Three years ago, I was elected to the Eagle County Board of Education. I began my term after teaching a number of years in two districts. After three years, I continue to refine my understanding of the job we are tasked with.
Put simply, our job is to find a superintendent that will lead our school district best through a complex web of federal and state mandates, while still honoring our communities values and needs.
Dr. Smyser has done that, and done that well. While many other districts have no clear vision of what mandates or issues are coming at them, Dr. Smyser is literally writing the book on the roll out of Senate Bill 191, a massive state reform that will cost school districts millions of dollars to implement.
But not Eagle County Schools, as these rules are based off what we are already doing. Dr. Smyser has helped establish methods and programs to evaluate our students, and close the achievement gap. For most students in all demographics, our district's test scores continue to rise. She has received state recognition as Superintendent of the Year, and in Bill Gates' annual letter, as he specifically called out Eagle County Schools as a model for the rest of the nation.
A few nights ago as I write, the board and Dr. Smyser attended an open forum to listen to thoughts and concerns from community members. We enjoy listening and receiving feedback about how things are going, and what can be done better.
It is why we ran: to represent our community. I encourage anyone who wants to learn more about where our schools are going to contact us (our contact information is on the website). Learn about what is going on in this district from the people who you asked to represent your interests.
I have been amazed by Dr. Smyser and her ability to lead us through a tough recession. Accusing her of being the reason we have had to cut so many positions over the last few years is simply misdirected.
Poudre School District's recent announcement of Dr. Smyser being one of three finalists for their superintendent only confirms what so many in Eagle County have missed: She is a gifted leader, and we should do everything we can to keep her.