Lewis-Palmer School District 38 District 1
Candidates are listed in the order they appear on the ballot.

SHERRI HAWKINS

  • Candidate Information

    srhelman@aol.com www.sherri4lpsd38.com 719-964-7892 BS in science from The Ohio State University. Previous, CO teaching license Lead coach at Colorado Juniors Volleyball Club

  • Why are you running for school board and what makes you the best candidate?

    I am running for school board because I believe we have an excellent school district and I want to ensure the excellence continues. I have been on the board for the last four years and understand the commitment required to be a successful board member. I have been an educator and come from a long line of educators. I have been a coach for more than 20 years so I understand how to manage and work on a team. I believe collaboration is crucial for a successful board of education.

  • What are the most pressing challenges for your district this year and how will you address them?

    Our district’s most pressing challenge is the tremendous growth. We have houses being built all over the district with new students enrolling regularly. The growth is exciting, but it also presents some challenges. We have been working very closely with RTI (a demographic consultancy specializing in school districts) and a long range planning committee (composed of parents, community members, teachers and administrators.) They have been analyzing possible options for almost a year and I will look to their expertise and recommendations for guidance. From their initial reports, it appears we will need additional capacity.

  • How will you address the effect of reduced public-school funding resulting from the imposed “negative factor?”

    The “negative factor” has presented school districts with a real challenge for several years. My goal has been and is to to keep cuts as far away from the student learning as possible. That may mean certain capital improvements have to wait. In our district, we have been fortunate to have sufficient reserves to address critical items as they occur. For instance, in the last board meeting, we needed to vote on funding a boiler system that did not last its full life expectancy. We voted to fund its replacement with our reserves.

  • What is your position on public school choice? Should taxpayer dollars be used for private school choice?

    I have mixed feelings about school choice. It gives students the opportunity to attend great school districts such as D-38 and I benefited from attending a school outside of my home school. boundaries. I believe every student should be able to receive a great education. I believe public dollars need to stay with public education.

  • What steps should be taken to acknowledge the rights of LGBTQ students and create inclusive learning environments?

    LGBQT students are students, just the same as any other student. Just as I would expect straight students to not publicly display their affection, my expectation is the same for LGBQT students. Our district follows state statue and states: Every student of this school district shall have equal educational opportunities through programs offered in the school district regardless of race, color, ancestry, creed, sex, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, marital status, disability or need for special education services.

  • What role should the arts play in public education?

    The arts play an important role in educating the whole child. According to http://www.scilearn.com/blog/how-arts-help-students-excel, studies show that there is a direct, positive correlation between an education including the arts and academic success, social development and connection with peers. In our school district, teachers focus on the whole child by including the arts as part of every child’s education. Some of my favorite experiences as a board member have been attending the amazing band, choir and theater performances in our schools.

  • Considering the frequency of youth suicides recently, how can your district better meet the social/emotional needs of students?

    Our district has been bringing in experts in the field to talk about risk factor and risky behaviors to look fo. Last spring, one of our football coaches, along with others in our community hosted an event which featured presentations for parents and students. We had another event that was co-hosted by the YMCA which included professionals in the fields of psychology and cyber-issues. There were that provided information and opportunities for students to find support. We can always do more to find and address the root of the problem.

  • How is your district responding to reported hate incidents?

    Our school district has begun an educational program, developed by teachers in the district, called Path2Empathy. Rather than reacting to bullying, it asks students to look at the world through another’s eyes. It reminds students that we all have a story, and thus, all have something we are going through. It provides opportunities to practice respect, gratitude, and of course, empathy. It started in the middle school, but is now in all of the elementary schools. I like this program, as often times, hate incidents are caused by lack of understanding and empathy.

  • How should your district ensure a religiously neutral learning environment that respects all students? Do current district policies adequately address religious expression, intelligent design, and holiday celebrations?

    Our district follows federal law regarding religion in its schools.

CHRIS G. TAYLOR

  • Candidate Information

    chris@p3datasys.com Chris4SchoolBoard.CO 719-641-9262 Accounting / MBA Technology Business Owner

  • Why are you running for school board and what makes you the best candidate?

    I chose to run for the LPSD 38 board of education to contribute to, and serve, the community in which our family has lived for over 17 years. We love the people in the Monument area. It would be an honor to serve this community as a member of its school board of education. I will always seek input from the entire community in driving policy to provide the best educational opportunities in a safe environment for every child with the most efficient and effective use of available resources.

