On our ballots: Poudre School District Board of Education districts E and G

Isabel Brown and Brooke Pippin

graphic illustration of horsetooth rock with filled out ballots floating in the wind above
(Graphic Illustration by Abby Flitton | The Collegian)

Fort Collins voters will decide among nine candidates in the Nov. 2 election to fill four seats within the Poudre School District Board of Education. 

In order to help voters navigate their options, The Collegian has compiled an informational guide to each candidate’s platform. Included in this article are the candidates running for districts E and G in Fort Collins. 

District G: Jessica Zamora 

Q: What made you want to run for the Board of Education? 

A: “I am running for the Board of Education to serve our students, teachers and community,” Jessica Zamora said. “I am passionate about learning everything our district has to offer, from the day-to-day experiences of staff and students to the big-picture goals of preparing students for future employment opportunities. My investment in education, and specifically in the Poudre School District, provide(s) me with the background to understand how decisions affect classrooms.” 

Q: What specific goals would you like to accomplish if elected? 

A: 

  1. “Hire and retain staff. We have jobs available within our district that are difficult to hire for. We must retain the staff we have to ensure we minimize the disruptions to education.”
  2. “Build community. Our community is struggling right now; many families feel ignored. We cannot build a successful school district without everyone invested in common goals.”
  3. “Advocate for students. We have an active student population, many of whom are willing to openly share their story. We as adults owe it to them to listen with intention and lift their voices when we discuss the challenges and solutions of our district.” 

“We have a wonderful district that cares deeply about students — it is apparent at every school I visit,” Zamora said. “If we have conversations that start from a place of care and common goals, we will develop the solutions that are best for the community we serve.” 

District G: Brandi Aspinall

Q: What made you want to run for the Board of Education? 

A: “I have a passion to be part of uplifting the next generation to be thoughtful and wise leaders of our great country,” Brandi Aspinall said. “I am running for three specific reasons: children’s educational excellence, parents’ involvement and supporting our teachers. We must give children hope and inspire this next generation to be great in all aspects of their lives through fundamental education.”

Q: What specific goals would you like to accomplish if elected?

A: “As a board director, I would like to partner with the other BoE directors and Superintendent (Brian) Kingsley to identify root causes of these academic shortfalls and develop and implement a strategic plan for resolving those disparities. Additionally, I would like to provide parents with greater transparency by performing a curriculum audit.” 

“The decisions my fellow board members and I make will directly impact my family as well as the broader community,” Aspinall said. “I believe personal political agendas should not be a part of any classroom, and the goal of the BoE should solely focus on educational excellence.”

District E: Carolyn Reed

Q: What made you want to run for the Board of Education? 

A: “In 2014, I was appointed to the Board (of Education),” Carolyn Reed said. “I attended PSD and so did my six children, so I thought it was a great opportunity. I was so grateful for the education provided by PSD schools. I would like to continue serving and improving the district with our new superintendent.” 

Q: What specific goals would you like to accomplish if elected?

A: “I am both committed and excited about the new Bamford Elementary School, as well as the new schools opening next year. I am also interested in making sure that career planning and the trades are supported through the Futures Lab. I hope to see more partnerships and internships with the business community. I will work closely with the superintendent to make sure we support and keep the staff we have while attracting new staff.”

“Because of COVID(-19), districts have had to adapt quickly to keep students and staff safe,” Reed said. “It hasn’t always been perfect, and there has been some angst about certain COVID(-19) protocols. The district is focused on keeping kids and staff in school and safe because kids learn best in school.”

District E: Jeannette Gaiter 

Q: What made you want to run for the Board of Education?

A: “I’ve always loved the education process, and when I realized that 44.8% of third-grade children in the Poudre School District could not read at grade level, I decided I want to work to improve the situation for these children,” Jeannette Gaiter said. “I also want to see that parents’ rights are respected and open the possibility for collaboration with them. Students will thrive when we work together.”

Q: What specific goals do you hope to accomplish if elected?

A:

  1. “I would like to establish a respectful and professional climate when meeting with parents. The Board of Education serves the people of the Poudre District.”
  2. “I would like to understand what works well in the school system and implement those items throughout the district.”
  3. “I would like to see both reading and math skills improve throughout the district.”
  4. “I would like to see vocational skills being taught in the schools for children who are not interested in college and for critical thinking to be taught K-12.”
  5. “I would like to see the teachers better compensated and get more help in the classrooms.”

“I am so excited for the possible opportunity to serve my community by being on the Board of Education,” Gaiter said. “I look forward to serving the parents, students, teachers and staff of the Poudre School District.”

Read about the candidates for Districts C and D here.

Brooke Pippin and Isabel Brown can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian