Rich Robbins was seated as the newest member of the Douglas County Board of Education on March 25.
He was chosen on a 4-2 vote that included no discussion by the six sitting members of the school …
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He was chosen on a 4-2 vote that included no discussion by the six sitting members of the school board. Judi Reynolds and Meghann Silverthorn voted against his nomination.
Robbins, interviewed by the board moments before his nomination, expressed strong support for their policies. He has served on the District Accountability and some School Accountability committees.
"I've heard the challenges our parents, teachers and administrators face day in and day out," he said.
Robbins said he would run for the District F, Parker-area seat when his term expires in 2016. He replaces Justin Williams, who resigned in January to spend more time with his family and who was in attendance during Robbins' selection.
Some community members were stunned by the vote.
"It seemed to those of us sitting back there this was a done deal before you walked into the room because there was no discussion of qualifications," said Cindy Barnard, a parent and plaintiff in a lawsuit against the district's voucher program. "I would loved to have known ... directors Reynolds and Silverthorn, what your thoughts were. I'm speechless that we do not see the work of the board done in public."
Gary Colley, among six finalists interviewed for the post, offered Robbins a suggestion.
"Rich, when you announced you're totally behind the school board, I would hope this wouldn't be an automatic 'yes' vote, that there would be some true discussion about what's right for the community," he said.
Retired after 20 years in the Air Force, Robbins said he'd "like the opportunity to continue fighting" for children, adding he feels schools must prepare students "in order for America to continue to lead the world in so many important dimensions."
He affirmed his belief in pay for performance.
"I strongly believe we need to pay great teachers compensation that is worthy of their excellence, and send a strong financial signal to those teachers who are underperforming," he said.
Robbins acknowledged there is room for improvement, saying, "No organization would be worth its salt if it becomes complacent."
Other finalists included Colley, Shaylee Holland, Dilpreet Jammu, David Ray and Franceen Thompson.
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