Q&A with new Gunnison Watershed School District Board member – the Crested Butte News

Objective to involve parents on both sides of the valley

[ By Kendra Walker ]

On November 8, Mandy Roberts became the newest member of the Gunnison Watershed School Board when she recited her oath in front of a large crowd at the Crested Butte Community School. Roberts petitioned for election to fill one of the four open seats and was nominated along with incumbents Tyler Martineau, LeeAnn Mick, Dave Taylor and Anne Brookhart. The Crested Butte News reached out to her to find out more about her, her goals for the school district, and her thoughts on the controversial topics responsible for bringing the school district into the limelight right now. Here is what she had to say.

How long have you lived in Gunnison Valley?
My family and I moved to the beautiful Gunnison Valley seven years ago. Since that time our family has grown from seven to eight. The area is a great place to raise a family, horses, cats, dogs, chickens, ducks and goats.

What is your involvement in the community / how would people know you?
Our church is my community project. I spend quite a bit of time on many projects for the ministry. I travel daily in the community to meet new friends and strengthen relationships with the community. I jokingly say, “The grocery store is my home away from home.” I really enjoy chatting with people in the community, from the grocery store to the post office, and all my stops in between.

What do you do on a typical weekend?
On a typical weekend, we all enjoy family time. You can find us at a mountain climbers game, hiking, fishing, camping or just enjoying what the valley and its surroundings have to offer. I have a lot of hobbies. Besides my family, I like to go horseback riding, play guitar and hunt.

What inspired you to run for the school board seat?
I have often thought about how I could contribute to the community through the school board. I certainly have a skill set of homeschooled kids that the other board members don’t have. When I learned of the opening for a school board seat, I gave the opportunity to pray and think seriously, but not for long. I wanted to make my contribution to this community. Something I like? Help make positive choices in the best interests of the children. I love children and look forward to seeing the children in our community succeed.

What are your overall goals to accomplish over the next four years as a school board member?
During my four years as a school board member, a main goal is to involve parents on both sides of the valley. I believe it is crucial for the education of our children to have the participation of parents. There are a number of issues that need to be addressed. For example, one important situation is the CBCS cooking and school meals program. There are others, such as the necessary school crossing guards. I think these are issues that need to be resolved quickly as a community.

What did you think of your first meeting with a full house in CB and Zoom?
I was delighted to see parents and other valley residents attending the September and November council meetings. I truly believe that parents should be active in their children’s lives, including engaged participation in the school system which takes up a large part of a child’s development.

Given the obvious interest and ongoing controversy with things like the district mask tenure and the critical race theory debate – where do you stand on these big issues the board is on? currently facing?
The health and well-being of our children is a priority for me. Regarding COVID, the data to immunize our children is not convincing to me at this time. The mask requirement limits children’s ability to interact with others and develop their social development. Masks can reduce the volume of aerosols in the environment, but they certainly do not contain all of them. Everyone will be in a better place when the requirement is lifted and parents can make their own choices about what is best for their child.

Equity and Inclusion: For most parents, this makes all children feel equal and will be included. This does not mean that children will carry with them ancestral acts that must somehow be charged throughout their lives. Children should be provided with a positive learning environment. They should come home feeling good about themselves, and not on a manufactured guilt trip. Children should be eager to share with their families what they learned in school that day.

You have been accused in the community and on social media of being a representative of the right-wing national political agenda… does that bother you?
My representation is to God, the family, the church and now the school board. I will listen to all points of view that come before me for consideration.

You home school your children. Isn’t it strange to you that you are now a decision maker for the school district and what is happening on Re1J campuses?
With home schooling, I believe there are some important ideas I can bring to the school district. It is a great privilege to be a member of the board of directors.


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