School board candidate Andrew Keiser in his own words
Local realtor wants to promote academic excellence and financial stewardship
The Vail Daily is running Q&A’s with the 11 candidates running for five seats on the Eagle County Schools Board of Education. The questionnaires will run in the order that the candidates appear on the ballot. All school directors are voted on at-large in the county election, meaning eligible electors of the school district vote for one candidate from each director district. Ballots will be mailed out Oct. 8.
Name: Andrew Keiser
Occupation: Husband, father of three and Realtor
Place of residence: EagleVail
Length of residence in Eagle County: 26 years
Director District: District A (Avon Elementary, Edwards Elementary, Homestake Peak School, Red Sandstone Elementary, Berry Creek Middle School and Battle Mountain High School)
Have you served on any other boards/commissions/councils in Eagle County or otherwise?
I serve on the Vail Board of Realtors’ Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the board that focuses on education scholarships and community support for individuals and organizations.
Tell us about your volunteer experiences, involvement in education and service to the community that you live. How will these experiences enable you to bring value to the board?
- Volunteered as an elementary Spanish teacher and board member at a local private school.
- Served as a Youth Leader at Vail Bible Church.
- Served as a children’s Sunday school teacher and an Elder at a local church.
- Refereeing for High School Soccer Officials, Vail Valley Soccer Club and Vail Recreation District adult competitions for over seven years.
Throughout these experiences, I have gained an appreciation for listening, questioning and observing people and their needs before acknowledging them and offering any sort of advice or decision that might be pertinent.
What has been your interaction so far with the Eagle County School district?
I have two children who have graduated from Battle Mountain High School and one who is a senior at Battle Mountain. Through our children I have interacted with and learned from over five sports teams, coaches and groups of parental spectators and hosted numerous team meals.
Through my referee experiences, I have interacted with all the local high soccer programs including coaches, players and the school administration and staff.
What is the value that you will bring to the school board?
- I am a good listener and consider all sides being presented.
- I have no agenda except that the education of our kids be excellent in nature.
- I have an auditing and financial statement preparation background that will assist in financial stewardship.
Why do you want to serve on the school board?
As a 25-year resident of Eagle County and a lifelong learner, I desire to give back to our community and promote both academic excellence and financial stewardship. My wife, Krista, who taught first grade for seven years, and I are both graduates from public school systems in Pennsylvania and have raised our three children at both charter and public schools in the valley. We value public education and want to see it grow even stronger.
What has the current school board done well? What could it have done better?
What it has done well:
- They returned the kids to 5-days-a-week of in-person learning.
- They seem to be very supportive of our teachers in a challenging time.
- They offer a wide variety of opportunities for college bound students with dual enrollment and AP classes.
- The facilities across the district provide the good learning environments.
What it could have done better:
- Guided the district teachers, parents and students through the pandemic with less fear and more scientific data.
- Been more transparent with some of its decision-making.
If elected, what’s the main thing you’d like to see the school board accomplish throughout your term?
- Emphasize the basics of education: reading, writing and arithmetic — as according to Niche school rankings our district graduates are only “30% proficient in math and 46% in reading.” We must improve in these areas as well as in skills for the current and emerging industries in order for our children to have an opportunity to be ready for, adapt to and succeed in the ever changing workplace.
- Recruit and retain highly skilled and subject-passionate teachers to guide our students in developing their love for the learning process.
- Encourage increased parental involvement, collaboration and support of the district and the teachers in pursuit of academic excellence.
Over the past few years, Eagle County Schools has prioritized equity practices in its classrooms. Do you feel that the district is equally serving the needs of all students? What could it do better to address any achievement gaps between students?
Yes (the district is equally serving the needs). (It could) continue to focus on hiring and retaining teachers with a passion for academic excellence and igniting life-long learning in all students.
What advancements can be made to address staffing challenges within the school district?
Great teachers are vital to our goal for academic excellence, therefore, an ongoing review of the various reasons for the staffing challenges and then a dogged pursuit in resolving those challenges.
What specific improvements would you like to see made in the area of student learning and curriculum?
This is an area in which I would have to research and grow as a board member.