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A unanimous choice

Former teacher, mother of three new School Board president

In other news

The Steamboat Springs School Board:

- Accepted the resignations of Steamboat Springs track and field coach Andy Reust, Steamboat Springs High School drama sponsor Chula Walker-Griffith and paraprofessional Diane Lekarczyk

- Approved the contracts for 15 new district employees

- Approved the substitute list for the 2006-07 year

- Pushed adopting the 2006-07 budget until the Oct. 3 study session

- Held its first meeting in Centennial Hall with positive response. Board member Pat Gleason thanked the City of Steamboat Springs for opening the hall, and the taxpayers for the facility, which added another user Monday. Monthly meetings will be held at Centennial Hall, but study sessions will remain at the George P. Sauer Human Services Center.

— Denise Connelly was unanimously elected Steamboat Springs School Board president during Monday’s monthly meeting.

As the board’s representative on the Education Fund Board and the mother of an eighth grader and twin fourth graders, Connelly said she “was happy” to accept the nomination.

She did admit there likely would be people in the community surprised to hear a former teacher is the new board president.



“I finally realized I don’t see (the school board) as the ‘other side,'” Connelly said. “I see this as a different job in the same organization. : Teachers aren’t real political. That’s why they are teachers, but I’ve seen the usefulness of politics.”

Hopefully, Connelly said, people see her nomination and unanimous selection as a sign that the board wants to work with the school district.



Connelly replaces Tom Miller-Freutel, the former president who resigned Aug. 28 for personal reasons. Miller-Freutel’s seat remains vacant, and board member Pat Gleason proposed the board wait until a new board member was appointed before electing a president.

“However, if I’m a minority of one, I understand, and I’m willing to proceed,” Gleason said.

Board member John DeVincentis said now was the time for action. DeVincentis didn’t believe the vote’s outcome would change between Monday and next month because he didn’t envision a newcomer stepping in to be president.

Jeff Troeger agreed. As vice president, Troeger was considered an obvious choice, but he said he did not have time to be president. Troeger is a professor at Colorado Mountain College.

Filling the position Monday was important with the November elections approaching, Troeger said. The district has two items on this year’s ballot: a mill levy override to increase revenue to attract and retain quality teachers and a nearly $30 million bond issue to build a new Soda Creek Elementary School and renovate Strawberry Park Elementary School.

“I think we really do need a point person who has the time to shepherd this through,” Troeger said. “I don’t have the time. If I continue on with this, in this position, I think it will hurt our chances of getting these passed. I prefer we elect someone besides me, who has the time to increase our chances of making this election successful.”

DeVincentis nominated Connelly. Gleason seconded the nomination. Connelly accepted, and there was no discussion.

“She has a lot of energy and has been very involved in a lot of things,” DeVincentis said.


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