  • What are the most pressing challenges for your district this year and how will you address them?

    One challenge is to provide a top-notch education for every student with the scarce resources available to a growing LPSD 38. Another challenge is to ensure the best educators are rewarded for their success in supplementing the parental responsibility of nurturing the kids to become productive members of society. I will strive to provide complete transparency in the board of education’s deliberative process of creating policy to provide direction to the school district administration in achieving its goals and vision. The LPSD 38 board of education should ensure insightful metrics of success are understood, measured, monitored and continuously improved.

  • How will you address the effect of reduced public-school funding resulting from the imposed “negative factor?”

    There are no easy answers to address the reality of scarce resources. Therefore, the LPSD board of education must help the administration drive efficiency in every operating process while ensuring that the values of the community are well represented in policy that drives all choices in the daily administration of a growing LPSD 38. Innovation is required in leading LPSD 38 to excellence as it continues to achieve its goals and vision for a top-notch education for every student. Community engagement can lead to a better reflection of community values in the policies of the LPSD 38.

  • What is your position on public school choice? Should taxpayer dollars be used for private school choice?

    The LPSD 38 board of education should always follow CO statutes. My position on public school choice is that more choice enables parents to ensure their children have the best opportunity to become adept and productive members of society. The values of the community should be reflected in the policy that drives the administration of the LPSD 38. These community values must be represented on the LPSD 38 board of education. No, I support the CO statute for public school choice and charter schools are by law considered to be public schools.

  • What steps should be taken to acknowledge the rights of LGBTQ students and create inclusive learning environments?

    There should be no labels of students to drive specific outcomes. The LPSD 38 board of education should provide policy that enables every student to feel safe while having access to the best education available.

  • What role should the arts play in public education?

    The arts and sciences are very important in public education. However, each child has inclinations uniquely geared for certain aspects of what can be offered in public education. While it is important that every child has exposure to a broad array of educational opportunities there should also be sufficient choice to focus on certain areas of greater interest by every child.

  • Considering the frequency of youth suicides recently, how can your district better meet the social/emotional needs of students?

    The social/emotional needs of students can best be addressed through a collaborative process between parent and teacher. The LPSD 38 should encourage educators to facilitate parental involvement in the educational process. The educational process or nurturing of the parent-child relationship must include continuous growth in the mental, physical, and emotional aspects of every child.

  • How is your district responding to reported hate incidents?

    This a question that I have no information from which to draw any conclusions or make any recommendations at this point in time. I do not have any preconceived changes in mind as I approach this opportunity to serve on the LPSD 38 board of education. A safe environment for learning must always be paramount in any policy development by the LPSD 38 board of education.

  • How should your district ensure a religiously neutral learning environment that respects all students? Do current district policies adequately address religious expression, intelligent design, and holiday celebrations?

    A religiously neutral learning environment would suggest that teachers do not attempt to influence a child’s religious beliefs in the classroom. That position can be maintained through a healthy parent teacher collaboration for every child. The current LPSD 38 policies provide guidance for teaching about controversial issues and the use of controversial materials. I will reiterate once again how important it is that community values are reflected in the policy development and review process of the LPSD 38 board of education.

Lewis-Palmer School District 38 District 3
Candidates are listed in the order they appear on the ballot.

TIFFINEY UPCHURCH

  • Candidate Information

    E-Mail: upchurch4kids@gmail.com Website: upchurch4kids.com Phone: 719-357-6009 Education: Bachelors Degree in Communication Occupation: Community leader/Advocate

  • Why are you running for school board and what makes you the best candidate?

    My goals are to continue our excellence through policy decisions that prioritize meeting the educational needs of all diverse learners, regardless of abilities and backgrounds, being a champion for inclusive collaboration with parents, educators, and the community of stakeholders, and ensuring fiscal responsibility that prioritizes funding in the classroom and retains our excellent teachers. My leadership experiences in business, education, and non-profit sectors combined with 8 years of voluntary service within multiple D38, community, and state organizations make me uniquely qualified to address future challenges in a forward-thinking and innovative manner.

  • What are the most pressing challenges for your district this year and how will you address them?

    We are a district of distinction with excellent students and excellent educators. Learning and achievement is our district’s highest priority, followed by stakeholder engagement, and long range planning. Our district is in a unique position that allows us time to be strategic and collaborative in investigating multiple options and perspectives to address long-term growth. We should continue to listen, explore, and consider various ideas and solutions in collaboration so as to find the most viable, innovative, and fiscally responsible solutions.

  • How will you address the effect of reduced public school funding resulting from the imposed “negative factor?”

    The negative factor reduced public school funding for three years starting in FY09-10 during the Great Recession. For the last four years our district’s per pupil total program funding from the state has increased and is expected to continue to increase. As the negative factor is a past event and Colorado Supreme Court ruled that it does not violate our Constitution, we must look to at how our district has adjusted to the loss of budgetary funding 4-7 years ago and evaluate if current funding and the rate of increase is sufficient to cover expected future budgetary items.

  • What is your position on public school choice? Should taxpayer dollars be used for private school choice?

    CO law gives families the ability to attend the school that best fits their needs in order to meet the needs of all learners and brings healthy competition of methods and ideas into the school district. In D38 we have the honor of having excellence in all of our schools, which includes our public charter school. I would like to continue to foster the excellence that makes each neighborhood school the choice families prefer. Private schools are an asset for some families; the Colorado Supreme court has ruled that public funds cannot be used for private school choice.

  • What steps should be taken to acknowledge the rights of LGBTQ students and create inclusive learning environments?

    D38 has both an ethical and legal responsibility to provide an inclusive learning environment to all students. In addition, all students’ rights are inherent and D38 acknowledges the rights of all students, regardless of background or beliefs.

  • What role should the arts play in public education?

    The arts have a long and celebrated tradition in education, with good reason. Numerous studies show that enrichment through the arts increases growth and achievement in other subject areas, helps to develop motor skills, innovation, language development, and decision-making, and can instill a love of learning for some students. As such, the arts are critical in elementary education and should be an option that is provided until graduation. I applaud the pride our district takes in our various arts programs, such as our award winning music programs.

  • Considering the frequency of youth suicides recently, how can your district better meet the social/emotional needs of students?

    This is a question that hits close to home and one I am passionate about. With accolades comes pressure: from social interactions to achievement. Counselors and mental health professionals may not be a student’s initial confidant in that crucial first revelation of critical stress, thus we should equip educators on how to make a positive impact, foster an environment in which students have access to privately express their feelings, and nurture collaboration with parents. Our district is making great strides in collaborating with the community to promote programs such as Value Up, Take Charge, and teen activities.

  • Considering the frequency of youth suicides recently, how can your district better meet the social/emotional needs of students?

    This is a question that hits close to home and one I am passionate about. With accolades comes pressure: from social interactions to achievement. Counselors and mental health professionals may not be a student’s initial confidant in that crucial first revelation of critical stress, thus we should equip educators on how to make a positive impact, foster an environment in which students have access to privately express their feelings, and nurture collaboration with parents. Our district is making great strides in collaborating with the community to promote programs such as Value Up, Take Charge, and teen activities.

  • How is your district responding to reported hate incidents? What specific changes would you suggest?

    D38 has made the extra effort to hire a chief of safety and security with extensive experience in law enforcement. Hate incidents primarily fall into the area of criminal conduct and should be handled by the appropriate authorities through our Chief of Safety and Security. For incidents not related to criminal conduct, D38 has numerous policies defining and restricting bias acts from students, staff, and other D38 members as well as an established disciplinary process.

  • How should your district ensure a religiously neutral learning environment that respects all students? Do current district policies adequately address religious expression, intelligent design, and holiday celebrations?

    D38 addresses religious content for materials in district policy KE and teaching in policy IMB, Other laws and policies with respect to religious exemption and student organizations ensure that D38 remains separate from religious practices to foster a neutral learning environment for all learners. A factual understanding of various beliefs, creeds, cultures and ideas is a component of a rounded education. We must ensure that materials do not attempt to persuade the reader in content or volume.

THOMAS DE ANGELIS

  • Candidate Information

    E-Mail: thomas.deangelis@gmail.com Website: www.deangelisford38.com Phone: 719-488-5819 Education: United States Air Force Academy (BS); Robert H. Smith School of Business at University of Maryland College Park (MBA) Occupation: _Technology Executive with focus on the Government Market

  • Why are you running for school board and what makes you the best candidate?

