All candidates for Cheyenne Mountain School District 12 Board of Education at-large complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

All five candidates running in the Nov. 7, 2023, general election for Cheyenne Mountain School District 12 Board of Education at-large completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.

The candidates are incumbent Susan Mellow (nonpartisan), Celeste Fitzpatrick (nonpartisan), Rick Gillit (nonpartisan), Michael Grage (nonpartisan), and Betsy Kleiner (nonpartisan).

Here are the candidates’ responses to the question: What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?


“School Finance. … With possible changes to the school finance formula on the horizon, I intend to continue to advocate for fair funding from the state for Cheyenne Mountain. I will also continue to advocate for state and federal governments to fully fund requirements they place on our district.

School Safety/Mental Health. Needs in these areas have been increasing over time, and they work hand-in-hand. … we have moved from the use of a contract security team to a security team of district employees, allowing for the development of long-term relationships and invaluable institutional knowledge. We have also strengthened intergovernmental partnerships and communications to better handle any emergency. … we have consistently added more school psychologists and social workers to properly address student needs. … ”


“Library books. I would like to make sure that age appropriate books are in our library and classrooms. I’d like to keep children, children.”


“As a school board member, my unwavering passion lies in providing education to all students, regardless of the challenges they may face. Every student deserves an equal opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed, regardless of their background, abilities, or circumstances. I am committed to advocating for inclusive policies, tailored support systems, and innovative solutions that ensure no student is left behind. By addressing issues such as accessibility, socio-economic disparities, and diverse learning needs, I strive to create an educational environment that fosters equity and empowers every student to reach their full potential.”


“I am personally passionate about all aspects of school safety—physical safety, emotional safety, and educational safety. I support stringent gun safety in schools as well as cell phone removal from all district classrooms during class time. I support enhanced emotional support for all students through the increased funding for mindfulness and positivity instruction and training for classroom teachers. I support continuing excellence in education through rigorous curriculum and support of the arts in our district. Finally, I support teacher autonomy in the classroom giving teachers freedom to reach mandated curricular goals through their own creativity and ongoing research. I do not support the introduction of one-size-fits-all behavioral programs (I.e., Capturing Kids’ Hearts).”


“Betsy shares our community vision to continue vigorous academic achievement and broad career opportunities for our students. She believes in clear communication and transparency and enjoys working in collaboration with other stakeholders to ensure creative solutions. She understands the power of listening, advocacy, kindness and compromise. Betsy is passionate about our community and our students and looks forward to serving as a member of our local Board of Education.”

Click on the candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

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