Candidate profile: Theresa Shelton

For Jeffco Public Schools District 2

Posted 10/13/21

Profession: Licensed CPA with 35 years of experience in finance and operations; member of Colorado State University’s Accounting Advisory Board. Residence: Golden Campaign Website: …

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Candidate profile: Theresa Shelton

For Jeffco Public Schools District 2

Posted

Profession: Licensed CPA with 35 years of experience in finance and operations; member of Colorado State University’s Accounting Advisory Board.

Residence: Golden

Campaign Website: www.sheltonforjeffcostudents.com

Why are you seeking this office?

As the mom of three Jeffco students a decade apart, I know great things happen in Jeffco daily. However, over the last six years, we have declining academic achievement, increased spending (30%) and declining enrollment (6000 fewer students). I’m an experienced board member with 35 years of financial and operating expertise. Addressing these challenges requires bold leadership, collaborative problem solving, and a track record of success; I have the qualifications necessary to do this work.

What makes you the best person for the job?

Jeffco will spend $1.4 billion this year. I have analyzed and allocated multi-billion-dollar budgets and will work to ensure Jeffco spends money supporting student success. I have a son that graduated and two girls in Jeffco middle school. I know how good it can be and I know it is critical to see improvement now. Our children have attended our neighborhood schools and public schools of choice; I support parents and choice.

What are your top three priorities if elected?

First, ensuring academic achievement improves. Nearly 50% of Jeffco’s third graders were not reading at grade level before COVID and it has only worsened. Next, increasing fiscal accountability; with a $1.4 billion dollar budget we deserve to know which programs are working and which should be stopped. We must spend wisely. And last, we must have a board that prioritizes listening to all members of the community, not just those with ties to special interests.

Student test score results were flagging across the district, even before COVID-19. What is the number one way you’d seek to improve student achievement?

First and foremost, the board must admit academic achievement is a problem, and then prioritize the systems, structures, and processes for improving it. That requires identifying and replicating things that are working, but ending spending on those that don’t, or have only marginal benefit. We must also allocate the millions in additional federal funds thoughtfully and intentionally using targeted interventions to ensure each Jeffco student has access to the quality education they deserve.

What do you believe is the most important thing to keep in mind when making Covid-related decisions?

I know children need the option of in-person learning 100% of the time and access to extracurricular activities. They need some semblance of “normal” while being safe. But we must start quantifying the benefits and harms from each COVID mitigation strategy. The soaring mental health crisis and increasingly disruptive behavior in many schools directed at staff and school property is real. We must respect our families and show them a data-driven path to normal.

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