One of my very first jobs was as a cowboy on a ranch in Montana. As a hired hand I put up hay, fixed fences and tended calves. It was on the ranch where I learned to appreciate bad coffee, a good pair of gloves and trucks that start on cold winter mornings. I also learned the western values of hard work, horsemanship and community. Although I loved the cowboy life, I decided to leave the ranch and return to Colorado State University where I finished my undergraduate degree.
I started my career in education as a substitute teacher and, over the course of almost 20 years, gained experience as a classroom teacher, coach, principal and administrator in traditional schools as well as in charter, online and alternative school environments. I served in a variety of educational leadership roles at the school, district and state levels where I worked in urban, suburban and rural communities. A large portion of my educational leadership career focused on leading school improvement initiatives. As a part of that work, I created and implemented tools for analyzing school/district performance, developed strategic school improvement plans, implemented a variety of data driven instruction models and engaged in numerous leadership development projects.
In terms of formal education, I earned a Bachelors of Science degree from Colorado State University and a Masters of Arts (Education Administration, Leadership & Policy Studies) from the University of Colorado in Denver. Additionally, I have participated in non-degree programs at a variety of colleges and universities including Harvard University, The University of Virginia, Colorado Mesa University, Regis University and Denver Seminary. I have also completed doctoral coursework at the University of Northern Colorado in educational leadership, but suspended my studies when I was elected to serve as the mayor of Firestone, CO in 2008. I was term limited in 2014 after 3 terms.
In addition to serving three terms as mayor, I have experience as a city councilman, county planning commissioner and co-vice chair of the Denver Metro Mayors Caucus. On an international level, I participated in diplomatic delegations to Turkey, Canada and China and was the founding chairman of an organization focused on building subnational relationships between local officials in the United States and China.
As an elected community leader I worked on issues such as sensible energy development, stewardship of natural resources, transportation infrastructure and economic development. Near the end of my final term as mayor, MONEY Magazine named Firestone, CO among the top communities in America.
My family and I are now at home on our small horse ranch in southeast Wyoming where we enjoy riding the open range and contemplating the future of America. Professionally, I continue to provide educational leadership consulting support to school districts.
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