District 6 board of education members Mathews and Talley declare re-election bids | #Education | #sextrafficing | #childsaftey

Two Greeley-Evans School District 6 Board of Education members have declared their plans to run for re-election this fall.

Board president Michael Mathews and board member Ray Talley are in the process of completing required paperwork and the process to get their names on the November ballot.

Mathews, 46, was elected to his first term in 2017. He is the lead pastor at Saint Patrick Presbyterian Church in Greeley, and he has five sons who attend District 6 schools. Talley, 29, was elected to a two-year term in 2019. A school social worker in the St. Vrain School District, Talley has two young children, including a son in elementary school in District 6.

School board candidates in Colorado must file a candidate affidavit with the secretary of state’s office within 10 days of becoming a candidate, according to information on the website of Secretary of State Jena Griswold. A person becomes a candidate upon publicly announcing the intent to run for office and receiving a contribution or making an expenditure in support of that person’s candidacy.

Talley said one of his reasons for running again is to be part of a board that reflects the diversity of the community. Talley is Black, Native American and gay. Mathews offered his experience as one reason for seeking another term. His children are another motivating factor.

“There is always a need for parents on the board,” Mathews said. “It matters the most to us.”

In November, the board will have two new members and as many as four. In addition to Talley and Mathews going for re-election, board members Rhonda Solis and John Haefeli will hit the term limit allowed for holding the office as they come to the end of their second terms.

Board Vice President Terri Pappas’ second term expires in 2023. Natalie Mash was appointed to the board in 2018 and elected the following year. Pepper Mueller is in her first term, which expires in 2023.

“I see how cohesive that board is, and I think it’s important to keep that going,” Talley said. “I look at boards that aren’t as cohesive, and it’s difficult to get work done.”

District 6 Board of Education member Ray Talley listens as Jackson Elementary School principal Ingrid Dillehay speaks in March 2021 about the new library during a tour for the District 6 board of the newly remodeled Greeley school. (Alex McIntyre/The Greeley Tribune)

Talley said if he’s elected for a second term one of his areas of focus and interest will be emphasizing the work and health of teachers, staff and administrators as the school system recovers from its experience with the pandemic. Talley said there are staff in the district, including teachers, who might not have as much in-person experience with students. He wants to make sure they’re equipped, prepared and supported to deal with the change.

“It was a really tough year for our administration and teachers as they navigated the online platforms and figured out how to provide access,” Talley said. “It’s ensuring there is extra support there for staff. Mental health support or community support. Students are going to come back with a lot of stuff, and it’s going to be difficult for them.”

Talley and Mathews both said the renewal of the mill levy override, MLO, passed by district voters in 2017 was another reason they chose to run again. Mathews called the renewal one of his “top priorities” if given a second term.

The MLO was projected to raise about $14 million annually for seven years, according to information on the District 6 website. The district began receiving funds from the MLO in January 2018. There are four sources within the district that receive MLO funding: safety and security; recruiting and retaining high-quality staff; technology; and student achievement.

District 6 Board of Education President Michael Mathews listens as Jackson Elementary School principal Ingrid Dillehay, not pictured, speaks in March 2021 about the new SmartLab during a tour for the District 6 Board of Education of the newly remodeled Greeley school. (Alex McIntyre/The Greeley Tribune)

Mathews said the passage of the MLO was key in the district being able to provide a computer device to every student with the onset of the pandemic. He also has a goal to establish an individual learning plan for every student with a second term. The plan is a part of the district’s Innovation 2030 strategic plan.

“We want individual learning plans for all of our students that follow them through their education and helps parents and teachers know what the objectives are and the goals to get them on the right track, so they are career- or college-ready,” Mathews said. “We think that is certainly possible. So they not only graduate with a diploma, but with a real idea what to do next.”

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