A family law attorney, Susan Harmon is a current member of the Jefferson County Schools Board of Education. She has lived in Jeffco for 17 years, after earning an undergraduate degree from CU Boulder, and a law degree from Santa Clara University.
Campaign website: www.SusanforJeffcoKids.com
Why do you want to serve on the school board?
I played a part in restoring civility to the board room— one of my campaign promises. The board also made progress in addressing competitiveness in teacher salaries, and growth issues, complicated when the mill and bond didn’t pass. We have more work to do and I believe I am the right person to continue this work. I am a parent of two Jeffco students, and am deeply invested in the success of all students’ education.
I have spent my professional career working to find best outcomes for families and children as well as serving on school PTA and Accountability committee, working with educators and parents to meet the needs of all students and families.
Your top three priorities if elected?
Community engagement work in support of the transition of sixth graders into our middle schools. I am excited about providing the enhanced learning opportunities to all sixth graders, including advanced math, foreign language, band, and so many other electives.
Another top priority is to address the inequities that exist in our programs and facilities to ensure that all children have learning environments they can thrive in.
Working harder to find ways to close the achievement gap for our challenged learners, diverse populations and children living in poverty, along with the managing the continued challenges faced in our school facilities in high growth areas.
What is one idea you have to improve student readiness/achievement?
Student readiness and achievement would improve by providing access to early childhood education with pre-school and full day kindergarten for all children. We also need to ensure that all students have opportunities and access to multiple pathways for success while in school and after graduation.
What can be done to allow the district to keep its best and most experienced teachers at a higher rate?
Having great teachers in every classroom is critical to the success of all students. As a Board member I continue to view this as a priority. We are not competitive with neighboring districts in terms of teacher compensation which hurts us as a district. We have restored trust and value to our teachers in the work we have done at the board table over the last two years; but we have more work to do.
Support another ballot measure to help the district pay for capital improvements?
The state continues to underfund K-12 education. I’ve worked with legislators to address the inadequate funding from the state and the direct impact on Jeffco students and families. Every neighboring district that asked voters for funding last year received it except for us. If this underfunding continues, we have the option of returning to voters with a bond proposal, so we can make necessary facility improvements on our aging buildings and address inequities. The average age of buildings in Jeffco is 50. The disparity in our facilities between schools and populations will continue unless we have additional resources for ongoing critical needs, including busing and programs. Our families deserve better.