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Johnson resigns from Jefferson County school board

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Seat is up for election in November

By Daniel Laverty

Robin Johnson resigned from the Jeffco school board on Monday night, said Helen Neal, chief of staff for the board.

The resignation is a result of Johnson moving out of the county. Johnson represented District 1, which covers the north part of Jefferson County.

“I didn’t hear anything about it until Monday night … when Johnson sent a letter to each board member,” Neal said.

Johnson wrote to board members: “I have been honored to work beside you and other members of the board on behalf of the citizens of Jefferson County to support the achievement of all students in Jeffco over the past four years.”

“(Johnson) will be missed,” said board president Lesley Dahlkemper. “During her time, she always put Jeffco students first. Her actions were always in the best interest of students.”

Dahlkemper said she knew Johnson and her family were looking for a new home but did not know that she was moving out of the district until Johnson resigned.

Johnson had announced at the beginning of the summer that she would not run for re-election in November.

The board will begin accepting applications for the vacancy until Aug. 30. Neal said the vacancy must be filled by Oct. 10.

In August 2009, Johnson was selected by the board to replace Scott Benefield, who had resigned in June 2009. Johnson was elected to represent District 1 for a full-term when she ran unopposed in November 2009.

This year, two candidates are vying for the District 1 seat, Tonya Aultman-Bettridge and Julie Williams.

“At this point, I will not try to fill the vacant seat,” Aultman-Bettridge said. “I need to focus on running my campaign. I’d hate to be chosen and not be able to give the position the full attention it deserves during this time.

“(However), I may change my mind before (Aug. 10),” Aultman-Bettridge said.

Williams did not return a phone call before deadline.

“I’ll be interested in knowing what (the temporary candidate’s) experience is and what their level of interest in serving is,” Dahlkemper said of the school board’s upcoming decision. “We’re obviously going to need a candidate who can hit the ground running. We need someone who is experienced and knowledgeable.”

Dahlkemper said she would be wary of filling the vacancy with someone who has announced a candidacy for the school board in November.

“I think appointing a current school board candidate would give an unfair advantage, and that’s not the message I’d want to convey,” Dahlkemper said.

Although the board has 60 days to fill the seat, Neal said the board would most likely want to select a replacement before its next official meeting Sept. 19.

Applicants must be registered to vote in general elections, a resident of Jeffco for 12 consecutive months, and must be a resident of District 1 for the past 30 days.

No applications will be accepted electronically. Eligible candidates must submit a letter of interest, resume and date of birth to Helen Neal at 1829 Denver West Drive, Building 27, P.O. Box 4001, Golden, CO 80401.

Applications must be received by 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30.

For more information, visit www.jeffcopublicschools.org.