Neighbors run for RFSD board | PostIndependent.com
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Neighbors run for RFSD board

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. The two applicants for the vacant seat on the Roaring Fork School District Re-1 Board of Education live just up the street from one another in the Canyon Creek area.They know each other as neighbors, but said they didn’t realize both were running for the seat.The vacant seat was created when former board member Susan Hakanson announced her resignation last month. She said she’s moving to accept a job as executive director of the Ah Haa School for the Arts in Telluride. To decide who to appoint to the seat, the RFSD said it will interview the two candidates at its Jan. 10 public meeting.Sonja Linman said she moved to the area from Wisconsin about 18 years ago and helped form Yampah Mountain High School. She’s taught there ever since. She teaches a variety of subjects at the school.”I’ve been really involved in education in the valley for 18 years,” she said. “It’s a unique opportunity to support the district. I’m excited to come to the table with the voice of a teacher and a parent.”The biggest strength of the RFSD is that it is filled with incredible professionals and really involved parents, Linman said. The size of the district and figuring out how to meet students’ needs creates the biggest challenge, she added.”I’m really in a position to learn,” she said when asked what the top priority for the district should be. “I’m not a political animal,” she said. “I’m an advocate for kids.”

Linman said she wants to listen to everyone involved in education and make sure that the voices of teachers and parents are heard.She said the value of standardized testing is a complex question. Care must be exercised when evaluating results because they provide one snapshot of one day, she said.Stan Orr moved to Glenwood Springs from Oklahoma in 2000. He said he taught fifth-grade math and science for about seven years prior to that. He started association work while he was still teaching and eventually left teaching to form his own company, Nonprofit Resources.”I’ve got a good business background,” Orr said. “I’ve worked with multi-million dollar budgets for about 22 years.”Orr said Nonprofit Resources is an association management company. It provides management services for educationally-focused nonprofit organizations, such as internal and external communications, publications, Web sites, scheduling of meetings and conferences.Orr said he’s volunteered in the district for about six years.He believes the biggest strength of the RFSD is the people. Students who are learning English are probably the district’s biggest challenge, Orr said.

“The teachers … the administration … everybody here seems to care about the students,” Orr said. “And I think I can help build on that.”He also said maintaining open communication between the public, parents, teachers, administration and everyone involved is important.Standardized testing has “some merit behind it because it does set some minimum standards of learning,” Orr said. “On the other hand, if you’re just teaching to the test, then it’s a narrow field of learning.” He said standardized testing should not be allowed to take away from the breadth and depth of learning.The candidate who gets appointed must run for re-election during the next election in November. Both Orr and Linman plan to run for re-election if appointed.

Age: 41Hometown: Madison, Wisc.Children in the school district: fifth-grader at Glenwood Springs Elementary SchoolOccupation: teacher at Yampah Mountain High School

Age: 52Hometown: Tulsa, Okla.Children in the school district: sixth-grader at Glenwood Springs Middle SchoolOccupation: owner and principle partner of Nonprofit ResourcesContact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. 16611pfowler@postindependent.com


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