    I was raised in a family of 10 kids, of whom 6 are adopted. Public education helped each of us maximize our potential. I served in the Air Force for many years and believe in serving a higher interest than myself. The school board is a great opportunity for me to give back to my community, especially given it is a non-partisan election focused on serving our kids, parents, and taxpayers. I know how to collaborate with a spectrum of stakeholders, and I have the skills as a business executive to bring fiscal responsibility to our community’s largest investment – schools.

  • What are the most pressing challenges for your district this year and how will you address them?

    The Tri-Lakes area is growing rapidly, placing a significant strain on our existing infrastructure, schools at / above capacity, and increased class sizes. I will collaboratively develop strategic plans, both in the near and long terms, to address the increased student population. Furthermore, I will clearly communicate with D38 taxpayers on what needs to be done for sustained funding of our schools, deliver transparency, and solicit community involvement. Additionally, it is critical we build a collaborative environment between the Board and all elements of the D38 Community. I pledge integrity, openness, and a community first approach.

  • How will you address the effect of reduced public school funding resulting from the imposed “negative factor?”

    D38 is our community’s largest investment, and taxpayers deserve the best possible schools. However, more money does not beget better school outcomes – only proper investment does. School funding recently shifted from being split 50/50 between State and Local to now 70/30. Should we pursue an MLO, let’s consider including measurable outcomes before renewal, a sunset clause, and/or an MLO for capital expenditures. We should consider public / private partnerships for expanding workforce readiness and college preparation. We should also consider grants and be diligent in identifying educational funds not used in other districts returned to the State for our use.

  • What is your position on public school choice? Should taxpayer dollars be used for private school choice?

    School choice is Colorado state law. The ability of families to choose from a mix of public schools (including charters) with different focus areas is something in which Coloradans should be proud and maintain. I firmly believe public schools are the cornerstone of our civil society and are a common good into which all Americans must invest for the benefit of our overall Nation. A home is most often an individual’s largest wealth creator. A high-performing public school district directly correlates to higher property values which in turn benefits all taxpayers in the community.

  • What steps should be taken to acknowledge the rights of LGBTQ students and create inclusive learning environments?

    All students in our public schools should be shown dignity and respect, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identification. Within D38, we welcome all students and educate our kids on respect through the Path to Empathy Program and this year’s District theme of “Through Their Eyes, In Their Shoes”. Our Lewis Palmer School District has a Non-Discrimination policy for a range of protected classes, including our LGBTQ students, and states no discrimination or harassment shall be tolerated. The policy also provides avenues for reporting.

  • What role should the arts play in public education?

    Public education should focus on a whole student concept, of which music, theater and art are important components. The arts are critical in brain development, linking both right and left-brain functions through movement, creativity, and composition elements. The arts complement traditional rational-cognitive learning in schools as they increase our ability to informally learn by connecting emotions to an experience, called affective learning. Furthermore, as a business executive I look for individuals who are not just trained in an area, but rather also have the capacity to be creative, which the arts help to foster in our kids.

  • Considering the frequency of youth suicides recently, how can your district better meet the social/emotional needs of students?

    School environments should be positive, safe, welcoming, and inclusive for all students. Our district should continue to leverage organizations like Safe2Tell and Sources of Strength, as well as homegrown efforts like Path to Empathy and RAD. We should consider also leveraging organizations like NAMI and Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention. We must give our kids and parents the tools to support each other in healthy manners and provide clear reporting options. We must continue to give teachers training to identify the emotional needs of students, and resource our schools with the specialized staff of social workers, counselors, nurses and psychologists.

  • How is your district responding to reported hate incidents? What specific changes would you suggest?

    I am not aware of any hate incidents having occurred within D38. However, the district has in place many outlets for supporting parents and students, as well as several policies related to harassment, bullying, and other hate related activities. The District implemented a proactive approach by educating students and getting them to model positive behavior through the Path to Empathy Program. The district also works with the Safe2Tell organization. It must continue to maintain an environment where students feel they can go to parents, teachers, and staff for help.

  • How should your district ensure a religiously neutral learning environment that respects all students? Do current district policies adequately address religious expression, intelligent design, and holiday celebrations?

    Our district should be welcoming of students from all faith backgrounds, to include those who do not have any religious belief. I am not aware of any issues within D38. If any issues were to arise, I would engage district staff to ensure the situation is remediated and all proper procedures, policies, and communication plans are in place to handle the incident as well as any future incidents.