Cocchiarella: Eagle County Schools welcomes three new Board of Education members | VailDaily.com

Cocchiarella: Eagle County Schools welcomes three new Board of Education members

Kate Cocchiarella
Valley Voices

Kate Cocchiarella

Change is good. Some changes come easier than others. This past Election Day brought the Eagle County Schools Board of Education two new members: Inga Haagenson Causey (District E, Gypsum) and Melisa Rewold-Thuon (District F, Avon). Due to a midterm resignation, at our most recent meeting, we appointed another new member, Rebecca Cotton (District C, Edwards/Singletree area).

The experience and backgrounds that these three intelligent and dedicated women bring to the school board are most welcome.

Our deep gratitude goes out to the board members who served previously: Patrick Hirn, Kevin Kottenstette and Carolyn Knox Keep. We wish them the best in their future endeavors and are grateful for their years of service.

Inga Haagenson Causey is a founding partner at Causey & Howard LLC, a law firm serving the mountain communities based in Edwards. As an attorney, her substantial experience helping to create policy, drafting and reviewing contracts, mediating disputes, interpreting law and advising businesses will be an invaluable asset to our school board. She is the mother of three Eagle County students, is an active parent volunteer in our schools and has served as both a volunteer and a board member for several nonprofits in our community.

Melisa Rewold-Thuon is well known throughout the Eagle County community. She currently serves as the executive director of YouthPower365, the education branch of the Vail Valley Foundation. Her prior experience is deeply rooted in education. She has been a classroom, English as a second language and reading teacher; an English language acquisition district coordinator; and school principal of Avon Elementary School. Her experience in the classroom, as a school and community leader and as a parent of three young children will add a meaningful perspective to our discussions.

Rebecca Cotton was born and raised in Eagle County. She attended Eagle County Charter Academy and graduated from Battle Mountain High School in 2013 at the top of her class. She recently earned her Bachelors of Science degree with high honors from the University of Michigan. After graduation in May 2017, she returned to Eagle County to become the youth minister for the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration in Edwards. As the Board of Education strives to incorporate more student voices into our decision making, we are thrilled to have this eloquent and energetic alumna join our team.

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All three of our new members show a willingness to work hard, share their points of view, ask tough questions and do all of this with empathy and a sense of humor. Board members put in hours of work reading and preparing for the biweekly meetings. We accept these roles with a deep sense of commitment and appreciation for the importance of the work we are entrusted to do on behalf our community.

New board members participate in hours of training and must come up to speed quickly on policies and procedures, legal briefings, school finance and key projects. I have full confidence these new board members will tackle the work before us in a thoughtful and deliberate manner, and I'm grateful to have each of them on the team.

Kate Cocchiarella is the president of the Board of Education of Eagle County Schools.

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