More Questions – Daily Camera

Here’s what I submitted to the Daily Camera.  Check out their website or newspaper to read what other candidates say.

Your name:  John Creighton

Age: 43 (on Election Day)

Address:  328 Pratt Street; Longmont

Family (include names and ages):

Wife – Joni, married 18 years

Emma – 10 years old

Joe – 8 years old

Grace – 5 years old

How long have you lived in St. Vrain Valley?:

6.5 years (moved to Longmont MLK weekend 2001)

Education (name of college, major, year graduated):

K-12, Atwood Public Schools, Atwood, KS

BA – Economics and BS – Business Administration, University of Kansas 1988

MPP (Masters of Public Policy) – Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government 1990

Background (include current occupation, committees, etc.):

Founder, Conocer, public leadership consulting firm (public opinion research and professional development)

Executive committee, High Plains Banking Group

Co-chair, Central Elementary PTO

Member, Central Elementary Accountability Committee

Past president, St. Vrain Rotary Club

Member, Longmont Multiculturalism Task Force

Teacher (with wife), Intercambio

Political experience:

Chair, St. Vrain Valley 2004 mil levy override committee (defeated by less than 200 votes)

Staff, Speaker of the House Jim Braden (Kansas) 1988

Staff, Mike Hayden for Governor (Kansas) 1986 and 1990

Web site: www.creighton4stvrain.com

Blog:  www.johncreighton.com

E-mail: john@creighton.com

Who is your hero?

The people of Atwood, Kansas, my hometown.  Atwood has a population of less than 2,000.  It’s here that I learned what it takes for a community to succeed.  You have to participate.  You can’t ride on other people’s coattails.  Everywhere I have lived I meet people who share this ethic.  They’re my heroes, too.

Tell us something unusual about yourself that few people know.

I once was an usher for the Texas Rangers Baseball Club.  It was a great way for a college kid to spend (muggy) summer evenings and make a few bucks.

What is your favorite song?

Crimson and the Blue (University of Kansas Alma Mater song)

I get goose bumps every time I sing it with 14,000 Jayhawks fans in Allen Field House.

Your favorite book?

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

A great tale of the daily struggles to do the right thing

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you want with you?

1.     My family.

2.     A good set of tools.

3.     Plenty of reading and writing materials.

We’d figure out the rest from there.

Do St. Vrain Valley schools receive adequate resources to educate students?

No.  We are asking our public schools to do something that’s never been done before: Prepare every student for schooling after high school and help every child reach their academic potential.  I have spent hours and hours talking to educators, business people and community leaders of all political opinions.  Essentially everyone who has thought seriously about what it takes to meet this unprecedented challenge agrees that we lack the resources in Colorado as well as St. Vrain.

Do you think CSAP (Colorado Student Assessment Program) tests are a fair way to evaluate students and schools?

Yes for students.  No for schools.  CSAP tests can provide excellent information that can support teaching and learning.  Yet, students and parents have no access to relevant information.  The public use of CSAP data is irresponsible.  It is possible for a school’s teacher to have their most successful year ever in terms of helping students make academic growth.  But, it’s still possible for the school’s aggregate scores to go down.  All the public sees is the lower aggregate score, which is deemed a failed year.  This creates a culture in which people are tempted to avoid responsibility not claim it.

Do St. Vrain Valley teachers receive fair compensation for their jobs?

A teacher should earn a base wage that is sufficient to support a family and their spouse should have the option to stay home.  The Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute estimates that a family of four requires $47,800 in Weld County and $64,500 in Boulder County to make ends meet.  A St. Vrain teacher with a master’s degree who has been in the classroom for 10 years makes less.  We must do better.  I would support a raise for teachers sufficient to meet the family wage test and expand the number of days they work each year.

Should St. Vrain Valley ask voters to improve a tax increase to provide more operating money?

We do lack the resources to meet the goals for public schools.  I would like to support a mil levy as soon as possible.  Before we ask taxpayers for more money, we must past two tests.  First, we must demonstrate what we’ve learned from past financial mistakes and how we are maximizing current resources.  Second, we must be clear about how new tax dollars will help us make a leap forward rather than simply make marginal improvements to what we’re currently doing.

If elected, what’s one goal you want to accomplish?

I will be disappointed if we can accomplish only one goal over the next four years.  I would like to expand time for teachers to do their work so that schools can develop common assessments, learn best practices for instruction and work in professional learning teams; create systems to support self-paced learning (what educators call differentiated learning) and enable students to take more responsibility for their own learning; open high demand schools that already exist in neighboring districts such as dual language immersion schools, and reclaim public school’s role to build community.

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