EQUITY & SUCCESS FOR ALL STUDENTS
FAMILY & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
INNOVATION & SUSTAINABILITY
Erika is a mom, environmental professional, and Vice President of the Durango 9-R Board of Education. She's running to continue her work to ensure ALL students graduate prepared to pursue their dreams and live their best life.
During Erika's year and a half as an appointed board member, she:
Spearheaded diversity, equity, and inclusion work
Enhanced family and community engagement
Led the communications effort to successfully pass the 2020 school bond
There is still much work to be done. Erika wants to continue elevating Durango 9-R from good to great.
Erika has lived in Durango with her husband, Patrick, and 11-year olds twins for ten years. Professionally, she's been an environmental science teacher, a Sustainability Director for a manufacturing company, and most recently the Communications Manager for a regional environmental nonprofit. She earned a B.A. in Biology from Brown University and a Master's degree in Environmental Policy and Communication from the University of Utah. She enjoys hiking, running, biking, reading, gardening, and most of all, adventuring with her family.
Like many districts, we continue to have unacceptable opportunity gaps. Students of color, economically disadvantaged students, English Language Learners, and special education students are not succeeding at the same levels as white and more economically advantaged students. COVID has only worsened the situation.
I believe all students have the ability to achieve and it's our mission to make sure that happens. We must proactively identify and remove barriers to success as well as implement best practices for achieving meaningful progress. I will continue to insist on transparency, data, and accountability for ensuring we serve all students. During my tenure on the Board I advocated for and helped develop the Board's Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Resolution, which passed unanimously, and makes a sustained commitment to comprehensively addressing this throughout the district.
STUDENT TESTING & RESULTS
It is essential that we use data to measure success and identify barriers and opportunities for improvement. State standards and other testing provide important data, but it is also critical we also rely on other sources to track progress. We must also assess students beyond traditional academics. Last year I successfully proposed adding Citizenship to our Results Policy. Graduating students who will be active and responsible citizens to their communities is now part of our mission along with our other policies to ensure students achieve social and emotional wellness and technological proficiency. We must identify creative, effective methods for assessing success in these areas as well in order to ensure students graduate able to pursue their dreams and live their best lives.
The state of Colorado has been failing our children by woefully underfunding our public schools for decades. In 2019 the Education Law Center gave Colorado a D for education funding and an F in funding effort, measured as education revenues as a percentage of state wealth.
I believe investing in a great education for all our students is not just morally the right thing to do, but smart economically as well. I will continue to advocate for better state funding as well as pursue local funding opportunities when appropriate. Creative partnerships, grants, and other funding opportunities can also help fill the gaps and better serve our students.
2020 SCHOOL BOND
I chaired the communications committee to pass the bond initiative in 2020 because I understood how critically our students needed that investment in infrastructure. Despite the state's failure to adequately fund education, I am incredibly grateful to live and serve in a community that has long been supportive of our schools and students. I remain committed to ensuring we spend your tax dollars responsibly, transparently, and sustainably. High-performance buildings and upgrades will improve student and staff health, safety, learning, and retention long-term while lowering utility and maintenance costs. Through the Bond to Business Program, we are also training and prioritizing local businesses for this work.
Lack of affordable and workforce housing threatens the nature our community. We need to take bold actions in order to continue to have a diverse community where the people who work here can afford to live here. The unattainable cost of housing challenges the District's ability to recruit and retain teachers and staff. I support collaborative and creative efforts to address this issue with the City of Durango, La Plata County, businesses, developers, nonprofits, and other major employers in the region.