Diverse group of school board candidates running in Steamboat’s first at-large election
Steamboat Springs — An engineer, a retired community college professor, a library manager, a water delivery company operator and a pharmacist are among the five candidates vying for three open four-year seats on the Steamboat Springs School Board.
This year marks the first time that all school board seats are at-large, meaning voters will cast their votes for up to three candidates they support, and the three candidates with the highest number of votes will be elected to the board.
Incumbent Joseph “Joey” Andrew was elected to the school board in 2011 and is the only board member up for re-election who is able and choosing to run this year. Andrew, who is the operations manager for Steamboat’s Raindrop Water delivery company, said he will establish continuity on the board if re-elected, and he is looking forward to continuing the work the board has engaged in over the last four years.
Andrew said he believes that while the district is high performing, there are still improvements that can be made.
“We are one of the highest-rated school districts in the state of Colorado, but the state of Colorado is 26th out of 50 when it comes to education. We have a long way to go,” said Andrew, a fifth-generation Steamboat Springs resident.
Michelle Dover, circulation services manager at Bud Werner Memorial Library, said she is passionate about community collaboration and community involvement.
The youngest of Dover’s five children is a second-grader at Soda Creek Elementary, while her four older children are Steamboat Springs High School graduates, she said.
A 10-year employee of the library, Dover said she’s successfully started multiple inclusive book clubs.
“I’ve very, very focused on community and bringing people together,” Dover said.
Dover said she’s particularly interested in the school district’s efforts to expand early childhood programs and is anxious to be a part the board following the bond election, regardless of which way the bond vote lands.
A retired community college professor from Texas, Margaret “Margie” Huron has been a part-time resident of Steamboat since the 1980s and a full-time resident since 2008.
She was initially disappointed to see so few people running for the school board and said she was interested in devoting some time to the board in an effort to keep Steamboat’s schools strong.
“I think Steamboat has excellent schools and I want to keep them that way,” Huron said.
Anne Lowe has lived in Steamboat Springs since 2007 and is currently a pharmacist at Yampa Valley Medical Center and Lyon’s Corner Drug.
Lowe has three grown children and two grandchildren and said that during numerous moves around Utah, Massachusetts, Ohio and Colorado, she has always paid close attention to the quality of education available for her family.
“I just know from moving around to different parts of the country, that was always the biggest concern,” Lowe said. “Education has just been so important to me throughout my life.”
Lowe said her reasons for running for the school board include setting of high national student achievement, promoting transparency between the district and public, empowering teachers in hopes of attracting more quality educators and ensuring responsible financial stewardship.
Medical and software engineer Lindsay Wert was raised in Colorado and has lived in Routt County for the past 13 years.
Wert, whose son graduated from the Steamboat Springs School District in 2007, has emphasized that public education needs to come at a reasonable cost to the community.
“The focus needs to be on student learning at a reasonable cost, for there is no other reason for schools to exist,” Wert said.
A two-year seat on the board is also open, and though voters will see two names — Sameta Rush and Kristen Feiges — on the ballot, Feiges has announced she has dropped from the race.
Sameta “Sam” Rush is the assistant dean of instruction at Colorado Mountain College and a former district teacher who taught primarily at Strawberry Park Elementary from 1999 to 2009.
“I’ve been in education for a long time,” Rush said. “I’ve always wanted to be a bit more involved in the civics of our community.”
Rush said she is running for the two-year seat to give the board a try and assess the time commitment.
Ballots for the election will be mailed out the week of Oct. 12.
To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow
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