Monday, November 29th, was the Special Meeting scheduled for the Jeffco School Board where new members Danielle Varda, Paula Reed, and Mary Parker took their oath of office. It was also the last time Susan Harmon, Brad Rupert, and Rick Rush will sit at the board table as members.
It feels like this is an especially good time for us to take a moment to remind ourselves why we owe Susan and Brad (and Ron Mitchell) so much gratitude (and what the two years preceding the recall were like).
For those who were active in Jeffco Schools November 2013 through November 2015, these years took a real toll on our students, teachers, staff, schools, and district. We had majority board who disrespected our students, teachers, and parents. They dismantled district committees and created an unwelcoming environment for staff, parents, and community members. They made questionable budget decisions. And, let’s not forget an attempt to remove AP U.S. History from Jeffco’s curriculum offerings using narrow-minded reasoning such as: “It has an emphasis on race, gender, class, ethnicity, grievance and American-bashing while simultaneously omitting the most basic structural and philosophical elements considered essential to the understanding of American History for generations.” Julie Williams Sept., 2014 http://www.supportjeffcokids.org/a-jeffco-parent-responds-to-julie-williams-press-release/
It’s important to recognize how much of their lives Susan, Brad, and Ron gave up in the past 6 years to deal with the repair of what was then a broken district. They had to focus on regaining the trust of district staff, parents and community members. They faced some daunting challenges in putting our district back together again, including hiring a new superintendent (not once, but twice).
We know this last year has been an especially difficult time. While striving to focus on the business of the district, along with coping with the complications brought on by COVID, receiving personal threats, and the ongoing budget and staff shortage issues, these folks nonetheless continued to do what was in the best interest of Jeffco students and families.
We want to be sure to thank Rick Rush for stepping in to represent Ron Mitchell’s district. We have no doubt he never imagined he’d be faced with personal threats or the mean spirited rhetoric the board members have received this past year. We are so grateful Rick didn’t allow it to distract him from the real work of the board, and we appreciate that he willingly gave more of his time.
Jeffco was lucky this November to have three solid public education supporters elected to the school board. (Huge thanks to Danielle Varda, Paula Reed, and Mary Parker for taking a pause from your personal pursuits to help lead our district.)
Let’s hope our community always remembers the bad days of WNW -not to dwell on it, but to help us stay committed to what is truly important to our school community.
“They say, if you want to know what a community values, look at how its children are treated. If you want a sense of what a community hopes for the future, look at how it values its schools.”
Thank you Susan, Brad and Rick!