Former teacher to run for School Board

A longtime Steamboat Springs teacher announced last week she will run for the Steamboat Springs School Board.

Denise Connelly, who retired from the district this year, will run for the Director District 3 seat held by School Board President Paula Stephenson, who does not plan to run for re-election.

Connelly taught English and Spanish at Steamboat Springs High School for 28 years and has a master's degree in information systems from the University of Colorado School of Business.

"I'm really excited about the prospect of what I would consider continuing my role in education from a different perspective," she said.

In addition to her teaching experience, Connelly has three children in the school district and thinks she's in touch with students' and parents' concerns, she said.

If elected, Connelly would advocate reviewing and possibly restructuring policy operation structures to facilitate more communication and trust among parents, staff and administration.

"I think she's going to be a great candidate and School Board member," said Mike Smith, former president of the Steamboat Springs Education Association. "She understands public education from the inside. She's got three kids in the district, so she's got a lot of investment in the district."

Although the quality of education in the district is great, Connelly said, she sees room for improvement, including attracting and retaining quality teachers. She also emphasized maintaining a balanced curriculum with art, music, physical education, foreign language and other elective programs, which are in jeopardy because of limited resources, Connelly said.

"We really need to try to address needs of all the kids," including students taking advanced placement courses as well as students interested in learning more hands-on skills, she said.

As of Sunday, Connelly had 78 signatures on her nomination petition, which she plans to submit today. Candidates need 50 signatures or at least 15 percent of the eligible voters in the district for which they are running.

The petitions are due Friday.

Director District seats 1 and 5 also will be up for grabs on the board.

Michael Loomis and John DeVincentis plan to run for the Director District 1 seat. Loomis recently was appointed to the seat after moving into that district from Director District 5, and DeVincentis is the former principal of Strawberry Park Elementary School.

Tom Miller-Freutel, who was appointed to the Director District 5 seat in June, plans to run for that position.

Staff reporter Susan Cunningham contributed to this report.

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