Kelly Bates, CCS board vice president, Eric Parish, treasurer, Scott Siegfried, superintendent, Karen Fisher, president and Janice McDonald, board secretary met at Cherry Hills Village Elementary School. Photo by Freda Miklin
BY FREDA MIKLIN
At its regular meeting held at Cherry Hills Village Elementary School May 13, the Cherry Creek School District Board of Education (CCS) officially accepted the resignation of Dave Willman, its former president. Karen Fisher was unanimously elected to be his successor. Kelly Bates was chosen to serve as board vice president, Fisher’s former position.
Willman stepped down after using a word with a racist connotation at a teachers’ award banquet two weeks ago. Superintendent Scott Siegfried said, “Racism is real in our society and surrounds us.” He talked about the district’s commitment to do everything possible to ensure the success of each and every one of its students “of every background.”
Board member Janice McDonald said, “As the only person of color on this board, I am compelled to speak…We must first model our mission, ‘To inspire every student to think, to learn, to achieve, to care,’ before we can expect students to do it. I will not shy away from this issue.”
Fisher assured the community the board had “a renewed sense of purpose….to provide every student what they need.”
Next Siegfried explained the process to address the newly vacant board position. The board position does not have to be filled. Applications from interested eligible candidates will be accepted through May 28. If the board does not appoint someone within 60 days, Fisher as president will have the authority to fill the position by appointment up to the November 2019 election. Anyone who is appointed will have to stand for election in November. Information and application forms are on the district’s website in the announcements section.
Chris Rosado Jr. and Julia Ramos, students at Endeavor Academy, talked about their school. Photo by Freda Miklin
Former Centennial City Council Member C J Whelan, who was in attendance, announced that he was a candidate for the open board position.
During the meeting, six individual parents of students at Fox Hollow Elementary School spoke publicly to the board to express concerns about their current principal. One parent described her daughter being bullied by a teacher and suffering such severe anxiety that she felt compelled to withdraw the student and was how home-schooling her. Another parent complained about high teacher turnover due to the principal’s policies. After the meeting, Fisher said that the board was not surprised by anything it heard that evening about Fox Hollow. Superintendent Siegfried said, “We are actively engaged with the parents at the school.”
The board also received a pair of presentations from students during the meeting.
Smoky Hill High School Seniors Alicia Bryant, Emily Horton and junior Tyson Brown presented a detailed and professional proposal encouraging the board to require all district high school seniors to complete a personal finance class. That way, the students said, that when they leave high school they’ll be prepared to handle apartment leases, contracts, banking, credit cards, and the other basic financial documents of adult life.
Students from Cherry Creek High School (CCHS) and Endeavor Academy, an alternative program for students in the district, also made presentations to the board about their schools. The Endeavor students, senior Julia Ramos and junior Christopher Rosado Jr., focused on the importance of the positive relationships they had made with teachers and students that allowed them to be successful after struggling with personal challenges at their home schools. The CCHS students shared with board members that this year’s graduating class had produced a U.S. presidential scholar, three Boettcher scholarship winners, and 6 military academy appointments to places including the Air Force Academy, the Naval Academy and West Point.
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