|Board Member, Jeffco Public Schools, District 2|
|Years in position||2|
|Elections and appointments|
|Last election||November 5, 2013|
|First elected||November 5, 2013|
|High school||Evergreen High School|
|Bachelor's||Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute|
- 1 BIography
- 2 Elections
- 3 Campaign themes
- 4 What was at stake?
- 5 About the district
- 6 Recent news
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
- 9 References
Newkirk is a product of the Jeffco School System, having attended Wilmot Elementary, Evergreen Middle, and Evergreen High School. In college, Newkirk studied engineering, earning a degree from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. He and his wife, Melissa, who is also a Jeffco graduate, have three children currently in Jeffco schools.
- See also: Jeffco Public Schools elections (2013)
Newkirk ran for election against challenger Jeff Lamontagne on November 5, 2013.
|Jeffco Board of Education, Four-year term, District 2, 2013|
|Source: Jefferson County Board of Elections, "2013 Coordinated Election," November 27, 2013|
Newkirk listed his campaign priorities as the following on his website:
Set Goals: After running two successful businesses and serving on several nonprofit boards, I’ve learned to start with the end in mind, brainstorm all possible solutions, hear from all stakeholders, and then act on a well-defined plan that ultimately yields the best results. Our Jeffco community deserves to know which specific educational milestones we intend to improve upon, and how our resources will be allocated to help us achieve peak performance.
Listen, Listen, Listen, Decide: The school board needs to listen to parents, students, teachers, bus drivers, secretaries, maintenance staff, custodians, administrators, faith leaders, employers, and others to get firsthand knowledge of the solutions proposed for the complex issues we face in our public schools. A dictated, top down, one-size-fits-all strategy is not appropriate. The board must listen to all stakeholders; we need to make board meetings more accessible and use new technologies to reach our communities. Once this input has been gathered, the board needs to set goals and policies, and then allow the experts to carry them out.
Direct Decisions and Resources Closer to Classrooms: Jeffco is a large district with diverse needs. Flexibility at a local level, where decision makers are closest to the students, leads to more achievement. We need to assure that our principals have the skills to manage this process. We need to encourage parents to be active in our schools and assure their voices, as well as those of the staff, are involved in what is best for their students. The board should design processes that focus on the needs of each student in each classroom and assure that the resources are in the schools to accomplish the goals set at the school level.
Let’s Raise the Ceiling and the Floor: Many Jeffco students are capable of absorbing more than one year’s worth of information each school year. These students must have the resources and support they need to be challenged during their years in the Jeffco schools. Each student should have academic options that challenge them and be given the opportunity to excel at a pace that matches their abilities. Likewise, some students need more than one year’s worth of learning to catch up. We need to assure those resources are in place as well.
Provide Enough Slots for the Programs Parents Want: Many of our option programs, neighborhood programs, and charter programs have long waitlists; so many students don’t have access to the programs most desirable to their family. The board needs to evaluate waitlists and geographic distribution of programs to assure that zip codes do not dictate a Jeffco student’s education.
Use Technology to Support Better Education: We need to assure that technology is used primarily to enhance learning, and it must be done in a way that keeps everyone’s data safe.
Education Options: As the father of three beautiful daughters I know that each child is unique and their needs can be very different. I totally support Jeffco having many choice options available. These should include charters, home school options as well as alternative programs and programs for gifted students and students with special needs. In fact this year my oldest daughter is enrolled in the Jeffco virtual academy, this is the best option for her and we are grateful it is available. Unfortunately in Jeffco many of our charter and options schools as well as choice programs have wait lists meaning families are not getting the educational choices they prefer. This needs to change so that whether you want your child in a neighborhood school, or a choice school or program that should be possible.
Note: The above quote is from the candidate's website, which may include some typographical or spelling errors.
What was at stake?
Three seats on the board were at stake in this election in Districts 1, 2 and 5. All incumbents of those districts were ineligible to run for another term because of Amendment 17 to the Colorado Constitution, which states that no "elected official of any [...] school district [...] shall serve more than two consecutive terms in office." As a result, all board members voted in this election will be new.
Issues in the election
Stances on Amendment 66
Colorado voters cast ballots on Amendment 66, a constitutional amendment that increases income taxes to support public education. The following table lists the publicly stated position of each Board of Education candidate on the amendment.
|Stances on Amendment 66|
|Gordon Van de Water||Support|
Issues in the district
Superintendent Cindy Stevenson announced plans to resign from the district shortly after the 2013 school board election. Stevenson left the district to work with the Colorado Association of School Executives after 12 years as superintendent. During a board meeting on February 8, the outgoing superintendent noted that the current board wanted changes in district leadership and she felt a lack of respect from new board members. Stevenson's speech drew cheers from supporters in the audience and boos for board members. Board member Julie Williams countered that Stevenson had not attempted to work with the board, citing her intention to leave the district shortly after the election. The board is working with district officials to handle day-to-day affairs through the remainder of the school year rather than appointing an interim superintendent.
About the district
- See also: Jeffco Public Schools, Colorado
Jefferson County outperformed the rest of Colorado in terms of graduation rate, median household income and poverty rate. The average household income in Jefferson County was $67,827 compared to $57,685 for the state of Colorado. The poverty rate in Colorado Springs was 8.5% compared to 12.5% for the entire state. The graduation rate was 93.2% compared to 89.7% statewide.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "John + Newkirk + Jeffco + Public + Schools"
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- John Newkirk for Jeffco School Board, "About John," accessed November 3, 2013
- Colorado TRACER, "Candidate Detail," Accessed December 20, 2013
- Jeffco GOP, "Jeffco GOP Approved School Board Candidates," accessed November 3, 2013
- Facebook, "Mike Rosen," accessed November 3, 2013
- Marijo Tinlin My Colorado View, "Colorado Women’s Alliance Announces their Endorsements in JeffCo School Board Elections," published October 17, 2013
- John Newkirk for Jeffco School Board, "Issues," accessed November 3, 2013
- Colorado Community Media, "Jeffco: Candidates' views differ on Amendment 66," Accessed November 4, 2013
- 9News, "Jefferson County Schools Superintendent: 'I will be gone by the end of the month'," February 9, 2014
- Zahira Torres, Denver Post, "Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Cindy Stevenson will leave post early," February 8, 2014
- U.S. Census, "Quick Facts: Jefferson County, Accessed October 28, 2013
- Colorado Secretary of State, “Voter Registration Numbers,” Accessed October 28, 2013