Rangely School Board Candidate Q and A’s

RANGELY | Rangely School board has two seats open for four year terms. The election will be held this November. These are the candidates.

Sarah Nielsen

What particular experiences or skills have prepared you to serve as a board member?

I have worked my entire life in customer service. I feel that being on a board and customer service have a great deal in common. It’s not only the job that needs to be done its how you treat your “customers” that make your business successful. I have been in the Rangely community my entire life, I know its strengths and weakness. I am will to put in the time and the work required to make the strengths stronger and the weakness obsolete.

In what school district or community activities/organizations have you been involved?

I’ve served on the Rangely Town Council and the RDA/RDC I am also an active member with the Rangely Panther Pride Booster Club.

Why should you be elected to the Board of Education?

I am a team player, ready and willing to work with anyone to reach best possible outcome for the task at hand.

Why are you running for the Board of Education? If elected, what will be your priorities? 

My priorities will be working with board to not only helping provide the best working environment for the staff but also help provide the best learning environment for all students. I’m a firm believer that they are equally important and when treated as such everyone benefits the rewards.

Is there a particular issue that motivates you to serve on the board of education?

My only motivation is seeing a need for people to put the time and energy require to be a good productive board member. “See a need, fill the need.”

What differentiates you from the other candidates and/or board members?

I am the only mom running for the board and I also feel like I have a unique knowledge of the Rangely community.

What is your vision for education in this community? 

To be the best regardless of our size.

– Nicholas Swails

What particular experiences or skills have prepared you to serve as a board member?

Having spent my career in the restaurant business I am no stranger to long hours and demanding work. During my time in the industry I worked my way up to management and developed my skills in running a business. It was during this time I realized that education was my true calling. For me, education was a gateway to opportunity, opening up doors that were once closed. My story is similar to the challenge our Rangely students face, and I would like to use my experiences to open doors for them.

In what school district or community activities/organizations have you been involved?

I am a college professor at CNCC where I am the advisor to the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society helping honor students develop their leadership skills. I have experience working in instructional design and serve as open-education ambassador working to cut textbook costs and barriers to education. Lastly, I am a board member of the Rangely Outdoor Museum.

Why should you be elected to the Board of Education?

As someone who has worked long hours in restaurants and spent years in the classroom as a student and teacher, I know how important education is. I am an educator who understands the challenges students and teachers face. I can sympathize with the long hours and dedication teachers put in to making their students a success. I understand how to work with limited resources, the lack of funding, and the lack of institutional support.

Why are you running for the Board of Education? If elected, what will be your priorities? 

I am running for school board as a member of this community. A community that values the success of our students in and out of the classroom, and on the field. I am running as faculty member at CNCC who wants to see Rangely students succeed in Rangely and when they leave. I am running as a parent who wants to see the best possible opportunity of current and future students. I am running as an educator who knows what it takes to be a successful teacher in a classroom with limited resources. My priority will be to increase student success in and outside the classroom by finding ways to give our teachers a reason to stay in Rangely and become a part of our community. Our students are our greatest resource so we must invest in those that will make them successful.

Is there a particular issue that motivates you to serve on the board of education?

I understand that we live in a community that values education and those that provide it. I understand that our community has limited resources to provide to our schools, but what it does provide is the absolute best possible. I want to continue to improve our student’s success by assuring that they have teachers who stay year-after-year. We can do this by celebrating the teachers we have and encourage them to be the best they can be. We must find innovative ways to help our teachers grow by letting teachers be teachers so that our students succeed. At the end of the day my motivation is people, teachers, students, and citizens all working together to reinforce the values of our community.

What differentiates you from the other candidates and/or board members?

As someone who came from a working-class background and choose education as my career, I am in a unique position to help Rangely students. I know how education can change a student’s life and open doors. I understand the challenges that teachers face to provide the best possible education to students. As an educator I know what has to happen so that students succeed here and in their future.

What is your vision for education in this community? 

My vision for education in Rangely is to build upon the amazing schools we already have. I want to see us grow as a community where we all work without teachers to help them want to become a part of this community. I want to help teachers know that they are valued and to let them know they can make a real difference to Rangely students. I want to use my experience in education to bring innovation to the classroom by encouraging teachers to try new things to help inspire their students to succeed.

– Ryan Torsell

What particular experiences or skills have prepared you to serve as a board member?

