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  • Writer's pictureVoces Unidas de las Montañas

Community letter: Latino students deserve an experienced superintendent

Below is a community letter addressed to the Roaring Fork School District's School

Board regarding their finalists for Superintendent of Schools, signed by individuals who live between Basalt and Glenwood Springs or are former or current students and parents.

Voces Unidas reviewed resumes and other available public records on the three finalists -- Dr. Anna Cole, Tharyn Mulberry and Dr. Bill Wilson -- to do a comparison of their relevant experience.

The open letter closed on March 11, 2024.


Dear RFSD School Board Members:

We, the undersigned, write this letter to thank you for your public service and remind you that the next superintendent for the Roaring Fork School District needs to be a leader with a track record of success and experience in eliminating 40-point achievement gaps between Latino and white students. Anything less could translate to several more generations of Latino students who will graduate from the RFSD ill-prepared, further stifling the Latino community's ability to reach our full potential as a people.

In a district where nearly 60% of students are Latino and most are two to three grades behind their white peers, we need an experienced leader to step up to the challenge of what is likely to be one of the hardest jobs in their career.

The chronic, long-standing equity issues that disadvantage Latino students in the RFSD are not new. But the consequences have grown considerably because we have either ignored them or been ineffective at addressing them. Past superintendents and school boards lacked either the vision, courage or knowhow to begin to address these systemic issues. Given the amount of work that is needed to catch up, we cannot afford a novice leader. To do the same, and expect a different result is the very definition of insanity – and would be considered by many of us as a dereliction of duty to Latino students.

While we have many concerns about the lack of Latino involvement in the superintendent search process to date, it also remains unclear whether you requested evidence from your finalists on how they have led successful efforts to drastically reduce the achievement gap in other school districts. We’ve found no evidence in the public record, nor have you published such evidence from any of the candidates.

We insist that the school board release evidence proving that your finalists are experienced in successfully addressing significant achievement gaps in other schools or school districts.

We cannot afford another three, five or 10 years for someone to learn on the job. Latino students deserve a superintendent with a demonstrated record of success in dramatically improving student outcomes in a comparable school district. Their learning and growth should not be compromised for any reason, least of all for the sake of career development.

Unlike the constitutional right of every student to receive a quality education, it is a privilege – not a right – to be a teacher, principal, superintendent, or even a school board member. We are grateful that you have chosen to serve to represent the interests of all communities, not just those who today hold power and privilege, and ask that you maintain that standard throughout this search process. 

Every student in the RFSD — including Latino students — deserves the best possible opportunity to learn, grow and thrive in our community. It is incumbent upon the school board to provide that opportunity by hiring an experienced superintendent for the district. And if you deem you don’t have a candidate with the necessary experience and qualifications in the pool, start the process again.

Thank you.


Marissa  Molina

Jose Molina

Alex Sánchez

Esmeralda Veliz

Liah Ramirez

Yesenia Silva Estrada

Evelyn  Balleza

Jesus Velazquez

Lorenza  Tapia

Sonia Bonilla

Junior Ortega

Omar Sarabia

Ana Chavira

Christopher Menjivar Cornejo

Rogelio Vizcaino

Yamilet Velazquez

Stephanie Ayala

Tyler Geddes

Ashley Montañez

Samantha Portillo

Briseyda Noriega

Ines Burbano

Elizabeth Sanchez

Ale Chavira

Alejandro Chavira

Leticia Burbano de Lara

Brianda Cervantes

Mari Jimenez

Josefina Jimenez

Ana Lopez

Eva Rojas

Guadalupe Medina

Keila Valenzuela

Ignacio Barrantes

Edgar Barrantes

E. Christina Flores

Veronica Peña

Maribel Obreque

Yeymy Munoz

Christina Montemayor

Sabrina Ferguson

Miguel Hernandez

Zabdi Fuentes

Patricia Juarez

Chelsea Krabbe

Rosa Esparza

Kimberly Andres-Martinez

Cristina Perez

Ruth Ana Argueta

Ashanty Velazquez

Aracely Garcia

Alejandra Martinez

Karina Gutierrez

Nancy Mondragon

Monica Quevedo-Ortega

Angelica Diaz

Heidi Flores-Walmsley

Michael Flores-Walmsley

Maria Lidia Dominguez 

Christina Montemayor 

Paloma  Hammond

Lorena Vargas

Alyssa Mortell

Gladys Arango

Itzel Lugo

Greisi Villalta 

Aline Sanchez

Sophia Corral

Veronica Chacon

Ana Perez

Gislea Merlos

Renee Espinoza

Indhira Barron

Daniela Rivera 

Mathias Nicol

Beatriz Soto

Martha Nila

Susana Chavez 


cc: Hon. Susana Córdova, Colorado Commissioner of Education

Hon. Miguel Cardona, U.S. Secretary fo Education

Hon. Catherine E. Lhamon, Asst. Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Dept. of Education


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