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Thanking our dedicated Board of Education

Jim O’Brien wasn’t fully prepared for the time commitment that came along with his new role as a member of the Cherry Creek Board of Education.

When O’Brien joined the board seven years ago, he’d already built an extensive professional résumé as a telecommunications executive and nonprofit manager. What’s more, he’d played the part of active and engaged volunteer at the Cherry Creek schools where his two sons attended.

But all of that experience didn't fully prepare O’Brien for the work that was to come. Taking on the mantle of school board member meant accepting a different level of responsibility, one that included up to 25 hours of work in a typical week.

"To be an effective board member, you have to have the time to prepare for board meetings, you have to have the time to visit schools and you have to have the time to interface with district leadership members," O'Brien said. "There's so much to learn. Having been on the school board for almost eight years, I learn something new every day. You have to do your homework.”

O’Brien isn’t the only board member who boasts that level of dedication.  The Cherry Creek School District Board of Education comprises five dedicated public servants who work tirelessly for the sake of more than 54,000 students. January is School Board Recognition Month, and the district is proud to acknowledge the work of board members Karen Fisher, Claudine McDonald Jim O’Brien, Randy Perlis and David Willman.

These unpaid volunteers work hundreds of hours a week for a simple goal: to ensure that every student in the Cherry Creek School District receives the best education possible. That means that every student in every building has access to an education that properly prepares them for success in college, the military, the workplace and the larger realm of society as a whole.

“How fortunate we are to have these selfless volunteers leading our district,” said Cherry Creek Superintendent Harry Bull. “They give generously of their time to thoroughly study and carefully consider many challenging and complex issues. Every decision they make is based on what is in the best interest of our students.”

That effort involves a high level of expertise. The Cherry Creek School District is home to more than 54,000 students. The board oversees the efficient management of a public entity with more than 9,000 part-time and full-time employees. They successfully oversee an annual general fund budget of more than $400 million. All of that work comes on top of the countless hours spent interacting firsthand with students, teachers, district administrators, parents and other community members. That direct communication comes during the countless school visits, special events and sporting events that take place throughout the year.

It’s all worth it for the Cherry Creek board members, who see their rewards in the success of every student. For example, all board members attend every graduation ceremony at every one of the district's high schools year after year. Standing on the stage and distributing diplomas gets to the very heart of the job for Board Member Claudine McDonald, a longtime Aurora resident with deep community ties.

"We get to hand over diploma covers, shake the students' hands, give them a hug and say, 'Congratulations, you did it,'" she said. "That's what we're working for."

Each board member represents one of the district’s five director districts, but they are elected ‘at-large’ to four-year terms by registered voters via a non-partisan ballot.

Board of Education meetings are generally held at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of the month at one of the Cherry Creek schools.  Contact information for the Board of Education is 720-554-4300 or
Jim O'Brien portrait.jpgJim O’Brien
Director District A
Cherry Hills Village Elementary
Dry Creek Elementary
Greenwood Elementary
Heritage Elementary
Holly Ridge Primary/Holly Hills Elementary
Homestead Elementary
Walnut Hills Elementary
Willow Creek Elementary
Campus Middle School
West Middle School
Cherry Creek High School

Claudine McDonald.jpgClaudine McDonald
Director District B
Eastridge Community Elementary
Highline Community Elementary
Polton Community Elementary
Ponderosa Elementary
Village East Elementary
Challenge School
Prairie Middle School
Overland High School

Dave Willman.jpgDavid Willman
Director District C
Arrowhead Elementary
Cimarron Elementary
Independence Elementary
Indian Ridge Elementary
Meadow Point Elementary
Mission Viejo Elementary
Peakview Elementary
Summit Elementary
Trails West Elementary
Horizon Middle School
Laredo Middle School
Smoky Hill High School

Randy Perlis.jpgRandy Perlis
Director District D
Antelope Ridge Elementary
Aspen Crossing Elementary
Buffalo Trail Elementary
Canyon Creek Elementary
Coyote Hills Elementary
Dakota Valley Elementary
Sunrise Elementary
Timberline Elementary
Fox Ridge Middle School
Liberty Middle School
Sky Vista Middle School    
Thunder Ridge Middle School
Cherokee Trail High School
Eaglecrest High School
Karen Fisher.jpgKaren Fisher
Director District E
Belleview Elementary
Cherry Creek Academy
Cottonwood Creek Elementary
Creekside Elementary
Fox Hollow Elementary
High Plains Elementary
Red Hawk Ridge Elem
Rolling Hills Elementary
Sagebrush Elementary
Falcon Creek Middle School
Grandview High School

Posted 1/2/2015 9:12 AM

 Content Editor

“How fortunate we are to have these selfless volunteers leading our district. They give generously of their time to thoroughly study and carefully consider many challenging and complex issues. Every decision they make is based on what is in the best interest of our students.” - Dr. Harry Bull, Superintendent

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Cherry Creek School District No. 5 does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in admission to its programs, services or activities, in access to them, in treatment of individuals, or in any aspect of their operations. The lack of English language skills shall not be a barrier to admission or participation in the district’s activities and programs. The Cherry Creek School District No. 5 also does not discriminate in its hiring or employment practices. This notice is provided as required by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Questions, complaints, or requests for additional information regarding these laws may be forwarded to the designated compliance officer: District Compliance Officer or directly to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Region VIII, Federal Office Building 1244 North Speer Blvd., Suite #310, Denver, CO 80204.

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