Rick Rush was selected to fill the District 5 Jeffco School Board seat vacancy on Dec. 8. Rush previously filled a vacancy for the District 5 seat from October 2008 to November 2009. Rush also sits on the board of the Jeffco Schools Foundation, and most recently is working with their Team Up Jeffco initiative to assist students during the pandemic.
Former board member Ron Mitchell resigned his District 5 seat effective Nov. 12. Rush will serve out the remainder of Mitchell’s term, which ends in November 2021.
The board received eight applications, and interviewed all eight candidates on Dec. 8. Each candidate received three questions in advance for a 20-minute interview.
The other candidates included:
Rush’s priorities for Jeffco Schools
In his interview with school board members, Rush identified three areas in need of urgent performance improvement. Rush said that the superintendent search was the first priority and that he seeks a superintendent who will be a visionary, work with the community, and address student performance.
Additionally, Rush identified closing the achievement gap as a second priority. He said Jeffco is missing opportunities to close the gap at broader levels as a community.
Rush said that offering a consistent curriculum was a third priority in that area. I don’t think it’s valuable for each school and community to just go their own way, and that the role of district is to assist and at times, require, a certain approach to educating students. He added that Jeffco is missing opportunities by having a scattershot approach.
“If we’re looking to advance the quality of education for third graders, my third grader is a third grader only once,” he said, adding that the district needs to act boldly and quickly on programs that can add value.
Rush’s long-term objectives for Jeffco Schools
Rush also identified three long-term objectives, all based on a theme of trust. He said he wants to work with the community to get their support for what the district is doing as input for what the district should be doing. He added that listening tours and working to advance the trust that the current board had developed would also be crucial.
In addition, Rush would like to see the district become an employer of choice through competitive salaries and wages, advancement opportunities, training, and staff pride in Jeffco.
Finally, his third long-term objective would be to see enrollment gains in Jeffco. Even though fewer students have been able to come into our schools, he wants to look for the right ways to advance Jeffco’s programs so that families want to come here and stay here. What achievements do we need that will result in a net enrollment gain.
“I have always felt that Jeffco is a good school district. I think Jeffco has the opportunity to become a great school district,” Rush said.
The District 5 seat will be up for election in November 2021. Rush said he has not decided whether he will run for the seat next fall.