Guest Columnist Tracie L. Bennitt
There appears to be some disconnect in the Woodland Park School District community regarding exactly what the local school board does and what it doesn’t do.
In reality, the WPSD school board has one employee, the Superintendent. According to the WPSD website, “The five-member Board of Education members are elected to four-year terms and serve without pay. The Board, on behalf of students, staff, parents and the community, holds itself accountable to the citizens of the District through Policy Governance. In fulfillment of this charge, the Board is committed to rigorous, continual improvement of its capacity to govern effectively through policy by defining its concerns in terms of values and its vision in terms of expectations.”
The Policy Governance is divided into ten specific sections including Governance commitment, Board Job Description, Governing Strategy, Board Member’s Code of Conduct, President’s Role, Board Committee Principles, Agenda Planning and Board Meetings, Development of New Board Policy and Monitoring of Board Performance. There is a specific outline of the Board/Superintendent Relationship and thirteen Executive Expectations described in the WPSD policy. The board is responsible for the Superintendent and his/her performance. Superintendent job performance is outlined within the District Purpose Statement and Executive Expectations policies. The complete listing can be found on the WPSD website under Policy Search.
The focus of the Board, on behalf of the citizens, is to assure that the District accomplishes the District Purpose Statement. This is accomplished by the school board’s sole connection to the operational organization of the school district through the Superintendent. The board never gives instruction to persons who report directly or indirectly to the Superintendent and the board refrains from evaluating any staff other than the superintendent. The board considers successful superintendent performance as a District accomplishment.
The WPSD board’s job is not to determine curriculum. It is not hiring or firing district employees other than the Superintendent. It is not determining current health situations in the community. This is the responsibility of the Colorado State Health Department and the Teller County Health Department. The board’s job is also not to engage in complaints or issues between students, parents and teachers. That is handled directly by the school principal, and if unresolved is addressed by the Superintendent.
There are currently four people running for the open WPSD board positions that possess a variety of qualifications that make them great candidates for the school board positions. Each of these individuals brings with them a range of experience from community involvement, current or past parents of students in the district, teaching experience and past school board experience.
Dale Suiter, a Divide resident, is a member of Pikes Peak Kiwanis and the Spring Valley Water Board. He brings to the table seven years of school board experience from Buhler School District in Kansas. Amy Wolin currently has kids in the WPSD and engages with students, parents and teachers regularly through her position at the Rampart Range Library District. She has also initiated numerous fundraising efforts for different organizations in the school system. Misty Leafers has a background in law, teaching and is parent to a former WPSD student. She taught both history and English at WPMS. She’s also juggling being an active hockey mom! Paula Levy is a local business owner and nonprofit advocate. She is currently a member of Toastmasters Above the Clouds, The Golden Bridge Network, Rotary Club, and the Commission on Aging. She’s also had all three of her kids graduate from the WPSD who are now either in college or leading successful business careers of their own. All four of these candidates want to bring respect and civility to the WPSD school board. All are in agreement that the school board is no place for politics and that they each want to bring their best to the table in the interest of the kids in the district. Please vote November 2.