Long-time Berthoud educator running for Thompson school board

By Dan Karpiel

The Surveyor

“It’s the right time to give back,” said Stu Boyd.

The long-time Berthoud educator announced this week that he is seeking a spot on the Thompson School District (TSD) Board of Education. Boyd will be running for the seat in district G, which includes all of Berthoud, and was vacated when Dave Levy announced his retirement last week.

Stu Boyd

“Education has been my life and to have an opportunity right now and to be in a place in my life where I can give back, I hope I have the opportunity to do that,” Boyd said in a 30-minute long interview with the Surveyor on Monday. “I had a very rewarding, wonderful career as a Berthoud educator (and) I wanted to make sure that Berthoud was represented by someone with a knowledge of the schools and a commitment to the schools.”

Boyd taught English, speech and language arts full-time at Berthoud High School (BHS) from 1969 to 2005 and since then has been working as a mentor for new teachers at the school in addition to serving as a substitute teacher. Boyd’s wife, Barbara, taught in the foreign languages and cultures department at BHS during the same time period and both have been long-time residents of the town.

“I hope that through the 50 years I’ve been part of the Berthoud schools and the involvement I’ve had both as a teacher and since in community affairs, in supporting community endeavors that people in the community look upon me favorably and believe that I am somebody who is going to walk the walk in addition to talk the talk,” Boyd explained.

In addition to working as a classroom instructor, Boyd served as an assistant principal at Berthoud Junior-Senior High school, the chairman of the English department at BHS, director of BHS drama club and the language arts curriculum specialist for the TSD, where he worked to lead teachers in the development and implementation of the curriculum.

Boyd holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Colorado State College (now the University of Northern Colorado), a Master of Education degree from Colorado State University and did post-graduate work at both the University of Maryland and the University of Colorado.

Boyd is running on a three-plank platform and argues he is bringing some fresh ideas and new approaches to education policy. The three tenets of Boyd’s campaign are to one, increase the number and nature of community partnerships, two, enhance and better communicate financial accountability and, three, empowering innovators.

Boyd believes that the TSD can do more to bring community partners – businesses, civic organizations, fine and performing arts groups, non-profits, etc. – into the fold for educational purposes. Boyd explained that not only would creating more of these partnerships given students of all grade levels more opportunities and exposure to various career paths and post high school educational endeavors, it would also give the community at large a greater stake in education. He envisions the district could create various programs with various sponsorships, mentorships, internships and apprenticeships. 

Said Boyd, “It’s going to give the kids more opportunities but by bringing members of the community into the schools it’s going to let them know what’s happening and give them a chance to play a part in the education of the district’s children and I think that’s something they can do and they should do. here are so many ways people in the community can impact the educational lives of kids and get a lot from it as well.”

Boyd said he believes the TSD is going a “good job, a better job,” of being financially accountable to taxpayers. Boyd cited the recent passage of the bond and mill levy override last November as steps in the right direction. Boyd worked on the campaigns to get both measures passed by voters and said he believed the TSD did a good job explaining the needs for both measures as well as being open and transparent about how the additional funds are being used to benefit education district-wide.

Yet he said there is more to do and Board of Education on which he is seeking a seat is front and center. ”I think there is probably more than can be done to build collaboration and trust and so on and I think there are some questions that probably need to be asked on a regular basis. For example, exactly what benefit is the community getting from the money that is being invested in education,” Boyd said.

“I think very often when difficult decisions are made, I think the reasons behind those decisions are not always communicated to the community,” he continued and said the board needs to be able to tell taxpayers, “Here’s why we decided what we decided.”

On his third plank, which Boyd calls “empowering innovators,” he explained the TSD should do a better job of giving the people closest to the students the tools they need to be successful. “I believe that very often the people who understand best what the needs are the people with the boots on the ground, the teachers, the counselors, the administrators, I’d like to see the district more to empower them, particularly in the areas of curriculum and instruction,” Boyd said.

It is in that area – curriculum and instruction – where Boyd says he brings the most to the table in light of his half-century of experience and an educator. “There are probably more efficient ways, both cost effective as well as innovative ways to operate the district,” he explained.

“I think particularly in curriculum and instruction and I believe that’s the most important duty of a school district,” Boyd said. “I think everything that happens in the school district whether it’s in the classroom, whether it’s in the school office, whether it’s in the bus garage, whether its in the cafeteria, everything in the district should lean towards maximizing student achievement and student success.”

A central part of this idea would be for the district to not be afraid to look outside its own boundaries and see what is working in other areas and what new ideas and different approaches are finding success. Boyd believes teachers, administrators and others need to go on-site to see these new and different approaches.

As he explained, “I don’t think it’s always enough just to read about it, I think sometimes people need to go, talk with the people there, get a sense of what they’ve done, maybe talk to the students. I think it’s a combination of study and research as well as on-site.”

Boyd said he intends to run an active campaign for the open seat in District G. His campaign website and Facebook page are currently under construction and will be online in the near future. Boyd said he intends to hold listening sessions and gather input and ideas from voters.

Ballots for the 2019 election will begin being mailed in mid-October.

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