Q. & A. with Tammie Delaney, Hayden School Board, at-large candidate
Hayden — Hayden School District, At-large
Tammie Bowes Delaney
Occupation: Small business owner — Wild Goose Coffee and the Hayden Granary
Hometown: Steamboat Springs
Years in Hayden/Routt County: 21 years in Hayden; lifetime in Routt County with exception of school and career traveling
Family: Husband, Patrick Delaney; son, 20, and daughter, 18.
Civic involvement: Currently on Colorado Agritourism Association board of directors. Past community boards and involvement within Hayden and the region include the Hayden Economic Development Council, Hayden Chamber, Northwest Colorado Cultural Heritage Tourism Program, Colorado State Extension Advisory Board, Routt County Extension advisory board, Yampa Valley Pony Club, Routt County 4-H, Community Agriculture Alliance and Historic Routt County. Project coordinator for Routt County’s Vision 2030 Plan and for the Hayden Community Master Plan.
Q. Do you think the school board should extend the calendar to offer additional classroom days?
A. Hayden has a long history of starting the school year after Labor Day weekend and ending prior to Memorial Day weekend. As a parent of elementary school students and one who loved spending summer time with my kids, I loved our long summer vacation. This perspective changed dramatically as my kids advanced and in high school were taking Advanced Placement and college-level curriculum with only receiving the very minimum contact requirement hours for students. It is remarkable how well our academically inclined students do on AP and honors courses considering how limited their classroom contact hours are. This puts them at a distinct disadvantage when competing on a state and national level for merit scholarships, college placement, advanced placement ratings and national and state ratings. Hayden’s demographic has changed dramatically from a primarily agricultural community (which was the initial basis for the calendar) to a very diverse workplace. It is time for a serious look at revising our school calendar to enable our strong academic program to be one of excellence.
Q. Do you think the current school board has done an adequate job planning for the future?
A. Our school board has been faced with several transitions in superintendent leadership including having a retired superintendent that returned to serve in a part-time role. This has been a struggle to place a priority on envisioning the best desired outcomes for our district and determining the strategies and implementation plans to achieve collective success. This past spring three excellent superintendent candidates emerged for the leadership position and an outstanding superintendent was hired to continue to bring Hayden Schools on their path to excellence. I believe our current school board (along with the pool of candidates) has the tenacity, energy and talent to collectively work with staff, administration and our community to form a solid “compass point” for the future of Hayden School District and to diligently set the plans in place to accomplish some great achievements.
Q. What are the biggest challenges you feel the school district faces?
A. Unfortunately, the Hayden Schools have some severe challenges with facilities — from high utility and maintenance costs to major repairs due to our outdated structures. Financial challenges continue to increase and in particular with policy restrictions that will continue to impact both K-12 education along with higher education for the state of Colorado. Teacher retention and ensuring teachers and staff are competitively compensated and supported is critical. Ideally, with strong strategic planning and putting the infrastructure in place to prioritize and develop long-term solutions, Hayden will thrive.
Q. Would you be in favor of consolidating school districts with Steamboat and South Routt?
A. This has been discussed at several regional Colorado Blueprint meetings and is something that should be considered yet would require careful deliberation of both the advantages and disadvantages. It has been something that other districts have done successfully yet without understanding the potential unintended consequences; the financial aspects, staffing impacts and ensuring that Hayden can continue to see improvement, it is difficult to give a response at this time.
Q. In what academic or programatic area do you think the school district should focus more resources?
A. Teacher retention is critical. We have a pattern of training outstanding teachers — providing competitive pay scales and ensuring they are receiving the support and resources needed is definitely a priority. Sadly, we typically train new teachers in Hayden to then see them move on to better paid positions with more resources in Steamboat Springs and other places. Most educators that we’ve known in our district put in a tremendous amount of effort above and beyond to ensure they are bringing the best to their students and they continue to be Hayden’s greatest asset. It continues to be a strong challenge for families with preschool and young elementary school children that commute to Steamboat Springs and Craig while their kids are in Hayden. Early learning preschool combined with daycare support is critical for ensuring students are prepared for entering into kindergarten and their school years. Hayden is a school district that kids typically “get out what they put in” for their education. There is tremendous opportunity for college prep and for vo-tech training. I believe that parent involvement is critical along with community support and involvement to the success of our schools.
Excellence in schools is a continual goal for which Hayden strives. As a parent of two recent graduates that had both academic and vocational interests, I am grateful that they were able to be students in our district as their education is already proving competitive in college and trades. As a Hayden business owner, I am fully aware that successful schools are a catalyst to great communities and drawing positive growth to our town. I would like to be a part of the process that brings Hayden School District to the highest levels of achievement and success, which with strategic planning and strong implementation, is well within reach. The strength and particular interest that I have in serving the Hayden School District as a board member is my collaboration skills and enabling the best outcomes to bring a very good school to greatness. I look forward to the opportunity.
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