On November 3rd, Douglas County School District students got a day off from their usual Tuesday at school, giving them an enjoyable several hours to do what they usually couldn’t. But while they were on a break, their leadership in the district was turned on its head.
In the recent Douglas County Election, registered voters in the area were asked to vote for mayors, laws, and one of the central topics, DCSD’s Board of Education. This year’s voters were asked to choose whether the incumbents Kevin Larsen, Craig Richardson, and Richard Robbins- formerly elected BOE members- should stay, or if they should be replaced by newcomers Anne-Marie Lemieux, David Ray, and Wendy Vogel in Douglas County’s A, C, and F Districts.
When it was time to count the votes, the newcomers had secured their spots in the BOE until 2019. On average, the newcomers had won with 58.7% of the votes in their favor, or approximately 48,415 votes out of 82,454 per candidate according to GoVoteColorado.com.
During a panel for all 6 candidates of the district on October 22nd at Mountain Vista High School, the soon-to-be elected Anne-Marie Lemieux, who planned on running 5 years ago, claimed that the board of education and DCSD Superintendent Liz-Celina Fagen had tried to “reinvent American education”, and that she was “horrified” by what she had seen during a BOE meeting. Lemieux told the Chronicle in a statement:
“I am very excited and honored to represent the students, employees and families of DCSD as school board Director for the next four years. I appreciate all the hard work of hundreds of volunteers that helped inform voters across our district. While I understand we have a lot of work ahead of us; I am encouraged that our community is ready to move forward in a positive direction that focuses on students’ educational needs, our schools’ capital requirements, and our fiscal responsibility to tax payers.”
On the other hand, David Ray, who was a principal in DCSD for 23 years, before retiring two years ago. He believes the teachers are “oppressed”, and claims to run “for the kids”. He says that “if seven people think the same way, then six of them don’t have to be there” when asked about the current school board.
With the final newly elected candidate, there is Wendy Vogel, a former prison case manager and also a chairman on both a school and district accountability committee. She is for “what’s right for our kids”, wants more transparency involving sunshine laws, and also less focus on politics, more on students. She wants the opinions of the community, seeing as they last surveyed them “years ago”.
With the new candidates taking their places and preparing for their first meetings, the parents, students, and teachers of DCSD believe they will do their jobs the way they were promised during their now successful campaigns.
John Boughey, Staff Reporter