School District 9-R

November 5, 2013 will be an important day for the Durango School District 9-R and our community. Given an untimely death, resignation, recent board member relocation and regularly expiring terms, six of the seven seats on the Durango 9-R school board will be up for election this November, including mine. I am writing to encourage district residents to consider running for these important positions.

This is an exciting and challenging time to be involved in shaping the education of our children. Exciting in that new state assessments are coming in 2014, 9-R enrollment is slowly growing again, and innovative programs have been adopted that should help our students become more engaged in their learning. Challenging in that we are working to overcome flat achievement growth and to close one of the largest achievement gaps in the state among our free-and-reduced-lunch and minority students.

Fortunately, we are well-positioned to meet these challenges. Thanks to our community members and their support in providing additional funding, we are in a strong financial position. We have a dedicated staff that works hard each day to make sure our children are learning. And finally, in Dan Snowberger, we have a superintendent who is ready to work with the school board, district staff and our community to make necessary changes.

The school board plays a key role in ensuring that the mission of the district – “to ensure each student develops the skills and attributes for lifelong learning and has the ability to compete and contribute in the global community” is accomplished. Yes, it is a big-time commitment to be on the school board. However, aside from Tuesday evening meetings, most of the additional time necessary to be an effective board member is flexible and can be worked into your current work and family schedule.

If you have a passion for education, please consider running. Do not let the idea of running a campaign intimidate you. We live in a community where school board elections are low-key events and do not require much (if any) money.

For more information about running for the school board, please visit the district’s website at Petitions can be picked up beginning Wednesday. Please feel free to call any current board member to learn firsthand about the rewards of representing your community on the school board.

Jeff Schell is president of Durango School District 9-R Board. He is term limited and by law cannot run again. Reach him at

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