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Dolores school board race gets competitive

Seven candidates running for two open seats

Seven candidates are running for two open seats on the Dolores School Board. They are Eugene Reininger III, Lisa Holz, Jerry Whited, Sandra Corbitt, Casey McClellan, Rebecca Frasier and Kay Phelps. Terms are for four years.

Outgoing board members include board president Linnea Vass, who is term-limited, and Frasier, who was appointed to fill a board vacancy and must be elected to keep her seat. Candidates are required to live within the district boundaries for at least one year.

The Nov. 7 election will be by mail-in ballot, and the top two vote-getters will earn board seats. A candidate forum will be held Sept. 19 from 6-8 p.m. at the Dolores High School library.

Here’s a look at the candidates:

Sandra Corbitt

Corbitt is a mother of two children attending Dolores schools. She is running for a seat on the school board because she “feels it’s time for the teachers and students to be heard.”

Her experience in education includes working as a paraprofessional for the Montezuma-Cortez school district and as a bus driver for the Dolores district. She was also a regional director for the science fair for San Juan BOCES. She graduated from Dolores High School in 1993, and has lived here her whole life.

Rebecca Frasier

Frasier was appointed to the Dolores School board in July 2016, and must run in the election to retain her seat. She works for the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s office as the victim compensation administrator, and has three children attending school in Dolores.

Frasier has worked for the Cortez and Dolores school districts, and said she is running for the board “to have a voice in how the money is spent and in the implementation of policies. I want to support students so they are prepared for technical school or collegiate fields.” She has lived in the area since 2009.

Lisa Holz

Holz is a self-employed massage therapist and works as a transaction coordinator for a real estate company.

She is running for school board because she has an interest in supporting educators and has a daughter attending the Teddy Bear preschool. “I grew up in a family of teachers and hope to promote a positive experience for kids as they go through school,” she said. Besides teaching massage, she was also an English instructor in southern Mexico. She has lived in the Dolores area for 3 years.

Casey McClellan

McClellan owns McStone Aggregates, a local heavy construction business. He is running for school board because he wants to help raise the school’s academic performance. “It used to be known as the best in the area, and students from outside the district would commute to the school. But I’ve seen it drop in the rankings in recent years, so I feel I can help turn that around.”

McClellan also has three children in the school district. He said his experience serving on numerous government boards over the years is a plus. He has lived in the area since 2013.

Kay Phelps

Phelps has had a lifetime career in education and is currently a professor of teacher education at Fort Lewis College. Before becoming a professor, she taught for 31 years in kindergarten through eighth grade, including 13 years in the Dolores school district. She was a Fulbright scholar and has a doctorate in education with a focus on school reform. “I have personal and professional investment in education and would love to offer my support to a community I respect,” she said. “I’ve been impressed with the innovation I’ve seen at Dolores schools.”

Phelps has lived in the area the past 38 years.

Eugene Reininger III

Reininger is a professional land surveyor who works throughout the Four Corners. He wants to become more involved in the school system, and has a daughter in the first grade.

If elected, he said, he will work hard to support art education, including music. “I feel that art can be a great way to integrate the trades into a curriculum, such as working with wood and or metal,” he said.

Reininger has a minor degree in education, and said his experience regularly working with a variety of town councils and county governments is beneficial for serving on the school board. He has lived in the area since 2001.

Jerry Whited

Whited is a firefighter and EMT1 for Ute Mountain Fire and Rescue. He is running for school board because he wants to support a new generation and help students achieve success.

“Every kid should be treated equally and fairly, and as a school board member, I will be the voice for the needs of students,” he said.

His background in education includes working with the division of youth corrections for five years, and training to teach children with special needs.

“Also with my medical background, I bring expertise to help launch the school-based medical clinic being planned,” Whited said. He has lived in the area for seven years.

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