Q&A with Ryan Abresch

Candidate for Douglas County Board of Education in District B

Posted 7/18/17

Ryan Abresch is a lawyer by training. He currently works as a legal analyst for a national online legal research firm.Abresch, of Larkspur previously served as a deputy district attorney in the 10th …

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Q&A with Ryan Abresch

Candidate for Douglas County Board of Education in District B

Posted

Ryan Abresch is a lawyer by training. He currently works as a legal analyst for a national online legal research firm.

Abresch, of Larkspur, previously served as a deputy district attorney in the 10th Judicial District in Pueblo. He earned his undergraduate degree in political science from James Madison University in Virginia and his law degree from Valparaiso University in Indiana.

Abresch, 38, has been a resident of Douglas County since 2014 and said he and his family moved to the county from El Paso County in order to take advantage of the district’s schools for their daughter, who will be attending first grade in thefall.

As part of the four-person Elevate Douglas County slate, he will be running for the District B seat, which encompasses the Castle Rock, Sedalia and Larkspur areas.

The seat is currently held by James Geddes, who was elected in 2013. Geddes has not indicated if he will seek re-election.

Why did you decide to run?

We moved to Douglas County primarily for my daughter’s education. She has a lot of young cousins that go to school here as well, and I’m running because I want to make sure she, my nieces and nephews and every other student in the county can continue to have the best opportunity for a great education.

What are the most important issues facing the school district?

One of the major issues is acrimony and discussions around the school board. I think if you’re on the school board as a director, you need to carry yourself as a role model for the adults and students who are in this district. I want to bring respect back to our discussions with the teachers, parents, students and staff in Douglas County. I think also accreditation and teacher retention are major issues that we need to work together to find solutions on.

The board has been divided in recent years. How would you help bridge that divide?

The first, I think, is to listen. Whether it’s to the other board members that you may disagree with or to the community that comes out to these meetings or teachers. Listening is a big part of being an effective board member. I know the district has been making strides toward improving these processes, but there were significant issues under Liz Fagen’s leadership as superintendent in that regard. In addition, by trade I’m a lawyer, I worked inside the courtrooms for a number of years so I think I’m use to being in an adversarial environment, so I think having that experience will bring me the ability to keep a cool head and effectively lead despite all the disagreement.

Would you be supportive of a bond or mill levy to bring more funding to the district?

I think before we can begin discussing that, any new board member needs to build trust with the community that elects them. I think the community needs to trust that all of us will be fiscally responsible with the funds that are already there. I think our budget is around $700 million and they want to make sure that money is actually going to the classrooms and paying all of our best teachers. I also think, as a district, we need to exhaust all of the other options forefficiencies in the budget before we can go to the community and ask them to open up their wallets and give us any more of their hard earned money.

What do you want people to know about you?

I’m a hard-working father who lives here in Douglas County with my wife and our first-grade daughter. Having a daughter in the district, along with other nieces and nephews, I have quite a bit of skin in the game. The decisions that are going to be made by me as a board member are going to directly impact her. I also want to make sure the best educational opportunities are not only afforded to her, but all of the children who go to school in our district.

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