The Denver Post sent questionnaires to all candidates in contested races. Answers to the district connections and employment questions were condensed, while candidates’ responses about why they are running are printed in full. Some answers had grammatical touch-ups for ease of reading.
Election Day is Nov. 5, though voters will begin receiving their ballots by mail this week.
Douglas County School District
DCSD has three seats up for grabs, with two candidates running for each. Wendy Vogel, who represents District A, decided not to run again this year. Anne-Marie LeMieux, who represents District C, also won’t be running for re-election.
Andy Jones, District A
Connections to the district: Two children graduated from DCSD and one still attends. Vice chair of the district accountability committee, classroom volunteer and former board member for Platt River Academy.
Occupation: Airline pilot and flight instructor
Why he’s running: After being a parent and volunteer in the school district for two decades, I’m running to strengthen the two most important educational relationships: the ones between the student and teacher, and the parents and the school. We need the best teachers and staff to fulfill that vision with the highest levels of support and compensation. We also want the parents to feel like the school honors their choices, values and expectations. While at school, student safety must be a priority. With 30 years of military service and 23 years in the airlines, I offer the knowledge and strategic planning abilities that can help the district develop effective safety profiles for every school in the county and support student mental health.
Susan Meek, District A
Connections to the district: Parent of DCSD students, former president of the Eldorado Elementary PTO, chair of the school accountability committees at Northridge Elementary School and Thunder Ridge High School. Worked in the district from 2005 to 2011.
Occupation: Director of strategic engagement and communications for the Colorado Association of School Boards
Why she’s running: I am running for Douglas County School Board to ensure all our schools are safe and welcoming, and that they have stable teaching and learning environments. After nearly a decade of instability, this election is about keeping the positive momentum going. Student achievement, teacher retention, and community trust are all trending up. We have made clear progress over the past two years and we must maintain it if we are to do what is best and right for our students. As a parent leader for 12 years, a former school district employee for six years, and a collaborative state leader for nearly six years, I have a track record in creating programs and unifying people. I have the skills to build partnerships and engage the public in order to strengthen our community and serve the 68,000 students in Douglas County School District.
Elizabeth Hanson, District C
Connections to the district: Parent of DCSD students and classroom volunteer
Occupation: Employment attorney
Why she’s running: I promised my three children I would work to prevent school violence and make sure they feel safe at school. By seeking a director position, I am not only keeping my promise to my family, I am extending it to our entire community. This is an election with significant issues at stake regarding safety, academic achievement and employee retention. I have the right background and experience to contribute to our district in meaningful ways. Throughout my career in human resources and employment law, I have focused on building strong organizations by valuing the people within. Only when our employees have an exceptional work environment and culture can we ultimately provide our students with what they deserve — a safe and supportive learning environment with unlimited opportunities for success.
Franceen Thompson, District C
Connections to the district: Former chair of the district accountability committee, vice chair of the district fiscal oversight committee, classroom volunteer and member of several school accountability committees. Two children graduated from STEM School Highlands Ranch.
Occupation: Financial specialist for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Why she’s running: I felt compelled to seek this office after my daughter’s friend, Kendrick Castillo, was murdered at STEM School Highlands Ranch. I want to do everything I can to make sure what happened at STEM never happens here again, and that our children receive a solid education that prepares them for life.
Kory Nelson, District F
Connections to the district: Daughter attends Legend High School and wife works for DCSD. Member of Legend’s school accountability committee and Douglas County Board of County Commissioners’ physical school security advisory committee to advise on spending $10 million for school safety. Co-founder of Keep Our Douglas County Schools Safe committee.
Occupation: Attorney for city and county of Denver
Why he’s running: The two most important people in my life, my wife and daughter, work and live in these school buildings. My school safety expertise and my pre-existing relationships with law enforcement agencies and government leaders will allow me to effectively implement school safety as priority No. 1 for our district — as the current board has failed to do. The Douglas County commissioners appointed me to the Physical School Security Committee, so I know the extensive gaps that need to be fixed, and the voters can secure this expertise to keep our schools safe. My 30-year career as a prosecutor will allow me to work with local law enforcement agencies to implement a fully staffed and robust School Resource Officer Program and other aspects of my detailed safety plan I have posted on my website, including developing an enhanced unarmed safety volunteer program. My skills from my 30-year legal career allows me to listen to the district’s staff and parents and render objective decisions. There are three primary issues of importance to me: 1. School safety — Fix security gaps and increase number of (school resource officers). 2. Improve relations with faculty and staff — Teachers received an average of only 2.67% pay raise after board implemented Proposition 5A. 3. Respect parents — Stop ejecting parents, like Aaron Johnson, from meetings in violation of First Amendment; stop harassing charter parents like STEM and Ascent.
David Ray, District F
Connections: Board member for four years and president for two. Elementary school principal for 23 years and outdoor education director for two. Member of student advisory group, special education advisory council, safety and security committee and diversity committee. Two children graduated from DCSD.Occupation: Retired principal and licensed counselor
Why he’s running: Our district is in the midst of recovering from tumultuous times. The positive momentum that has occurred in the past four years has been incredibly significant: trust with our community is being restored, staff retention rates have increased, student performance is on the upswing, and much-needed funding was recently approved by our voters for the first time in 12 years. Douglas County is on its way to becoming the lighthouse district it once was when the focus remained on providing the best educational experience possible for all our students. I am running for re-election to ensure that the positive momentum continues for the benefit of our 68,000 students.
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