An incumbent candidate, a metalsmith and a teacher-turned-tree-farmer were elected Tuesday to the Dolores School Board.
Six candidates ran for the three open seats.
In unofficial results, the top three vote-getters earning board seats were Clay Tallmadge with 754 votes (22.27%); Meagan Crowley with 636 votes (18.78%); and incumbent Lenetta Shull with 576 votes (17.01%).
The losing three were Phil Kasper, 493 votes (14.56%); Alexandria Prime 484 votes (14.29%); and Joe “Spark” Reed, 443 votes (13.08%).
Here’s a look at the winning candidates:
Clay Tallmadge is a former Dolores teacher and coach, and currently a parent in the district. He left teaching in 2016 after he and his wife bought Pleasantree Farm, so he could devote his time to the tree nursery.
Tallmadge said he ran for a board seat to serve the community. He added, based on his knowledge base and experience, being on the school board was the best way he could help.
He emphasized the district’s need to upgrade facilities, prepare students for future jobs, and re-establish community trust through leadership transparency and committee work.
“There is a trust deficit in our school community at this time,” he said.
To address the issue of teacher shortages, he suggested looking into alternative programs to attract quality educators, such as through the Boettcher Teacher Residency Program.
Maegan Crowley owns and operates Iron Maegan Metalworks downtown, and her daughter attends Dolores Elementary School. She has taught metalsmithing and blacksmithing at the university level, along with at some craft schools.
Crowley said she ran because she cares about education and wants to invest back in the community, especially as a business owner in town.
She was a strong proponent of small class sizes and outdoor education, as an extension of the district’s project-based learning initiatives.
“Having kids get their hands dirty, and try and work together as a team and not just sit in a classroom,” Crowley said. She added that another benefit to more outdoor education programming was that it wouldn’t strain the district’s facilities as heavily.
As a school board member, Crowley also said she doesn’t want to “micromanage” the administration.
Lenetta Shull is the one incumbent who ran for the Dolores school board. She has grandchildren in the district and has worked at several local businesses, including Teddy Bear Preschool. Currently, she works for Summit Ridge Wood Design.
She said she ran because she wanted to support all students, especially ones who might get overlooked or discouraged in school because “our system is broken.”
Shull said a key component of a board member’s job is to hire a superintendent, along with following the district’s long-term Strategic Plan, in a focused and step-wise manner.
“We start at home base and we’re headed to first base,” Shull said. “And we’re so focused to get there, sometimes we get distracted. And I think my role on this board is to keep us on-track, keep us moving forward.”
She added that a successful school is good for the whole community.