Meet the candidates for Eagle County Schools’ open board seats |

Meet the candidates for Eagle County Schools’ open board seats

Two are running for EagleVail/Avon seat, while other seats are unopposed

EAGLE — One of the five school board seats up for grabs is being contested in the November election.

Beatríz Bustamante is challenging incumbent Michelle Stecher for the District F seat, covering parts of EagleVail and Avon north of Highway 6 and south of I-70.

Candidates for the other four seats will run unopposed.

The dearth of candidates does create one complication. The school district received no applicants for the District A seat, mostly EagleVail south of Highway 6 and I-70 to the Minturn interchange. Board Member Tessa Kirchner is wrapping up her second four-year stint on the school board and is term-limited.

The board will appoint Kirchner’s replacement.

District F: Bustamante vs Stecher

Beatríz Bustamante: Bustamante works at Battle Mountain High School as a health assistant, where she created and maintains a volunteer parent engagement team.

She says her bilingual skills help parents adapt to technology, parent-teacher-student expectations and connecting with the school community. She has volunteered for 9 Health Fairs, Eagle County Smiles, and Eat Chat Parent workshops.

Bustamante says that by getting involved, she wants “to motivate and show others that ‘yes you can!’”

If elected, Bustamante would be required to resign her position with the school district.

Michelle Stecher: Stecher is the director of Mountain Youth (until recently called the Eagle River Youth Coalition). She says she works with hundreds of diverse families, collaborates with leaders from health, government, business and media to collect and analyze information about the health of the community’s youth. Using that information, Stecher says  Mountain Youth creates community resources. She has volunteered with Buddy Mentors, Vail Valley Soccer Club and Mountain Recreation.

Stecher says her “values of collaboration, innovation, and empathy are tremendous benefits” to the school board.

Running unopposed

Ted Long: Long works in higher education administration, has volunteered with Eagle County Animal Rescue and serves at Calvary Chapel. He says he is “very familiar with how to improve educational outcomes and student experiences.”

Lucila Tvarkunas: Tvarkunas is the mother of two sons in elementary school, has volunteered in classrooms, and is bilingual. She has lived in Colorado for 20 years, but was born in Argentina and says she wants to be “a bridge that brings our English and Spanish speaking communities closer together.”

Fernando Almanza: Almanza is a 911 emergency dispatcher and hostage negotiator and a product of Eagle County Schools. He has been involved with Bright Future Foundation, Mountain Youth, Family Leadership Training Institute, and the Eagle County Crisis Hotline. He says his bilingual skills and experiences as a student in local schools position him well “to continue to serve our Eagle County Community.”

School board president Kate Cocchiarella and board member Shelly Jarnot are not up for election.

How they’re elected

School board members are not paid. They’re elected at large — by voters across the entire school district — and serve four-year terms. When a vacancy occurs and a new member is appointed, the appointee must run in the next regular election.

Board members Almanza and Stecher were appointed and are running in this year’s election.

The school board sets policy for the district’s 1,000 staff members across 18 schools and more than 6,100 students.

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