Fresh new faces vied for voter approval on Wednesday night in the hopes of becoming members of the Board of Education for the Moffat County School District.
Voters will cast ballots Nov. 4 for candidates in districts 1,3,5 and 7. This year's only contested race is in District 1 between candidates Trish Snyder and Leroy North.
Wednesday night's forum, sponsored by the Moffat County Education Association (MCEA), displayed a lively group of candidates who touted extensive education backgrounds and community involvement.
Candidate Leroy North was unable to attend the event.
MCEA asked candidates in a prepared statement to address questions ranging from personal information to school issues that they view as most important.
If elected, Snyder said she wanted to embrace a diversity of opinions and "have the opportunity to move forward with the board rather than remaining stagnant."
She stressed a desire to see student learn not only the essentials of education, such as reading and writing, but to make sure they received a well-rounded education, learning about subjects, such as nutrition, conflict management and social skills.
"If you see fit to elect me, I'll work diligently to achieve that goal," she said.
Incumbent Steve Hafey is running as the lone candidate in
He reiterated his commitment to serving the school board as a former schoolteacher and pointed out his active role in school functions.
Though Hafey praised the district for its quality schools, he cited concerns over its high dropout rate.
"I know we have problems in Craig that too many kids dropout," he said. "If I were talking about what we have in Moffat County, I would say we have a high quality of education. That's not to say we have no need for improvement."
"We've got to stay ahead of those kids who lag behind," he continued.
Unopposed candidate JoAnn Baxter of District 5 said she would bring much expertise to the board. She cited future school funding issues as one of her main concerns.
"We need to be watchful of our expenditures," she said.
Baxter cited a goal to balance the national "No Child Left Behind" initiative against community goals.
"We have a tricky challenge with how we're going to balance that," she said.
Andrea Camp, the sole District 7candidate, said she'd learned much about the education process with children growing up in district schools. Camp's proactive involvement in Parent Association Committee (PAC) at East Elementary School was an introduction into the future role she looked forward to doing.
"I feel like being a board member is the right direction for me," she said. "I'm really looking forward to it."
Camp said she wanted to keep up with issues surrounding the district's growing English Language Learner population, improve school maintenance and work with the district to improve its financial status.
Though this year's race has three unopposed seats, MCEA President Brett Sperl appreciated the candidates' insightful comments and the potential to bring on a solid group of new board members.
"The excitement for us is bringing out quality candidates," he said. "After talking with these folks, I have the utmost confidence we've done that."
Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.