Mary Cotton: ‘It makes a difference in people’s lives’ | VailDaily.com

Mary Cotton: ‘It makes a difference in people’s lives’

Mary Cotton
Special to the Daily |

Meet Your Candidates

The Vail Daily is profiling candidates for the Eagle County School District Board of Education.

Today is Carolyn Knox Keep and Mary Cotton, running for District C around Edwards.

Election Day is Nov. 3.

EAGLE COUNTY — Mary Cotton has been part of educating Eagle County kids for decades.

“It makes a difference in people’s lives. I love to work with kids from all over,” she said.

She said she has been thinking about running for the school board since last spring and has been part of the district for years. She was on the selection committee that hired Superintendent Jason Glass.

Cotton said she wants to give back to the school communities that have enriched her three children’s lives through academics, sports and extra-curricular activities.

“If elected, the invaluable education and practical knowledge I gained through my board experience will help me serve all of the students in Eagle County schools,” Cotton said.

Cotton is currently president of the Eagle County Charter Academy board of directors and has been since she joined in 2010. Her work on the school’s capital committee helped land a state grant to build its building in Miller Ranch.

With Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, she was mission and outreach chair.

She’s an officer in the Philanthropic Educational Organization.

She’s the director of children’s ministries with the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, where she has been teaching Sunday School for 19 years. Before that, she spent 20 years helping husband, Bill, run Optic Nerve Eyewear as the company’s comptroller. She left Optic Nerve to go to work with her church.

Two of her three children graduated from Battle Mountain High School and the third will next year.

“One thing that might not be obvious is that I’m a big proponent of strategic planning. It unites a board under an over-arching goal and keeps the long-range goal firmly in mind,” she said.

She said the school board needs to take a three-pronged approach to its work: 1. teachers, 2. student learners, 3. standards.

“I have lived through the value of boards with strategic plans.”

As for funding, Cotton said the school board may ask Eagle County voters for more money, and the voters may say yes, but for now the board must be good stewards of the money they have.

“We can say we want this or that, but this is the environment we’re living in. The taxpayers have spoken clearly,” Cotton said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.