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The Buena Vista Board of Education met an hour and a half earlier than usual to swear in the one returning and four new members elected in November. Brett Mitchell returns to his seat while Paula Dylan, George Richardson, and Norman Nyberg join the board for the first time.

Mallory Brooks will also be joining the board but was unable to attend and will take the Oath of Office prior to the board’s next work session.

County Clerk Lori Mitchell swears in new BV BOE members (from left to right) George Richardson, Paula Dylan, Norm Nyberg, and Brett Mitchell. New member Mallory Brooks was not able to attend and will be sworn in separately at a later date. Photo by Carly Winchell

Chaffee County Clerk and Recorder Lori Mitchell read the Oath of Office for the new members in front of an audience of family members and district staff. A handful of Buena Vista Education Association (BVEA) members attended to show support for the new board members.

Once the new members were sworn in, the board took some time to say a few kind words about the exiting members. The Board said goodbye to Olivia Bartlett (who was ill and could not attend), Stacey Moss, Tracey Storms, and Suzette Hachmann.

Superintendent Lisa Yates spoke briefly about each departing member, and the remaining board members had prepared remarks for some of their colleagues.

Yates and Montoya both thanked Bartlett for submitting their letter of interest when a position opened up after a previous board member moved out of state. Yates explained that Chaffee County High School (CCHS) was very dear to Bartlett, who was pleased to be leaving after seeing the new CCHS offices had a window.

Bartlett did not have the chance to receive orientation, but still hit the ground running for her brief tenure on the school board.

“You came in and instantly became an asset to the board,” said Montoya, who expressed hope that Bartlett would remain active in the district community by participating in things like Girls on the Run.

Yates said that the board would describe Moss as quiet and a peacemaker for the group. She emphasized those qualities were never mistaken for disinterest or being unprepared.

“You were always the first to be talking in the community,” said Yates, who described him as a “long investment” since he is a Buena Vista School District (BVSD) alumnus. “You truly represented the community as a whole when making decisions.”

Jessica Crites thanked Moss for his dedication. “You always said you wanted to do your part and give back to the community.”

She said Moss could always be relied on for a calm, logical perspective.

Yates thanked Storms for her eight years of service on the board and for bringing her perspective as a parent, business owner, and longtime resident. Yates applauded Storms’ clear understanding of the board’s role.

“You often re-centered the entire board when it was getting into the weeds or it was getting off topic,” said Yates, praising Storms’ ability to ensure the board fulfilled their own role without straying into others’ roles.

Montoya spoke to Storms’ many accomplishments while serving on the board. “To list off all you have been a part of will take a while,” said Montoya. She thanked Storms for her care, time, and sacrifices while volunteering as a board member.

Exiting BV School Board President Suzette Hachmann receives a gavel as a parting gift at her final BV BOE meeting. Photo by Carly Winchell

Remarks for exiting Board President Hachmann came last.

“I think we’re all feeling a bit nervous tonight,” said Yates. “Your ability to facilitate and prepare for meetings is unmatched. We know things will be different without you being here.”

Yates praised Hachmann for her ability to stand strong “when faced with misrepresentations” across the state, county, or within the local community.

She described Hachmann as the district’s number one fan. “Your ability to speak for the board will be greatly missed,” said Yates.

“You have been such an amazing leader,” said Mitchell, who spoke off the cuff.

“You’ve led this board in a process that we haven’t had to use the Robert’s Rules of Order to the letter because we all work together with respect and dignity, and you lead that perfectly,” he continued.

Mitchell expressed that the district was losing a huge leader and thanked Hachmann for the work she put into her role and the thoughtfulness with which she approached the position. “I think we have some huge shoes to fill, and I hope we can do you justice,” he concluded.

“Thank you for your kind words,” said Hachmann to Yates and Mitchell. “I’m really just grateful for the opportunity to serve in this role.”

The exiting board members each received a personalized gift from the district as the board broke for a meet and greet to give the chance for members new and old to mingle with each other and members of the community who were in attendance.

The first regular meeting for the new board will be on December 11.