Skagway has a competitive race for school board. And several political newcomers have thrown their names into the running. Four residents are vying for two open seats.
For Cara Cosgrove, being on the school board wouldn’t be anything new. She’s been working with the group six years and is running for her third term. She says there are certain things she wants to see through. Cosgrove points to the accelerated learner program.
“It was brand new and now we’ve got a year under our belt and we’re evaluating what worked and didn’t work and directions to bring that,” says Cosgrove.
Cosgrove doesn’t have students at the Skagway School anymore, but she thinks it’s important to stay involved.
“Even when my kids were in school I always wanted that perspective of having someone on the board who wasn’t a parent,” says Cosgrove. “I think that’s a very valuable perspective to have.”
Cosgrove has lived in Skagway about 30 years. She used to own the local art gallery Kirmse’s.
She says she sees room for growth in accelerated learning and advanced placement courses, and she’s looking forward to the development of the vo-tech program. Cosgrove says she thinks the district could improve on technology education.
Heather Rodig is also running for a seat on the board. She is new to local politics, but not Skagway.
“I’m raising a fifth generation in Skagway,” says Rodig. “I’m pretty well versed in the community. We have an amazing community. I’m excited for other families to be aware of what there is to offer and to experience our school and our community.”
Rodig is a longtime resident who graduated from the Skagway School. Now she has kids of her own in the district.
“I feel like I bring a pretty diverse perspective, having a freshman in college as well as a freshman in High School, as well as an elementary student,” says Rodig. “I think that I would have a good voice for all the different age groups.”
Rodig has been working in finance for over 25 years. She’s currently the treasurer for the municipality. She says that background would give her a leg up on understanding the school’s budget, and help her make educated decisions on purchases.
Rodig points to extracurricular activities as a highlight at the school. She says she’s looking to get more involved in local education.
“I’m excited about how our school does and their performance throughout the testing,” says Rodig. “I just want to get more involved in how decisions are made and be more active in my kids’ education.”
That’s also the case for Chezare Doxey Leipold. Leipold moved to Skagway in May. She’s never held elected office before, but has three kids in school.
“I’m a parent, and my kids are involved. When my kids are involved I like to be involved,” says Leipold.
Leipold says she has served on various school committees in the past, but never on an elected board. She says she wants to be more involved in what students are learning.
“Mostly the curriculum,” says Leipold. “I just want to keep my head as involved in all of it as I can. I’d like to be the first to know about any changes.”
Leipold works at the local post office and volunteers for the fire department.
“We love every aspect of being here,” says Leipold. “We have thrown ourselves into everything. We just want to become as invested with the community as we can.”
Denise Sager has lived in Skagway since 1996.
“I’ve been a community member for a long time,” says Sager.
Her first job in town was at the Westmark Hotel, where she met her husband. She’s held a number of jobs in town since then, and currently works for M&M Tours. Sager has two children in the Skagway School.
“I have been involved in the school throughout the years,” says Sager. “I care about the children and I think that the school is doing a good job as it is. But I also would like to help in any way that I can.”
Sager has never run for elected office before. But, this isn’t the first time she’s thought about it. Sager says she was approached years ago about running for the board. But her kids were younger and the timing wasn’t quite right. Now, she says she’s ready to take on the responsibility.
Sager is happy with how the school district is doing. She points out the number of electives and activities that are available to students.
“I think there is so much variety and opportunity for the kids right now,” says Sager. “I’m sure I will find places that need improving. And when I do find those we’ll work on those if I do become elected.”
She couldn’t name anything in particular she thinks the district can improve on.
“I’ve seen changes throughout the years, since my kids started at Skagway School and I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep them in the school and stay in Skagway,” says Sager. “Now I’ve very happy with the school. There’s not a lot I would change.”
The municipal election is Tuesday, October 3.