DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — In Douglas County, the 2021 Board of Education election is pitting two sides against each other: the Kids First DCSD slate and the CommUnity Matters Slate.
Mike Peterson, a Larkspur resident running with the Kids First group said pandemic policies, including the Tri-County Health Department’s school mask mandate, are part of the reason he decided to run.
“We think if the decisions can be made locally by the principals, teachers and parents working together, they’re going to be able to get a school experience that reflects those smaller communities, which are very diverse throughout Douglas County,” Peterson said.
Fellow Kids First candidate Christy Williams, of Castle Rock, said she’s advocating for people who don’t feel that the current school board is listening to their perspectives.
“What I would hope for our community is that they can look at the board come November and say that person up there represents me,” Williams said.
Both Williams and Peterson said they hope the focus of school board meetings returns to academics and education, including improving literacy rates.
While both slates have some common goals, the two incumbents on the CommUnity Matters slate have pushed for a safe return to in-person learning and following public health orders. School board director Kevin Leung, of Castle Pines Village, said he understands the frustration in the community related to the pandemic, and said he’s been listening intently to all sides.
“At the end of the day, we all want the same thing — for our 65,000 students to be able to learn, to go to school safely,” Leung said.
Incumbent Krista Holtzmann, of Parker, said the pandemic has been a hard time for the district, but she hopes to focus on the progress of the previous years.
“We’ve been working on improving our compensation and benefits for four years now. We're excited to continue doing that,” Holtzmann said.
Holtzmann and Leung were both elected in 2017 as part of a slate that flipped the Douglas County school board from a majority that had supported school vouchers.
The other candidates running for Douglas County Board of Education are Becky Myers and Kaylee Winegar on the Kids First slate; Juli Watkins and Ruby Martinez on the CommUnity Matters slate, and Justin Mathew, who is not aligned with either.