New candidates mean school board race is on

The addition of a fourth and fifth candidate to the race for three school board seats means School District 51 will have an election Nov. 3.

Amber Sigler, 30, and Greg Mikolai, 47, both of Palisade, had their petitions for school board candidacy approved Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

Sigler and Mikolai will run in District E against Palisade attorney Rose Pugliese, who became a candidate Monday.

Potential candidates have until 4 p.m. today to turn in petitions with 50 valid signatures from Mesa County voters. Incumbents Harry Butler and Leslie Kiesler were running unopposed as of Thursday afternoon in Districts C and D, respectively.
Sigler said she wanted to run for school board “for the kids.”

She said she’s impressed with the board’s recent work and wants to help continue its efforts and make room in the school district’s budget to save programs while remaining fiscally responsible.

Sigler has a 6-year-old son who attends Taylor Elementary School. She grew up going to school in the Grand Valley and graduated from Central High School.

If elected, Sigler said she will aim to “give our teachers as much support as possible.”

Sigler has served as a substitute teacher in District 51 and coached swimming at Central and Palisade high schools for seven years. She now works for Huddleston-Berry Engineering & Testing LLC in Grand Junction and enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve in 2007.

Mikolai, who works at Rocky Mountain PBS, has a son attending Mount Garfield Middle School and a son attending Taylor Elementary School.

Mikolai said he picked up his application and petition forms last week when he heard there were no candidates for his district. District E representative Ron Rowley is term-limited on the school board.

“I felt I needed to step up and try to work with the school board to keep our educational system going,” Mikolai said.

One topic Mikolai would like to explore is adopting a version of a year-round schedule for District 51.

“I know Rocky Mountain Elementary School is on that schedule, and they’re happy with it. Maybe that’s something we should consider for all our schools,” he said.

Mikolai serves on the board of directors for The Art Center.


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