Advocate to advise school board candidates

Former district spokeswoman wants change in leadership


Susan Meek can’t run for a seat on the school board this November as she did in 2011. Instead, she’s going to help other candidates do it.

Meek, a critic of the current board and administration who was once the Douglas County School District’s spokeswoman, lives in board member Craig Richardson’s Highlands Ranch district. The District A seat, which Meek sought unsuccessfully in 2011, does not expire until 2015.

“I would seriously consider (running),” said Meek. “Instead I’ve decided to focus my time and attention on restoring the parent voice to the district and finding school board candidates that will help accomplish this task.

“I ran my campaign on a shoestring. I want to try to help the underdog candidate who does not have large outside donors.”

Meek and fellow parent Laura Mutton co-founded Strong Schools Coalition, an organization that provides information about DCSD and also commonly is critical of the board. Meek is stepping down as the coalition’s vice president to work with board candidates.

“Strong Schools Coalition is a nonprofit that does not support or endorse any political party or candidate for elected offices,” she said. “It would be a conflict of interest to (continue as vice president).”

Parker residents Ronda Scholting and Nicholas Land, both seeking Meghann Silverthorn’s District G seat, are the only two candidates that have declared their intentions. Meek isn’t yet throwing her support behind either one, saying she needs to do more research.

The seats held by Doug Benevento, John Carson and Carrie Mendoza also are up for election. Carson is term-limited and cannot seek another term.

Meek firmly believes sweeping change is needed on the school board.

“I receive emails nearly on a daily basis from individuals frustrated that their voice is not being heard,” she said. “There are some clear problems that have been brought to light, but no attention has been brought to them by the board.”

Her concerns include a decrease in instructional time for high school students linked to a schedule change, inconsistencies she sees in DCSD’s budget and a perception that the board does not address issues voiced by community members.

“I feel like I have tried to use every channel available to work with the board to address concerns that are parent concerns, and parents have been ignored,” she said. “So the only alternative at this time is to find school board candidates that can restore the parent voice.”

Retired Douglas County elementary school teacher Mary Strain replaces Meek as vice president of Strong Schools. Strain and her husband are 20-year residents of Parker.


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