Eight candidates vie for four Moffat County school board seats; two run unopposed | CraigDailyPress.com

Eight candidates vie for four Moffat County school board seats; two run unopposed

Moffat County School District Board of Education






Lauren Blair

— The deadline was Friday for prospective Moffat County School District Board of Education candidates to submit their materials, with a total of eight candidates putting in their bids for four open seats.

The Craig Daily Press has compiled these brief introductions of those who will run in this November's election.

Four candidates are competing for the seat in District 1, which is currently represented by JB Chapman.

Neil Folks is a regular attendee of board, commissioner and council meetings of all stripes, and first came to the area as a project superintendent for the Utah Division of Wildlife in Browns Park in 1968.

Folks is currently the president of the Moffat County Fuller Center for Housing, and has worked as a spiritual grief counselor and chaplain for the Moffat County Jail as well as for the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association hospice program. A member of the Craig Rotary Club, he also mentors students in reading at Ridgeview Elementary School.

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"I've got three grandchildren still in the school system," Folks said. "I think we need to get more of our seniors and elders into the system and help schools get back on track."

JNL Linsacum has lived in the Yampa Valley for 30 years. A longtime Craig resident, she has been finance director for the Hayden School District for 18 years after working for 11 years as the bookkeeper and administrative assistant.

Linsacum has volunteered for seven years as an advocate for domestic violence victims through Advocates Crisis Support Services. Her three boys attended school in MCSD and her husband taught in the district for 18 years. Notably, her son, Travis Linsacum, is also running for school board.

"I've always had a desire to help to do something in the community, to volunteer," she said. "I feel like my kids are all out of school and… I have time now to take on that role.”

Amy Shaffer works as a hunting consultant for clients around the world and runs her own business, ProHunt Concierge.

She has lived in Moffat County for six years, helping out with her kids' sports teams and local fundraising events.

"I know there's a lot of concerns that go on in the school district," Shaffer said. "I just like being involved in my community and in kids' lives and having some positive influence where possible."

Darryl Steele is a second-generation cattle rancher in Maybell and has served on a variety of boards, most notably, as Moffat County Commissioner from 2000 to 2004.

"When I was elected county commissioner, Moffat County was in pretty bad financial straits," Steele said. "We had to go in and make budget cuts and try and do that without affecting the services that the people had come to expect, and we did that successfully."

Steele also sat on The Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees for 12 years, the Maybell Irrigation District Board for 18 years and is currently chairman of the Juniper Conservancy District Board. Steele's children and grandchildren are alumnae and students of Moffat County School District, with great grandchildren set to attend Maybell School in a few years.

Two candidates will compete for the seat in District 3, currently represented by Tony St. John.

Travis Linsacum, Craig native and Moffat County School District parent, works as a utility technician at Trapper Mine.

A Moffat County High School graduate, he has volunteered with youth wrestling and has a preschooler coming up through the school district.

"I've got stakes in the game and I want to be involved," Linsacum said. "I think it's an opportunity to give back to the community that I grew up in and the school district that I came up in. I want what's best for all the kids."

JoBeth Tupa has a third-grader and a fifth-grader at Sunset Elementary School, where she has volunteered in many different capacities for six years, including in the classroom helping teachers.

She is currently president of Sunset's Parent Accountability Committee, and also runs an outreach program for the elderly through Sunset Meadows I and II as well as Sandrock Ridge Care & Rehabilitation.

"I have been very interested and tried to be involved and learn the inner workings of our school system and school district for the last two years," Tupa said. "I'm very passionate about students in Moffat County and our community… I'm excited to try to be helpful."

Candidates for districts 5 and 7, currently represented by Joel Browning and KC Hume, will run unopposed.

Jo Ann Baxter retired from MCSD in 2003 after teaching high school social studies for 29 years. With a PhD in educational leadership, she also served on the school board for two terms from 2003 to 2011, during which time she was part of the Colorado Association of School Boards legislative resolutions committee for six years.

Baxter still serves as CASB's representative on the State Council for Educator Effectiveness as well as sits on the Colorado Northwestern Community College Foundation board. She served on the Moffat County Education Association board during her teaching years.

"The main reason that I'm running is that I have the time, I have the experience, I have some expertise and I enjoy doing the work," Baxter said.

Charity Neal is currently Director of Public Health for the VNA, prior to which she worked as an Emergency Department nurse at TMH for 14 years.

Neal sat on MCSD's District Accountability Committee this past year, and is secretary and co-chair of the legislative committee for the Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officers. She is also president of Craig Youth Hockey Association and has a second-, fourth- and seventh-grader in Moffat County schools.

"We have to watch the budget, we have to watch teacher satisfaction but all those other things should really come down the line after we decide what's best for kids," Neal said.

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.

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