District 51 Board of Education candidate, District D, Tom Parrish
Q: Why are you the best candidate to represent your district on the board?
A: I bring experience, passion and a belief in the power of public education to affect the lives and future of our community’s children. I strongly believe a strong and accountable education system is intimately tied to the economic vitality of our Grand Valley. I have been directly involved in serving and advocating for the educational needs of our community’s children for 33 years. Over the past four years I have served on the Board of Education. I also had the privilege of serving on the Colorado Association of School Boards Board of Directors, an experience allowing me to network with school board members from across the state focusing on issues and legislation specific to education in Colorado. I believe that I have the knowledge and experience necessary to make the changes needed in our school system to see that all our students receive a quality education and are prepared to meet the educational and work force challenges ahead of them.
Q: Do you support the bond measure and mill levy override? Why or why not?
A: I am supportive of both the bond measure and mill levy override. Both initiatives reflect real needs which directly impact the quality of education we can provide our students and the ability of our community to attract and retain new businesses.
Q: What are your impressions of new initiatives, such as performance-based learning and strategic teacher compensation? What other initiatives or policy changes would you like to enact?
A: I am in favor of both initiatives and the premise behind each initiative. Performance-based learning takes the focus away from seat time for the student and strategic teacher compensation no longer rewards years of service for the teacher. Both initiatives focus on individual learning, performance and accountability. With performance-based learning, students take a greater responsibility for their learning and teachers are empowered to meet each student’s specific learning needs. A move from the old assembly-line model of education toward a dynamic student-centered learning model.
It is essential that the school district continue to take the lead to build community partnerships and collaborate with a wide range of community stakeholders and state groups and agencies to develop a community action plan to address the issues of bullying and student suicide in our district and community.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge District 51 faces and what can you do as a board member to address it?
A: The lack of trust among staff, parents and community members is the greatest challenge we face as a school district. This lack of trust impacts all we do and need to do in order to move our school district forward. As a board member I must have the expectation for myself and the system to be open, honest and timely with accurate information at all times. The district must demonstrate that it is effective, efficient and transparent with our taxpayers’ money.