Creede School hosts Meet the Candidates Night
CREEDE — The Creede School District’s Government Class recently organized a Meet the Candidates Night. Two incumbents and one newcomer are on the Nov. 7 ballot, running for two seats. All three attended the forum that was open to the public.
For the past several years, students with the Government Class have hosted a Meet the Candidate Night, giving the community the opportunity to hear from their local candidates and for candidates to learn the issues and topics of interest form the community. Students, with the help of teacher Teresa Wall, prepare the event, gather questions, and keep the forum going during the event.
It began with introductions of the candidates beginning with incumbent candidate Creede School Board President Casey Adelman. Adelman stated that he was first elected to the board in 2018.
“We have dealt with many issues since I was elected to the board, and I have never regretted it once. I have three students in the school and another one coming up. It feels very important to be involved at the beginning and that is why I got involved to begin with,” Adelman said.
Adelman finished by saying that he has worked through several goals with the current board and would like to see others come to fruition.
“We have achieved a lot of the goals we set but I would like to see the others finished,” he said.
Incumbent Vice President Kara Brittain was next to introduce herself, saying that she grew up in the Valley as the daughter of an educator which has prompted her to be involved as an adult.
“I was appointed to the board a few years ago and then elected to the board after that. I feel like I have served the board with a lot of openness and integrity. I believe in listening and finding solutions to issues,” Brittain said.
The third candidate, Lori Heinrich, said she began coming to Creede in the mid-70s for summer vacations and then moved to the area five years ago.
“Two of my children are in the school and I am a mom of four. I have had children in the school system for 27 years and when we came to Creede I began working as a sub for this district. I feel that I have an inside understanding of the job and feel the school is a crucial part of the foundation of our community,” Heinrich said.
After the initial introductions, the forum was opened for questions from the public which began with a request to give some educational background from each candidate.
Adelman said he attended Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC) in Rangely, where he received his associate degree in applied science. He also earned his commercial pilot’s certificate with instrument and multi-engine ratings, and his Certified Flight Instructor Certificate with instrument instructor rating. Adelman also serves on the Creede Volunteer Fire Department.
Brittain was a Boettcher Scholar — competitive full-ride scholarship offered to resident students of Colorado — and graduated from Denver University Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s of fine arts. Her passion for education started early in her childhood. Her mother was a teacher for 27 years, and will soon begin her fifth year as principal of Sargent High School. Brittain has also served with the Creede Early Learning Center and other community activities, including owning her own business.
Heinrich graduated from Longview Highschool in Longview, Texas, and was a National Boren Scholar and attended college, having left a year before she graduated which remains one of her life regrets. Heinrich has worked in biotech firms and civil engineering firms for several years. As the wife of an Airforce pilot, Heinrich has a rich background in odd jobs throughout her career, having moved to several locations through the years.
The next question posed by a member of the public was how religious and political influences have begun to amplify a lot of school board elections and the focus has shifted away from students and how each candidate felt about the current tensions throughout districts nationwide.
Brittain was the first to respond saying, “My first gut reaction to the question is that the best way for a school board to adhere to the job of the school board is to stick to policy and try our best to follow state law as those changes come down the pipe. I think the job of the school board is to follow policy and to interpret the policy to the best of our ability and to implement all the various components to follow the policy. Creede is such a wonderful place that is a melting pot of so many vast and varied opinions and perspectives and I do think our children are being raised in such a wonderful area. Our job as a school board is to encourage all of those different voices to be heard.”
Adelman was next to respond saying, “I think the bottom line is respect. In our mission statement, we have the word inclusive. We don’t discriminate people’s beliefs and it comes down to respect. We don’t treat someone different because of what they believe or their sexual orientation.”
Heinrich was the last to respond saying, “The job of a school board is first and foremost to educate our children. I think that secondarily is to prepare them for the world they are entering, and I think that in order to do that, it is imperative that we listen, that we seek to understand and that we are knowledgeable about what the law requires of us as an educational institution and that we prioritize the academic advancement of our students.”
Several other questions were posed to the panel throughout the night. Election Day is Nov. 7.