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El Paso County Colorado District 49

School board fills vacancy

At a public meeting held July 14, the Falcon School District 49 Board of Directors named Mark Shook to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of board member Amy McClelland. Shook will fulfill the remaining 1.5 years of McClelland’s term.The school board interviewed five candidates for the vacant position at the July 10 board meeting. Each candidate was asked to describe his or her platform and reason for seeking a position on the school board.”We had a great pool of applicants to choose from,” Anna Bartha, board president, said. “Mark stood out because of his long-term investment to the district and community. His three children went through the district and now four grandchildren attend Falcon district schools. He is a phenomenal member of the community and passionate about education.”Board member Dave Stark attended the meeting via teleconference. He said in order to honor the voters in the district the school board chose Shook as a close fit to the views and platforms of McClelland.Parents who attended the meeting said they were not enthusiastic about the board’s selection. “We don’t feel he (Shook) represents a large portion of the parents and voters,” said parent Tammy Harold.Shook served on the D 49 school board during the 1990s, is currently chairman of the D 49 Long Range Planning Committee and vice chairman of the Republican Club of Falcon. He said he was honored by the appointment to the school board.”As board members, we are stewards of the school district and represent the parents. The board sets the tone and policies of the district,” Shook said.He also said the district needs to be ready for the amount of growth coming to D 49. “The projection numbers indicate when Banning Lewis Ranch and Santa Fe Springs are fully built out, we will have the population of two small cities. We need to be ready and act swiftly,” Shook said.The board and the district need to prepare voters for future bond measures, he said. “It’s not a question of if, but when we’ll need more bonds,” Shook said. The district will need to do its homework before asking for more money, something Shook said has not been done in the past.Other candidates interviewed by the board:Tom HaroldHarold runs a small business, Procurement Consultants, which helps other small businesses with government contracts. He currently serves as chairman of the Pikes Peak Regional Transportation Authority advisory committee and is a member of the storm water advisory committee. He has actively participated in D 49 for 10 years, and his two children attend schools in the district.An outspoken parent-activist, Harold regularly attends the school board meetings. “I feel it is my duty to bring concerns to the attention of the board,” Harold said during his interview. “I speak truth and do my research.”Harold said if chosen to serve on the board he would bring the voice of the community members and help unite efforts to become a top-performing school district. “I’m not pro- or anti-charter school, pro- or anti-teachers; I am about the kids,” he said.Danielle LindorfLindorf is a small business owner and mother of two children who attend Banning Lewis Ranch Academy. She served on the BLRA school board from January to June 2008.As a student who graduated from a rural school in Texas, Lindorf said she wished she had been better prepared for college. If selected for the board, Lindorf said she would focus her efforts to enhance current high school programs. “I want to look at the high school curriculum to better prepare students – not just to improve test scores – but for college and future careers,” she said.Lindorf said she supports charter schools and the school of choice programs offered by D 49 because they alleviate overcrowding at traditional schools and allow parents more influence over their child’s education. “Each child has his own learning style and we can reach more children through these programs,” she said.David TrujilloTrujillo is a 16-year veteran with the Colorado Springs Fire Department. He serves on a variety of D 49 committees as a parent representative, including the inclusivity committee, mill levy override task force and long range planning committee.He said his career as a firefighter has taught him to work as a team. “I will look at the issues and bring integrity to the board,” Trujillo said. “I will look at a different side of the issue than is currently represented on the board.”Jacqueline VialpandoVialpando served in the U.S. Air Force for six years and is a registered nurse. She currently works for the El Paso County Department of Health and Environment and has also worked as a school nurse for D 49. She chairs the mill levy override task force, and her daughter attends Sand Creek High School.”I bring a whole group of people with me to the board – different than the other board members bring,” Vialpando said. She said she would add diversity and new ideas to the school board.

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