I am running in the 2020 election for Colorado’s State Board of Education, representing CD3. I would like to introduce myself.

I have been a resident of Steamboat Springs since 1985, but I have spent a few years also working and living abroad, working in global public health.

There are many issues that I am passionate about, prompting me to run.

First, I am committed to addressing the inadequate funding for our public schools and for teacher salaries. Sixty-one percent of school districts have gone to a four-day school week, largely to save money. And most of our teachers do not receive a living wage. 

I am also convinced that we can raise our high school graduation rate from the current 85% to nearly 100% through more vocational training and alternative high schools.

Lastly, and most importantly: I will fight against any move to send taxpayer money to private schools. The voucher system is a major threat to the success of our schools because it pulls funds away from public school districts. This is the opposite of what public schools have always stood for. 

I do support public charter schools where and when they serve a specific need that cannot be adequately met by the public schools in a particular district.

I also support the concept of school-based health centers to serve students and school district staff. This is now being tested in the state through pilot projects. We need to make sure that everyone in schools receives immunizations. 

I support increased funding for mental health and behavioral services for public school students. We must be aware of students’ physical and mental health status and step in with support when a problem arises. 

I hold a PhD in anthropology from the University of North Carolina and a BA in biology with a minor in high school education from Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. I have taught at both high school and college levels and have served on the Steamboat Springs District School Board.

Public health and environmental health have been my career focus. I have been an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and I have held senior environmental health advisor positions at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at Catholic Relief Services in East Africa. I worked on healthy school environments and health education in several countries, and I developed participatory learning methods in health for high school students and adults that are still being used in schools in several countries.

To learn more, my website “maylingforschools.com” should be up soon. You can also contact me at maylingforschools@gmail.com.

Mayling Simpson

Steamboat Springs

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