School board candidate Heather Bergquist in her own words
Candidate seeks to prioritize education and meaningful parent engagement
The Vail Daily is running Q&As 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: Heather Bergquist
Occupation: Children’s program director and mother
Place of residence: Gypsum
Length of residence in Eagle County: 14 years
Director District: District E (Gypsum Elementary, Red Hill Elementary, Gypsum Creek Middle School and Eagle Valley High School)
Have you served on any other boards/commissions/councils in Eagle County or otherwise? While not on official boards, I was selected to guide the coronavirus reopening team at my workplace. In the school setting, I was part of a team that worked to receive accreditation. Currently, I hold a position on the leadership committee in a local community impact group, advocating for the best interests of children.
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? As a previous local kindergarten teacher, I adored my sweet students and the families I partnered with each year. Teaching children to read and watching the world come alive to them as a result was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life. I am currently a children’s program director, guiding volunteers, developing curriculum and partnering with parents. These roles offer extensive experience considering how to best serve children, support parents and collaborate with volunteers.
What has been your interaction thus far with Eagle County School district? While my son attended kindergarten within Eagle County Schools, I volunteered in the classroom. As a taxpayer, I am highly engaged in the district’s decisions, desiring the very best results for the financial investment I make into our schools. Additionally, I attend school board meetings and have regular dialogue with parents, teachers and administrators.
What is the value that you will bring to the school board? I am an educator with experience in public, private and homeschool settings, as well as the mother of four precious children. These roles provide me insight into the critical importance of a robust and working relationship between parents and teachers.
Why do you want to serve on the school board? I want to serve on the Board of Education because I sincerely care for children. Their best future depends on a fantastic education.
What has the current school board done well? And what could it have done better? The current board has navigated the unprecedented challenge of education in the midst of COVID-19. They have done well by recognizing and prioritizing the value of in-person education.
Parents have a divine right and responsibility for the children they bring into this world. The board should appropriately recognize this and return this authority to parents, specifically relating to mandated medical interventions as stipulations of receiving an in-person education.
If elected, what’s the main thing you’d like to see the school board accomplish throughout your term? I would like to see the board make every decision through the filter of what is best for children, specifically prioritizing an excellent education, and meaningful parent engagement.
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? In prioritizing equity, the district has communicated its heart to serve all children equally, and I commend them for their intent. I believe the family is the building block of a healthy and flourishing society, so emphasis on strong and meaningfully engaged parents and families will ultimately benefit each student’s life and specifically their academic progress.
What advancements can be made to address staffing challenges within the school district? Teachers are incredible, and we love them for the investment they make into the academic pursuits of our children. Offering incentives to teachers to earn greater pay would attract and retain more teachers. These incentives could be tied to academic excellence in the classroom.
What specific improvements would you like to see made in the area of student learning/curriculum? The foundations of education must be prioritized, specifically grade-level literacy, writing competently and computing accurately. But, this can’t be accomplished in a vacuum.
To quote James Taylor, “The goals we seek are not just a cursory knowledge but rather a deep understanding and love for the things that are studied. To cultivate attention on which hinges wisdom and virtue.”