Q&A with Garfield Re-2 candidates

The 2023 Garfield Re-2 School Board election is slated for Tuesday.

Current incumbents include District C’s Christina Maness and District B’s Jason Shoup. Dawn Evridge formally represented District D but resigned in September.

Shoup, Maness and Evridge’s seats are up for re-election to four-year terms, but the current incumbents are not running this year.

District D challengers are New Castle residents Daniel Adams and Chance W. Jenkins, as well as Silt resident Nicholas R. Cocina. District B challengers are Silt resident Kaylin Harju and Rifle resident Cassie Haskell. Rifle resident Fathom Jenson is running unopposed for District C.

Each candidate answered a simple questionnaire sent out by the Post Independent this past week. The questions include:

  1. What made you want to run for the school board?
  2. What’s your background?
  3. What is something that you want the community to know about you?
  4. If elected, what is something that you are most focused on to help improve the district? 
  5. The social studies curriculum is a hot topic for the Garfield Re-2 School District. What is your stance on the type of social studies standards that should be implemented at Garfield Re-2 schools?

Here are the candidates’ responses (Cocina did not respond):


Chance W. Jenkins.
  1. Not one thing in particular made me want to pursue this position. I generally believe that this world is what we make it and I think engaging in our civil processes is key to this. We have to engage one another with honest conversations to find the point where we can all move forward together. 
  2. I was born and raised in Idaho. I graduated high school from North Fremont High School and went on to study at Eastern Idaho Technical College. My mother’s side of the family (Miesner) is native to the Rifle area and I moved here. I worked in architectural iron for two years and then started my own business as a welder in the oil and gas industry. I welded for eight years, became an American Welding Society Certified Welding Inspector (AWS CWI) and moved into operations management with the company I am with. My wife and I operate a cow-calf operation while utilizing forest service grazing permits.
  3. I really enjoy coaching and being involved in youth sports. I have found that through sports it is easier to break down whatever societal barriers may exist and connect with children. 
  4. There are a lot of plans and ideas. I want to work to the point where we can increase student achievement and fulfill the strategic plan. I would love to find some money to enhance compensation for teachers currently employed and to attract more good teachers to fill the currently empty slots.
  5. As of Wednesday, Oct. 25 this is an issue that is settled by a vote of 3-1. In my opinion it is time to look forward and allocate these precious resources differently. Resources need to go wherever they can help prepare Re-2 students for their future. 


Cassie Haskell.
  1. Being a parent of three kids, I want to make sure they receive the best education and I want to be a part of making sure all the children in the Re-2 School District receive a quality education and are ready for college and/or careers. 
  2. I have been a part of this community my whole life. I was born and raised here. I went to kindergarten-12th grade here in the Re-2 school district. I own and operate a local business that provides a service to the community. 
  3. Like I mentioned before, I’m a mother of three children, I’m happily married and I am a local business owner. I am a strong believer that the public school is a place for a quality education. It is not a place for political agendas or personal agendas to be taught. I want the future generations to excel in all they do and this comes from a solid academic foundation. 
  4. If elected, my hope is that we focus on our strategic plan. It’s not something that needs improving but needs to be accomplished. Our strategic plan was put in place this year and I think with us having a plan for academic growth for students, supporting our staff and a growing partnership with the community we will be able to do great things in our district. 
  5. Thankfully, this hot topic has been resolved on Oct. 25 before the new board is in place. As far as my stance on a “type” of social studies, l am a strong believer that all students need to know the facts about U.S. and world history at an age-appropriate level. Ultimately, it comes down to the teacher teaching the class. 


Kaylin Harju.
  1. As a mom of soon to be five (children), I’m running for school board to be an active participant in our children’s education, and to represent our community and be a voice to those that don’t feel heard. 
  2. I was born and raised in Minnesota, married my husband who grew up in the valley and moved down here. I have a bachelor’s degree from St. Cloud State University. I own/run Mesa Microgreens in Silt since 2019.
  3. I’m passionate about listening to our community, and reflecting that in the school board. 
  4. I’m interested in helping the community understand what’s going on in our schools, making sure our school staff is well compensated, and that we have a balanced budget. 
  5. Initially, I would have voted for the 2022 Revised State Standards, as It seemed to be the best fit for our community. However, after listening to the last school board meeting I think the school board made the right decision in adopting the 2022 State Standards. A lot of parents’ concerns that were voiced in the community meetings were addressed. 


Fathom Jensen.
  1. My kids and ensuring that they get the education and experience they deserve. We have an amazing district and our kiddos are a direct representation of that. We need to make sure that our students are ready for what life throws at them after school.
  2. I’ve been a part of the District Accountability Committee (DAC) for the past two years, and I had the privilege of sitting on the Steering Committee for the district’s strategic plan.
  3. I enjoy being a part of this community, I love everything that our community provides. The support our community gives to our youth, our veterans, and our country is amazing. I love the fact that we’re able to raise our kids to be able to hunt, fish, and do activities in the outdoors. 
  4. I really want to focus on getting the trust and respect back between the district and community.  
  5. To me, social studies is important. Our kids need to learn our history, the good, the bad, and the ugly. They need to understand all sides of current events, and they need to know all of our history; if they don’t, we’ll end up repeating it. I felt the 2022 Revised Standards was the best option for our district and would’ve provided that happy medium for both sides of the spectrum.


Daniel Adams.
  1. Having a good education is something that I’ve valued, and it helped me to be successful in life. This was a result of lots of teachers that put in tons of extra effort. Through the Masonic Lodge I have been supporting local scholarships for students looking for community college education. Now that I’ll have a daughter in the school system next year it’s important that I get more directly involved. We are in an environment where we need strong leadership to help place and keep our schools on a positive trajectory.
  2. I’m a fifth generation in the valley and a proud graduate of Rifle High School. After graduation from Colorado School of Mines I was able to travel the world and meet my amazing wife. Ten years ago, we started the process of taking over the family farm. Today I am the co-owner of a technology company and a part-time farmer. Our daughter will be attending Re-2 next year. Professionally, I’ve been a change leader for over 20 years, working with people of diverse backgrounds and initiating positive changes to the workplaces. These skills combined with my experience as a church leader and part of multiple Garfield County boards make me a well-qualified candidate.
  3. My action-oriented leadership style, politically moderate position, and Garfield County Board involvement is something that I will bring to the School Board, which will aid in making good compromises that fit the Re-2 community at large. I will constantly strive to involve the entire Re-2 community in the board decisions. I have enjoyed talking to many of you and hearing your concerns and ideas about the school board and our path forward.
  4. The imbalance of Latino students to Latino representation in staff, leadership positions and community discussions is a big issue and I plan to get processes in place to bridge the language barrier. I’m a strong believer that improving this will have significant gains across the board in our schools. A recent Re-2-hosted workshop highlighted lots of things we can do quickly that will help bridge this gap. Simple things like making sure translation support for non-English speakers is always available is critical.
  5. My hat goes off to all the people that participated in the committee and various aspects of this process — thank you. I am in support of the state standard curriculum as it’s the best fit for Re-2. I think the board can help by providing teachers with tools and guidance on how to act when gender questions come up. Establishing when and how we will lead these conversations is something we need to decide when it is age appropriate. I defer back to the playground test on this so we make sure our kids are having good, informed conversations. I also think including more financial education to our students in the social studies curriculum is a skill that will serve our students throughout their lives — something the committee identified as lacking in the state standard.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.