled without much effort. All were well-educated, competent citizens when they left the halls of Hayden High School. The children we educate today represent the community we will have tomorrow. We must provide all we can, any way we can, to make sure the future will be well served by those we train today. I am proud to have been part of this process and hope the voters of Hayden will choose to allow me to continue to be a part moving forward.
Election Guide 2013
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