LPSD 38 Election Concludes


Residents throughout the district voted in the Board election

Catherine Best, Ranger Review Reporter

After an arduous campaign season, District 38 residents elected Mark Pfoff, Matthew Clawson, Sherri Hawkins and Sarah Sampayo to the open school board positions. Four vacancies were available to candidates out of five total board positions, and therefore the 2015 campaign  generated more public interest than past races. About $28,000 were spent on candidates and campaigns this year, in contrast to previous elections in which single nominees were appointed by default in the absence of an opponent.

Although some of the 2015 races were very close – Sampayo won by less than 200 votes – Lewis-Palmer residents chose to retain the leadership of past years. Three incumbent board members ran for reelection in their respective districts. Of them, all three received another term.

“Having been a teacher in the district for thirty-five years, I think it’s important to continue or renew that sense of family in the district; so that we make – even as we grow – that family connection, so that together there’s many stakeholders in doing what’s best for kids,” said Kathy Thirkell, math teacher at Lewis-Palmer High School and 2015 Colorado Teacher of the Year.

This election may have significant consequences in the near future. As District 38 grows, issues including the location and funding of schools, infrastructure to support more students, and increased teacher training or responsibilities will be addressed in a manner that prepares for an influx of students. Over the coming years, the school board will determine the best way to allocate funds to aid students.

“We need to start with the question ‘what’s right for kids?’ So I think their biggest task is to make decisions based on what’s right for kids, and to back that with the research that shows that any programs they would implement are what’s best,” Thirkell said. “Then, we can accomplish our goal of giving every kid in Lewis-Palmer a world-class education.”

Hawkins will finish her term by serving on the board for two more years, and Pfoff, Clawson and Sampayo will each serve for four years.