Steamboat welcomes new school board members

Kevin Callahan raises his right hand while being sworn in as a member of the Steamboat Springs Board of Education on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023.
Steamboat Springs School District/Courtesy photo

The Steamboat Springs Board of Education swore in three school board members on Thursday including two who are new to the board.

Kevin Callahan, Leah Helme and Lara Craig were appointed to the Steamboat Springs Board of Education, as they were the only three candidates to file to run for three open seats and the school board canceled November’s election in September due to a lack of competition.

Callahan and Helme are both new to the school board. They are replacing Alissa Merage and Matthew Rice, who stepped down after their terms ended. At the same time, Craig is beginning her second term on the board. All three will serve four-year terms.

“We are excited to have Kevin and Leah join our board of education and to have Lara returning for another term,” Superintendent Celine Wicks said in a news release. “I am confident they will all help our schools and students thrive.”

According to the news release, Callahan is originally from rural northeastern Pennsylvania. He attended Penn State, where he studied electrical engineering technology. He moved to Colorado in 2012 and to Steamboat Springs in 2016.

Callahan also founded Keystone Utility Systems, a construction company that specializes in remote reading and automated reading for utility companies, 13 years ago. In Steamboat, he teaches music and performs locally. His hobbies include fly-fishing, backpacking, hiking and anything that gets him outside with his family. 

“I am looking forward to gaining a sense of connectedness to the growth and future of our community,” Callahan said. “I want an opportunity to help and truly be involved in the betterment of our valley and help invest in our future by investing my time in our public school system. As the father of two young children in this community, I will see the full breadth and depth of any effort I put into my tenure on the board. I am honored to be able to do my best for my children and yours.” 

Leah Helme is congraduated after she was sworn in as a member of the Steamboat Springs Board of Education on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023.
Steamboat Springs School District/Courtesy photo

Participating in her high school’s teacher cadet program, Helme was placed in an integrated preschool focused on deaf education, and that helped spark her interest in education. She went on to study early childhood special education and environmental sciences at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Helme moved to Steamboat Springs to manage the Chief Theater, and she worked in various roles for Horizons Specialized Services after the theater closed.

Helme enjoys having the opportunity to continue her passion for advocating for individuals with disabilities and disability services, while having flexibility in her schedule to serve her community. 

“I am looking forward to learning more about the school system, its processes and how it works, while incorporating my passion for advocacy and ensuring all students are served academically, emotionally, and feel empowered to make decisions about their future,” Helme said. 

Helme and Callahan will attend their first Steamboat Springs Board of Education meeting on Dec. 4.

Lara Craig, a returning member of the Steamboat Springs Board of Education, is sworn in on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023.
Steamboat Springs School District/Courtesy photo

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