I am honored to represent House District 61, which includes Summit, Lake, Pitkin and parts of Delta and Gunnison counties. I serve as the chairwoman of the House Education Committee and sit on both the Business, Labor, Workforce, and Economic Development Committee and Appropriations Committee. I am also the vice-chairwoman of the interim Wildfire Matters Review Committee.
As a career educator and former school district superintendent, I am pleased to have become one of the legislature’s leading voices on education issues. During the 2014 session I sponsored the Student Success Act and the annual School Finance Act. These two bills invest nearly $500 million into K-12 education and will help every school district across the state. They include a $110 million buy down of the “negative factor,” investments in early childhood reading programs, funding for English Language Learner programs and the creation of 5,000 new slots for at risk youth in kindergarten classrooms.
In 2013 I sponsored the annual school finance bill along with legislation to streamline our childhood development programs, putting them under one umbrella and cutting down on administrative and government waste. I also sponsored a bill to improve educator evaluation systems, making them more effective.
In 2012 I sponsored one of the major education initiatives of of that session—the Colorado READ Act, expanding early childhood literacy programs.
I am also a strong advocate for Western Slope concerns. I have pushed for solutions to traffic congestion on the Interstate 70 corridor and sponsored a bill to install a fire suppression system in the Eisenhower-Johnson tunnels, because I know that a serious fire in one of the tunnels would not only be a grave threat to motorists, but would also have serious consequences for the economies of the Western Slope and mountain communities.
I began my career in Colorado public education as a teacher and administrator in the Eagle County School District, where I taught for 23 years before being asked to become assistant superintendent of the Summit School District and its 3,000 students in 2001. I was promoted to superintendent in 2004.
I earned my Ph.D. in curriculum and leadership from the University of Denver in 1996. As an adjunct professor at both Adams State College and the University of Denver, I was involved in the planning and delivery of advanced degree programs for teachers and school administrators throughout Colorado.
I am committed to public service and I remain an active supporter of the Summit County community. I have enjoyed being involved with the Summit Foundation, the Summit Lake Dillon Optimists Club, the El Pomar Foundation and the Summit County Rotary Club.
Testimonial videos courtesy of David J. Jacobson, Words & Pictures.
Dave Knutson, Vice-President, Grand Mesa Nordic Council
“Friend to the North Fork Valley”
Elaine Brett, President, Friends of the Paradise Theater, 2013 Citizen of the Year
“Supporter of the Cottage Foods Act”
Monica Wiitanen, Business Owner, Beyond Bread, Paonia, CO
“Advocate of Small Farms”
Scott Horner, Business Owner, Small Potatoes Farms, Paonia, CO