School candidate supports board’s reforms

Reynolds says changes need time; officials should listen

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Judi Reynolds is motivated to serve on the Douglas County School Board by her support for the board’s efforts to reform education. Her three school-aged children are an equally importance source of inspiration.

“The reasons I decided to run for the board revolve around a lot of the changes that happened over the course of the last four years,” said Reynolds, who serves on DCSD’s District Accountability Committee. “I feel it’s important that we give those things an opportunity to work.

“It also revolves around the fact that I have three children in the district. I feel that it’s really important we do everything as a community we can in order to give the best possible education to all of our kids.”

A former exercise physiologist with a master’s degree in education, Reynolds now is a stay-at-home mom and active school volunteer. In addition to the DAC, she serves on Franktown Elementary’s School Accountability Committee.

Reynolds’ family benefited from the educational options available in DCSD, she said, when one of her daughters took advanced math classes through the online eDCSD that weren’t available at Franktown Elementary. Those classes helped her “leap ahead” at middle school, Reynolds said.

She’s also seen the upside of site-based budgeting, a district policy that allows individual school leaders to decide how to spend the share of district money allocated to them.

“At Franktown, we sat down in our SAC and with our community and had discussions about what things we value as a community,” Reynolds said. “We never lost music or art or PE at our elementary school because we found ways to make things happen. We now have a reading recovery teacher and a gifted-and-talented facilitator – again because as a community, we decided those things were priorities.”

She also supports the revamped pay-for-performance and market-based pay programs for teachers, which proved controversial among some.

During four years of regular attendance at board meetings, Reynolds said she’s listened to teachers’ and community members’ concerns about the many changes enacted under the current school board. Even as she supports the reforms, she feels compassion for those reeling from them.

“There has been a tremendous amount of change in the district,” she said. “I certainly understand and have empathy. I think that’s largely what the board’s job is in that public comment arena, to sit and listen and take into consideration what people have to say about what’s going on.”

Serving on the board, “is going to require a thick skin,” she said. “But I think it also requires that ability to listen and pay attention.”

Among Reynolds’ top priorities is ensuring parental involvement.

“One of the most important things to me is we continue to educate our community about what their education options are for their kids,” she said. “Because of the way things are structured in our district, as parents we have an opportunity to have a very big voice in what goes on in our local buildings.”

Reynolds shrugs off any suggestion her Douglas County Republican Party endorsement will color her decisions while serving on the board.

“My decisions are based on my principles, and my belief on what’s right for kids,” she said. “I’m definitely not a politician. I just feel this is a place I can be effective, to do things that are right for our kids and our community.”

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