For the first time in over a decade, the Garfield 16 School District will have a contested election for the five-member board of directors.
The Citizen Telegram sent out questions to all the candidates before the upcoming election.
Residents of Garfield 16 school district should have received their ballots that are due by next Tuesday.
Profession, how long have you lived here, and any relevant family or personal information you would like to share?
Brittany Van Teylingen: I work as the Programs and Finance Director for the Rifle Animal Shelter. I have worked with Rifle Animal Shelter for 6 years. I have three kids, including one that started in kindergarten this year at the Grand Valley Center for Family Learning.
Lynn Shore: I have lived in the district since 1987. From 1987 to 2008 I was responsible for managing all rental property in Battlement Mesa. I also participated in other real estate businesses owned by Battlement Mesa Company. I have had a daughter and four grandchildren attend school here.
Whitney Bryan: In the summer of 1999 my family moved to Battlement Mesa from Carbondale. I attended school in Garfield 16 from then until I graduated from Grand Valley High School in 2008. I am now a Compliance Specialist for Alpine Bank. Two years ago I returned to working after staying at home with my kids for three years. Previous to that I worked for a company primarily in the oil and gas industry.
Angela Knudson: I have lived here since 2008, and lived in battlement mesa since 2009. We have three children, my oldest graduated from grand valley 2018 and my two youngest are in Bea Underwood. I work at Grand River Hospital and have a cosmetologist license and do hair on the side.
Why are you running for the Garfield 16 Schools Board of Education?
Brittany Van Teylingen: As a parent that is newly involved in the Garfield 16, I experienced the start of a school year here. While the majority of the experience was fun, I believe that, as with any endeavor, there may be areas which could be improved. I also want to bring fresh eyes to the board and I think that should include people that are invested in the district and have children in the district.
Lynn Shore: To continue the programs we have instituted over the last six years that I have been on the Board.
Whitney Bryan: Very simply, I want to be involved in my children’s education anyway that I can. While at the same time attempting to make improvements for all students by listening to parents and teachers concerns and needs. I feel that the district needs to improve communication and transparency. As well as, improve the accountability of our educators and staff.
Angela Knudson: I love our little community and love our school district. Having our oldest gone through the schools here. There are some things I think we can improve on and not only help our kids but make our school become the best in Garfield.
What qualifications do you bring to the table, and how do you believe that will benefit the organization?
Brittany Van Teylingen: I previously sat on the town council for the Town of Parachute and believe that will help me to understand the inner workings of the board. Working on budgets for both Rifle Animal Shelter and the Town of Parachute will benefit the district in my advanced knowledge of the creation and execution of budgets. Working for a non-profit helps me to understand the needs of the district and the obstacles that they face.
Lynn Shore: Many years of experience managing multi-million dollar budgets in both private and governmental organizations. Experience in serving on special district boards. 50 years experience managing employees and contractors. I have seen most everything that comes with managing a large organization and know how to handle the many situations. Doesn’t mean I know everything.
Whitney Bryan: I am a mother of two. My daughter attends school in the district and, my son will be starting school next year. I believe having parents of students in the district is an important qualification for a board member. Working for a bank I feel that will help me to better understand the district’s financial outlook. Also my position in the bank is overseeing compliance with government regulations and policies.
Angela Knudson: The qualifications I have is having three kiddos in all grades and being an involved parent.
What proposals do you have to best meet the needs of the district’s diverse student population?
Brittany Van Teylingen: I think the district has some amazing programs that should continue, and the district’s idea of whole child education is important. Children cannot learn if they are hungry or don’t feel loved or safe. I’m excited to see the competency-based learning program rolled out in the district so that parents, teachers and all schools are speaking the same language. I think the district will be a leader in this program in the future.
Lynn Shore: The District already has in place policies, practices and cultures to meet the needs of all of our students. We do have a diverse student body and each is treated as valued member of the community.
Whitney Bryan: I would like to see more encouragement of parent involvement from our diverse population. A translator is provided at the PAC meetings, which is a great start. Right now I don’t know that parents feel encouraged or welcomed to share their thoughts with the district. There is very little community attendance. I would like to see that changed by making the information of when and where meetings are more accessible.
Angela Knudson: My proposals would be to go back to 5 days a week and or get the same days off as the rest of the district schools since most of the parents work in Rifle or Glenwood. Especially spring break.
What one thing do you believe the Garfield 16 Schools should be doing better for students, and why?
Brittany Van Teylingen: Communicating, parents and community needs to be actively involved in the education of our children.
Lynn Shore: Accomplishing higher academic achievement for obvious reasons.
Whitney Bryan: Since pursuing a board seat I have been able to better understand the direction the district is going with our children’s education. We are working to move away from the “no child left behind” teaching style and more towards a personalized and well-rounded learning experience. Preparing our children for life as a whole. This change takes several years to implement and we are just at the beginning. I would like to help facilitate this process.
Angela Knudson: We should be encouraging our children more and not playing favoritism. We should be also working on the bullying. I do not believe we have a good handle on this.
Are there any changes you propose be considered for the school district, and why?
Brittany Van Teylingen: I want to see all the schools speaking the same language to help communication between teachers, students and the community. I would like to see an increase in the districts social media presence to help communicate with the community the way they all communicate.
Lynn Shore: I am not proposing any major changes. We are constantly evaluating our results and finding ways to be better.
Whitney Bryan: In order to better protect our children in the event of the unthinkable I would pursue having all staff participate in personal safety training courses. With that I think it would be beneficial for all staff and athlete parents to participate in a concussion recognition course, not just the coaches. I would like to explore better avenues of communication between the district and parents/community. I see this as a weakness we have in the district.
Angela Knudson: What I named in 4.
What solutions do you propose to increase teacher pay?
Brittany Van Teylingen: The obvious answer is another mill levy, but no one wants to see yet another tax increase just for the sake of another tax increase. If the community actually knew about all of the good that the school district and staff do everyday for the children of the community they may feel differently.
Lynn Shore: It is essential to have a competitive compensation package for all of our employees. The most practical way to assure teachers are paid competitively is to minimize cost for administration, maintenance, food service and transportation.
Whitney Bryan: From what I have learned, our teacher pay is competitive with similar districts. Our district also offers a paid program for teachers to pursue their master’s degree as long as they commit to the district for 5 years. This draws good teachers that have a desire to continue their education and stay. Not just become stagnant. I would however like to see child care options for our educators. Most are parents as well.
Angela Knudson: NA