Voters favor continuity in school board race

Austin Swan, Reporter

On Nov. 7, 2017, the Durango 9R School Board had an election where three seats were available. The four year term for districts A, C, and E seats were available.

District A covers the Northwestern part of Durango as well as the land to the west of highway 550. District C covers the southern portion of the district which extends to the state line. District E covers the area northeast of downtown as well as the area east of the Animas.

Nancy Stubbs won re-election of the district A seat, Mick Souder won the district C seat, and Shere Byrd beat out Emily Newcomer for the District E seat.

Nancy Stubbs, the incumbent district A seat holder and School Board President, ran unopposed for re-election to keep the district A seat. Stubbs is a retired elementary school teacher with over 30 years of teaching experience.

Mick Souder ran unopposed for the district C seat. Souder was a teacher for 11 years, and served on the Durango 9R School Board previously from 2013-2015. Souder is a senior consulting technical solution manager at IBM.

Shere Byrd and Emily Newcomer ran for the District E seat, Byrd won by 29 votes.

Shere Byrd grew up in Durango and went through the local school system then travelled around for later schooling. After finishing later schooling, Byrd came back to Durango as a faculty member in the Biology department at Fort Lewis, where she taught cell and molecular biology for 25 years.

“It’s really exciting to be starting another term with some returning people and some new people” said Stubbs, “I think we have a really, really good group this time.” Stubbs has experience on the School Board and understands the needs that must be met in order to be successful.

“We are looking at the new program called Competency Based Learning which means that we are going to be more individualized in the approach to education” said Stubbs. Kids learn differently and the school board understands the importance of giving the students the ability to succeed.

“Individualized instruction is especially effective in working with at-risk students… students who would probably drop out of school, stay and graduate” says the National Dropout Prevention Center.

“We are hoping to make it so that it’s motivating for students, and that it’s more accepting and allowing for students to find their strength and succeed.” said Stubbs.

The new Board has a good mix of educators and community members who all care about the Durango 9R students. Even though not everyone will be ecstatic over the election results, the new School Board seems promising.