A Dolores art teacher is one of 20 educators chosen from across the state to serve on the Colorado Department of Education’s new Commissioner’s Teacher Cabinet.
Kevin Vaughn, who has worked for Dolores Elementary School for 15 years, was chosen for the cabinet in late June. According to a Department of Education news release, the cabinet will meet regularly with Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes to provide teachers’ perspectives on policies that affect their schools. The cabinet will meet about four times per year beginning in August, according to the release.
When the Dolores Schools Superintendent Scott Cooper told him the state was seeking candidates for the cabinet, Vaughn said he didn’t hesitate to apply.
“I thought it would be an interesting group to join,” he said.
“I think it’s a wonderful idea, because so many policies at the state level have had an effect on my classrooms over the last couple of years – sometimes positively, but more often in a negative way.”
He said he believed serving on the teacher cabinet would give him a chance to help the state avert negative consequences from those policies in the future.
Vaughn’s career in education has spanned 21 years and multiple teaching positions in three states, he said. In Dolores, he worked as a fifth-grade teacher for 12 years before switching to art. His wife, Lisa, also works for the school district as a librarian.
Vaughn said he believes his experience with teaching in multiple grades and school districts will make his insight particularly helpful to the cabinet.
At first, the Department of Education sought applicants for 15 cabinet positions, but after more than 170 people applied, the cabinet was expanded to 20, the news release said. According to the release, a review panel that was also made up of teachers from across the state selected the finalists based on “expertise, accomplishments and dedication to Colorado’s students,” among other factors.
In addition to Vaughn, the cabinet will include teachers from Denver and Colorado Springs, as well as a few rural school districts such as Archuleta and Platte Valley. The 2017 Colorado Teacher of the Year, Sean Wybrant, will also serve on the cabinet.
Each cabinet member will serve a two-year term as a volunteer, although the release said the teachers’ travel and substitute teacher expenses will be reimbursed.