The Vail Daily is hosting a Q&A with the 11 candidates vying for five Eagle County Schools Board seats. The questionnaires will be executed in the order in which the candidates appear on the ballot. All principals are elected at-large in the county election, which means that eligible voters in the school district vote for one candidate from each principal district. Ballots will be mailed out on October 8.
name: Susan Cunningham
Occupation: CEO, SGLC Consulting Inc.
Place of residence:Edward
Length of Residence in Eagle County: Five years
District Director: District G (Avon Elementary, Brush Creek Elementary, Eagle Valley Elementary, Edwards Elementary, Homestake Peak School, Berry Creek Middle School, Battle Mountain High School and Eagle Valley High School)
Have you served on any other boards/commissions/councils in Eagle County or elsewhere? No.
Tell us about your volunteer experiences, your involvement in education and service to the community in which you live. How will these experiences help you bring value to the board?
- Cherry Creek School District
- AP/IB Examination Invigilator
- Support parent for the International Baccalaureate, including exam preparation, interview skills preparation, oral exam preparation, research camp, academic research and application process, CV writing, Fund raising
- Backup parent for varsity lacrosse and varsity swimming
- Eagle County/Vail Mountain School: parent volunteer
These experiences provided me with a wide range of knowledge about the curriculum, student engagement, and working with faculty, staff, and school administration to support student success.
What has been your interaction so far with Eagle County Schools? Ongoing attendance at school board meetings and county commissioner meetings, meeting with Superintendent Philip Qualman, ongoing communication with District Executive Assistant Missy Gerard, as well as ongoing communication with ratepayers, parents, and students .
What value will you bring to the school board? I am dedicated to student progress. I want to empower parents, students, and teachers to use their voices with a focus on improving curriculum and academic success. I have experience in the private and public school sector and various courses in International Baccalaureate, AP, Dual Enrollment and Common Core. This, coupled with the fact that I have the time and passion to engage in whatever it takes to make positive changes in the education of our children, will bring extreme value to our board.
Why do you want to serve on the school board? I care about Eagle County students and their success. Third-grade reading and eighth-grade math are major milestones in the learning journey. Eagle County is deficient in these areas. Based on 2019 CMAS scores, 62.8% of third graders are not proficient in reading and 66.7% of eighth graders are not proficient in math. We need to improve student skills and solve this crisis.
What has the current school board done well? And what could he have done better? The only way to judge the current accomplishments of the board is to look at the results of what has been achieved. We are currently in a crisis situation, so I don’t know of any other way to determine their success. The current board could have been better prepared for reopening this fall to address the learning gaps that occurred when students were out of school.
If elected, what is the main thing you would like to see the school board accomplish during your term? Improved fluency in reading, writing and arithmetic.
For the past several years, Eagle County Schools has prioritized equity practices in its classrooms. Do you think the district meets the needs of all students equally? What could he do better to close the achievement gaps between students? Nope [the district isn’t equally serving the needs of all students].
First, recognize where each student is strong and/or behind. Then, create programs to encourage the continued growth of outstanding students and programs to improve the skills of struggling students. Promote parent involvement by first giving them a public platform to voice their feedback-driven concerns. Encourage parent engagement in curriculum goals, mentoring/tutoring programs.
What steps can be taken to address staffing issues within the school district? Provide excellent compensation to teachers who deliver excellent results.
What specific improvements would you like to see made in the area of student learning/curriculum? Focus on the current crisis by improving third-grade reading and eighth-grade math skills. Kindergarten through third grade students learn to read, after third grade students read to learn. Eighth grade math skills are necessary for success in high school math and everyday experiences. From learning algebra to working on a cash register, students need to master eighth grade math.