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Well, friends, the Campaign for Excellence has prevailed.  I want to thank every last voter for placing their confidence in me, for listening to what I had to say, and for understanding that I intend to restore excellence to our Southwest Denver Schools.

I also want to thank my opponent, Ismael Garcia, for honoring us all with a hard-fought campaign.  There is no doubt that Ismael, watching our DPS kids enter Community College of Denver ridden with academic problems, feels deeply the need to make a serious change.  Since he and I live very near one another, I look forward to working with him to make our Southwest Denver community stronger, safer and more responsive to the needs of our kids.

I cannot forget the hard work of Michelle Moss for these last 8 years.  She has always had the needs of our Southwest Denver students in mind, sometimes having to make unpopular decisions, but always with their success as a goal.  She has never shied away from the realities and the complex make-up of our diverse district.  She braved the daunting work of the school board, sometimes suffering under extreme health conditions.  She has never forgotten about Southwest Denver, and I am thankful for her.  She has been a wonderful mentor and supporter throughout this process, and I am proud to call her my friend.  Thank you, Michelle!

So, what are my priorities going forward?  There are lots of things that need to be worked on, but I include the following in my long laundry list:

  • Reeling back the exodus of students to surrounding county schools by studying the reasons why parents choose to leave Denver, by marketing our programs, and by reinforcing existing programs to make our Denver schools more attractive.
  • Exploring ways to expand vocational/technical programs so that kids that aren’t college-bound are still offered options.
  • Developing the framework of a much more robust teacher evaluation and mentoring program within 90 days of being sworn in.
  • Initiating an external audit of the way money filters through our DPS system, so that we finally provide transparency and accountability to the dedicated property tax payers of Southwest Denver and so that we can better align resources to actual goals.

Further, as I said during the Bear Valley forum last month, I commit to opening a communication conduit with you.  This blog is one step in the right direction.  Please feel free to leave comments that are respectful and grounded in a spirit of collaboration and idea-sharing.  If you have information to share with me, feel free to use the form on the Contact page, but always feel free to email me or call me.

Once again, thank you, Southwest Denver, for putting your trust in me.  Together we can work to bring excellence back to our schools!