School board candidate Kelly Alter in her own words
Incumbent wants to continue work in advancing public education
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: Kelly Alter
Occupation: Mother, Athlete, PT Seasonal Vail Resorts
Place of residence: EagleVail
Length of residence in Eagle County: 27 years
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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?
Currently I serve on the Board of the Education Foundation of Eagle County and the Eagle County Schools Board of Education.
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?
My two children attended Red Sandstone Elementary School, where I volunteered countless hours in the classroom establishing the school’s Parent Teacher Organization. In 2011, when our school district lost millions of dollars of state funding, I joined forces with community members from schools across the valley to establish the Education Foundation of Eagle County. Through the advocacy work of the foundation we have been able to infuse our schools with millions of dollars of much-needed sustainable funding.
What has been your interaction thus far with Eagle County School district?
I was appointed to The Eagle County School Board in November 2019.
What is the value that you will bring to the school board?
I am passionately devoted to public education. I understand how the State of Colorado funds our schools. I work well with teachers and administrators and listen to their needs. Finally, I listen to and learn from the other board members that I serve with. I keep an open mind and ultimately participate in making decisions that are best for the kids.
Why do you want to serve on the school board?
We must invest in our children as they are our future.
What has the current school board done well? And what could it have done better? The current school board has been very effective in working with the superintendent to navigate a worldwide pandemic. When we had to close schools, we pivoted to online learning immediately. We kept kids in school last year which many districts around the country were unable to do. We were responsive to the needs of the administration and staff. We engaged student voices to help us make decisions with students, not just for students. We helped to refine the districts strategic plan, which, when fully implemented, will benefit all students and staff.
We need to improve our negotiation process with the Eagle County Educator Association.
If elected, what’s the main thing you’d like to see the school board accomplish throughout your term?
I want to execute on all the work that went into our strategic plan. Our plan has strong tactics to promote equity, multi-tiered systems of support and wellness. I am very excited about our Housing Master Plan, and it is my hope that our project with Habitat for Humanity in Eagle and our project next to Battle Mountain High School will be complete. I hope that we keep the momentum and have more projects in the works. This is essential for recruiting and retaining quality educators.
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?
Equity is a work in progress. Equity is providing all students with the skills and tools they need to be successful. Our priorities are to align grading practices, create a sense of belonging for all students and to engage student voice. Our focus on equity will help to lessen the achievement gap between students.
What advancements can be made to address staffing challenges within the school district?
Staffing is very tough. The school district is not alone in its struggles to hire enough staff. Our Housing Master Plan will be helpful as our teachers and support staff struggle to find available and affordable housing.
What specific improvements would you like to see made in the area of student learning/curriculum?
We are in the process of standardizing our curriculum so that all schools have access to the same resources. This year, we adopted a new literacy curriculum for grades K-5. Purchasing new materials and the professional development required to implement the new curriculum takes time and money. This is an ongoing process.