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Board Members

Erika Brown, Vice-President, District A

Erika BrownErika Brown was appointed to the Board of Education on February 25th, 2020.  She got involved in education when her twins started elementary school, and volunteered in the classrooms, at the school, and joined the Needham School Accountability Committee (SAC). In 2019 she deepened her understanding of and engagement with the district through Leadership 9R. Erika is a passionate believer that empowering all students to become lifelong learners, reach their fullest potential, and give back to their communities and the world is the most critical work we can do.

 

Erika was the Communications Manager for San Juan Citizens Alliance, a regional environmental advocacy organization, and served as the co-chair of the Sustainability Alliance of Southwest Colorado (SASCO) Board. She has a degree in B.A. in Biology from Brown University and a Master of Science and Technology with a focus on Environmental Policy and Communication from the University of Utah.

 

Erika moved to Durango in 2011 with her husband, Dr. Patrick McLaughlin and twins, Emery and Mason McLaughlin, who attend Needham Elementary. She enjoys hiking, biking, and running the trails, reading, yoga, gardening, traveling, camping, laughing, and spending time with her family.

Kristin Smith, President, District B

Kristin SmithKristin Smith was elected to the Board of Education on November 5, 2019.

Kristin’s passion for education began as her son, Asher, who has special needs, started school. She began to see the educational benefits for Asher when he was included and educated in his grade level classroom. She became an advocate for school inclusion of her son. She firmly believes that All students have strengths and that All students can succeed.

 

Kristin has been serving in Durango Schools for 7 years.  She has served as the Needham Elementary PTO President, Juniper Parent Action Committee Leader, Miller Middle School PTO Secretary and Vice President, and on the BOCES Special Education Advisory Committee.  She completed the first ever Leadership 9-R courses.  Kristin has also served in the schools as a volunteer advocate for students who have special needs. Kristin has been an active classroom volunteer and thoroughly enjoys working with Durango students, teachers, and parents.

 

Kristin is currently serving as the Board President of the Adaptive Sports Association. She is also a volunteer for the Red Door Youth Group. She loves serving the Durango Community!

 

Kristin has a BA in Communications from Whitworth University. She currently works in Home Health.  She is married to Beau Smith and has two children, Asher (15), and Eden (12). Kristin enjoys spending time with her family, skiing, paddle boarding, running, playing the ukulele, reading, and caring for her chickens and family pets.

Mick Souder, Treasurer, District C

Mick Souder served on the Durango 9-R School Board from 2013 to 2015, and was re-elected in November, 2017. Following his first board term, he was on the district's Finance Advisory Committee.

  

Mick is a Senior Consulting Technical Solution Manager for IBM, and has a diverse background in education having taught for 11 years, mainly on the Zuni Indian Reservation in Western New Mexico. At the end of his teaching career, he coordinated development of a pioneering online education program for The College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota and helped Capella University get accredited. He also was a state-wide Internet Curriculum Specialist for K-12 school districts in Minnesota.

 

He has been an advocate of using communication technology to empower people to affect their societies for the past 30 years. This has included helping start not-for-profit Internet services (Minneapolis Telecommunications Network River Project), training (Access Minnesota Main Street e-commerce project), teaching elementary school students to produce community radio (Zuni Public Schools), community access television (camera operator, board member and President for Durango Community Access Television) and helping write a book on applying the principles of e-commerce to state and local government. Mick was involved with the global civic engagement organization, E-Democracy.org, since its inception in 1994 and served on its Board of Directors until 2015. He has also served on the Durango Nature Studies Board of Directors.

 

Mick holds a Master's degree in technical communication focused on computer-mediated communications. He is a successful grant writer and has managed costing, budget creation, and technology design on projects. He and his wife Linda Schwinghammer have lived in Durango since 1999. Both of his children, Lisa Schwinghammer and Gabrielle Souder, are graduates of the Durango 9-R School District. Linda was a 9-R teacher and is currently directing the testing center at San Juan College. Lisa is a teacher in the Denver Public Schools. The family talks about education a lot.

Katie Stewart, Board Member, District D 

Katie Stewart

 

Theresa Rodriguez, Board Member, District E

Theresa Rodriquez