I was one of the last babies to be born at the hospital in Rangely. I have spent my entire life in Rangely (minus while I was in college). I learned about small school districts as a student and I know that experience will help me with serving the school district as a board member. Now I am a parent with children in this small school district, including a child that is part of the special education/BOCES division of school. I have been able to learn the process of how special education is supposed to work by being an advocate for not only my child but the teachers and paras that influence these children daily.

In what school district or community activities/organizations have you been involved?

The school district, community activities and organizations that I have been involved in started when I was a student in the Rangely School District. As a student I participated in Math Club, basketball, baseball, wrestling, football and Jump Rope for Heart. Currently, I have chaperoned many field trips, dances and overnight lock-ins at the school. As a community member, I have been involved with the Rangely Rural Fire Protection District as a firefighter for seven years. I served as a board member for the Western Metropolitan Recreation District. I have coached and volunteered at every level of athletics from high school football to the Rec League Basketball. Five years ago, I also started the Rangely Youth Football program. Currently, I work for Rio Blanco County Department of Human Services and enjoy helping with the needs of the community.

Why should you be elected to the Board of Education?

The reason I should be elected to the Board of Education is because I am willing to be a voice for the community with live in, not only for the parents and students attending the district, but also the employees and staff of the district.

Why are you running for the Board of Education? If elected, what will be your priorities? 

The reason I am running for the Board of Education is to help continue a tradition of educational excellence while raising great human beings and community members. My priorities for running for the Board of Education are simple, I am here for the students, staff and employees.

Is there a particular issue that motivates you to serve on the board of education?

There is not a particular issue that motivates me to want to serve the community. I’m not running for anything personal between myself and any one person or issue that I have ever had with the district. I am running for the reward of being part of making something great.

What differentiates you from the other candidates and/or board members?

The attributes that I know that I have arc honesty, willingness to learn, rooted within the community, authentic, and not afraid to ask the tough question and find solutions for problems.

What is your vision for education in this community? 

My vision for education in this community is to think of new ways to utilize the resources that we do have and ensure that every student gets the education that they deserve.

– Todd Low

What particular experiences or skills have prepared you to serve as a board member?

I have made the effort to attend many of the school board meetings throughout the years and have a good idea of the decisions that are made and have to be made to keep this district successful. I do not put myself above anyone, and am willing to hear their concerns or interests, and then make a decision in which I fully stand by believe to be in the best interest of the district.

In what school district or community activities/organizations have you been involved?

I make every effort to support the youth of this community through attending sporting events, and all the other school functions and activities that they are involved in. I saw the need and took the time to obtain my school bus driver endorsement so that I could volunteer to help out taking the youth on their trips be it for sports or other activities. I am currently a member of the Rangely Rural Fire Protection District. With that, I had the great opportunity along with my daughter to participate in a mock accident that was by put together by some of the students to bring awareness to texting and driving. Also years past I was fortunate to assist in coaching our younger children in the pee wee wrestling program. I never turn down an opportunity to help out the youth.

Why should you be elected to the Board of Education?

I’m invested in the school district and community. I have lived in this community for close to 15 years, and have many more ahead in which I can do my part as a citizen and parent to further our children’s education.

Why are you running for the Board of Education? If elected, what will be your priorities? 

I have three children in the school system. I want to see them, as well as every other student, excel in their school work by doing our best to provide them the necessary resources to do so, whether that be great faculty, technology, or help from the community. Our children’s success in their school work and state testing begins with a solid school board, and then trickles down through the superintendent, administration, and faculty. I believe a large part of their success depends on the choices and decisions made in their behalf by the board and superintendent. We expect excellence from the students, but on our part, we need to hold ourselves all to those same standards. My priorities are to help make sound decisions on our districts behalf whether they be student achievement related all the way to making sure we keep a fiscally sound district budget.

Is there a particular issue that motivates you to serve on the board of education?

I do not have any particular issue. My focus is on the students and to make sure they are getting every opportunity that we can provide to be successful in their current studies, and also in whatever vocation that life takes them. These kids need to know that they have our total support to help them get into college, the work force, or whatever they choose to do. Our children’s overall success takes effort on our part as a school district, but also their families and fellow community members here in Rangely. 

What differentiates you from the other candidates and/or board members?

I am open minded and I will take the time to listen and respond to the needs and concerns of the0 community, faculty, and students. I stand up for what I believe is right. I have proven that I am dedicated to the youth and community and I am not afraid to step up to the plate and get the job done.

What is your vision for education in this community? 

Again, it is having a solid foundation for our kids to grow on. I would love to see RE-4 be an above average district in the state of Colorado, and to see the kids of Rangely Colorado continue to be successful and go on to do great things for this country.

Special to the Herald Times