School board member Rice calls it quits

Says professional, personal duties create time pinch

The Durango 9-R School District board will soon begin the search for a new board member. Wendy Rice, who has served for almost five years, submitted her resignation Tuesday.

Rice said her personal and professional duties have increased to the point that she can no longer juggle the time commitment required to be on the school board.

She said she has been “flustering” about the decision for a while because she didn’t want to get in the way of changes in the district including the International Baccalaureate program, new principal hirings and the new superintendent.

Her resignation will be effective Aug. 1 in an effort to give the board some time to find a replacement, Rice said.

Bill Esterbrook, 9-R’s interim superintendent, said the news wasn’t a huge surprise because Rice has a very demanding schedule as an extension agent for Colorado State University.

She brings valuable insight and a unique perspective to the board because of her work background, district and board officials said.

She always pushes the district to consider vocational and technical education as part of the learning experience, Esterbrook said.

“She ensures we aren’t one dimensional in what we offer our students,” he said.

Rice was re-elected to her seat in November by a margin of 10 percent. Personal and work-related responsibilities have escalated since then, she said.

“When I ran I had full intent of going the full term,” she said. “It is a frustration that I’m not filling my second term for people who did vote for me.”

According to state statute, the board must appoint someone to fill Rice’s seat within 60 days of the vacancy.

If it doesn’t, the school board president needs to appoint someone.

This is the second time this year the board will appoint a new member. Carla Mulkey died suddenly on Feb. 28 from a rare heart complication. Shortly after, the board appointed Stephanie Moran to fill her seat.

ecowan@durangoherald.com