New Moffat County School Board members brought up to speed
For the first time in more than two years, the Moffat County School District Board of Education has a full slate of directors.
Newly appointed, at-large board members JnL Linsacum and Cindy Looper cast their first votes at the Feb. 21 board meeting, including a vote tasking Superintendent David Ulrich to enter negotiations for the proposed transfer of the Yampa Building to the county under Memorial Regional Health management.
“I knew there were going to be tough decisions. Our schools have always had budgetary constraints, and that might lead to controversial decisions,” Looper said. “Basically, there is no other governmental agency has come to us with a use for the building. As a board of education, all we can do is take it off our books. What actually goes into the building is not our decision to make.”
Both Looper and Linsacum raised children who attended Moffat County schools.
Staying looped in
Looper has made volunteering for the school district a way of life following a family legacy in education.
“My mom was a teacher, so I’ve always helped with things like grading papers and setting up bulletin boards. Her dad’s side of the family were principals, and her granddad worked in Germany to “de-Nazify” the curriculum.
The Looper family moved to Craig in 2004. Cindy and her husband, Randy Looper have been married for 36 years (Cindy calls him “my first husband”) and will celebrate 15 years of owning the Elk Run Inn this July.
Randy and Cindy met at Iowa State University, where she obtained a bachelor of science degree in institutional management with an emphasis in hotel management. Randy also graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in finance. They met while living on the same floor in the residence hall.
Before buying their Craig motel, the Loopers owned and operated a motel in Clear Lake, Iowa, for 11 years.
After looking at properties “everywhere from Vermont to Idaho … we liked the Colorado climate and picked here for the climate and because we thought that the business had potential,” Cindy said.
So they invested their income from the sale of the Iowa property into Craig. They also invest themselves.
“My husband and I both believe in giving back to the community,” Cindy said.
She is a Moffat County Tourism Association board member and, until recently, helped run a Boy Scout troop. Serving on the school board is her latest way to give back to Moffat County.
“My kids have been to every school except East and Maybell,” she said.
Daughter Kellie graduated in 2011, and son Jeremy graduated in 2018. After the graduations of her children, Cindy said, “I missed the interaction with the school district.”
She’s not afraid to try activities, such as skydiving or riding a zip line or running for office.
“I thought about running for a seat on the school board in the past, but I was on the wrong side of the street for the open districts,” she said. When the district was reconfigured following the November election to include two-at-large seats, Cindy decided she would apply.
Now, she’s working to get up to speed on the “alphabet soup” that is education. She expects to decide later this year if she’ll run for election in November.
“I feel education is really important, and I encourage parents, in particular, but really anyone to get involved,” she said.
Lending a helping hand
One of the first things many people notice about Jnl Linsacum is the unusual spelling of her first name.
“My mother wanted to make the name short and simple,” Linsacum said. She later learned her mother “isn’t a good speller.”
In 1986, her husband, Ron Linsacum, was offered a teaching job in Hayden, and the couple moved to the area.
“In 1987, I was employed by Hayden School District,” Jnl said. She continued working for the Hayden School District after she and Ron moved to Moffat County, where they raised three sons — Travis, who is married to Craig Middle School Assistant Principal Sara Linsacum, and twins Ryan and Matt, who serve as a teacher and coach in Hayden. All three attended school in Moffat County.
At the Hayden School District, JnL was first hired as a part-time bookkeeper. Her role grew, and she also became a full-time administrative assistant to the superintendent and later served for 20 years as finance director. She retired after 32 years.
During her work in Hayden, she was involved in three successful mill levy override elections, a transportation mill levy override, and one bond election. The last bond election, in combination with a BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) grant, will raise $64 million to remodel the elementary school and build a secondary campus to accommodate preschool through 12th grade in one location, Jnl said.
She is enjoying retirement.
“I love spending time with my family, especially grandkids,” she said. “I like climbing 14ers and paddleboarding. I plan on running a marathon this summer or fall.”
For the past 12 years, Jnl has been a volunteer advocate for domestic violence victims.
“Working in Hayden, it was hard to be involved in this community very much other than that. I wanted, when I retired, to give back to the community, and felt I would have time to do that,” she said.
While Jnl’s work has given her “great insight” into the responsibilities of school board members, she said, “one of the biggest challenges is going to be for Cindy and I, both, to get up to speed with the school board and school district.”
Jnl ran for a seat on the Moffat County School Board several years ago. Darryl Steel won the seat but resigned in 2017 for health and family reasons.
“It’s scary to put yourself out there and go for election, but I plan on doing that,” she said.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.
After years of leadership turnover at Moffat County High School, students and staff will find some continuity in their newly selected principal.