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Interview with Karen Lundberg

Karen Lundberg is the newest member of the Salida School Board. There are seven school board members, and she has replaced Carrie Mattix, who was on the board for four years.

One of the first questions asked was: The mission of the Salida School board is to strive to provide a safe environment for all students and staff, what steps are you going to take to reach that goal?

The 2023 Salida Board of Education as directors were sworn in. Left to right: Directors Karen Lundberg, Jenn Schuchman, Matt Hobbs, Jodi Breckenridge Petit, Ben Hill, Shiela Moore [seated], being sworn in by Chaffee County Clerk and Recorder Lori Mitchell. Courtesy photo

“Whatever it takes,” Lundberg explains that (at the time of this interview) she hasn’t been sworn in yet so she hasn’t been given much of an opportunity to experience that as much as some other people have but she stresses that she wants to learn as she goes and watch and observe the board.

Lundberg also says that as a former founder and principal of The Crest Academy, she is an innovative thinker and she is great at thinking outside of the box in most situations.

“When I see a need for something I try my hardest to meet that.”

Lundberg says that she is a great problem solver and thinks that will be very helpful while on the school board.

A follow-up question asked: What skills do you think will transfer over from being a teacher, principal, and founder into the school board?

“Oh my gosh, when opening a school you learn so many things and I think that gives me a deeper understanding.” She explains that while opening the Crest Academy here in Salida she learned about facilities, safety, education, counseling, and cooking along with many other things that pop up when trying to open a school.

She also thinks she has a greater understanding because she is a parent of two kids and she was a teacher. She says she has many different points of view that some other people might not have.

Lundberg also says that what is different is that your job on the school board is to “monitor the superintendent” and you are dealing with more financial things. Later she commented, “Well, if you were going to a restaurant you would want a chef to cook your food. It is the same with teaching and the school board.”

The next question asked was Why do you want to be on the school board?

She says, “I’m spontaneous!” And then laughs. She explains that she has a really deep care for students. She wants everyone to thrive. She also says she really would like to do her part in her community.

What led her to this position was her love of education. She also says that she feels that in education right now there is a lot of division. She didn’t want to see our school system go down the path that some other school districts went down. She hinted towards the situation in Woodland Park where many families and teachers ended up leaving the school district.

What was your own schooling experience like? Was it similar to the Crest Academy?

Lundberg expressed that she did not have a good schooling experience. “I didn’t thrive, I survived.” She says the school was boring, she wasn’t engaged, she didn’t care about it, and she thought it was very basic and therefore not enjoyable.

Then when she went to college she started to enjoy learning. While in college she got her bachelor’s degree in Communications, a Bachelor’s degree in K-8 education, a master’s degree in education, and a principal’s license. “I think that school should be authentic and I think that kids should know why they are learning.” She says school should be enjoyable. Lundberg also thinks that when kids are engaged and motivated they are successful.

She explains student success as kids loving learning and when they are always looking for opportunities. Whether that is in friendship, education, or love.

She thinks they should never be content with stopping and always wanting to go on new adventures.

How would you go about igniting student success?

The two important things she told me were one, project-based learning is a great way to get students engaged, and two, motivation is key. She stressed this one to me.

Motivation is key

Lundberg says, “If you aren’t motivated you are never going to learn. And even if you do you aren’t going to care about it and then you don’t get much out of it. If you are motivated then you are going to squeeze every single thing you can out of that topic and reap the benefits.”

Is there a teacher or a principal that made you want to go into education?

She says, “Yes, actually, a teacher.” Her third grade teacher Ms. Cantoberry. She says that Ms. Cantoberry was not traditional. She says that most teachers stood in front of the class and talked, then they would write down notes. Ms. Cantoberry was very different. She didn’t stand in front of the class, she made them think about the questions she asked them. She let them go outside and learn, which she said was practically unheard of, and she listened to her students. She then went on to say she appreciates the board and all they have done. She is a very positive person, and she wants to, “Learn! Learn! Learn!”

Lundberg grew up in Colorado, Jefferson County to be exact, and has been teaching in Colorado for 30 years! Colorado is also the only state in which she has ever taught. She is an open-minded person who is willing to learn. We ended the interview with a quote from her, “I’d better live until I’m 180 because there is so much to do out there!”

Editor’s Note: Eliot is one of Ark Valley Voice’s newest interns. This was her first assignment for Ark Valley Voice.

“I think interviewing Karen Lundberg was a great first assignment for me,” says Miller. “I like to know who is going to be on the school board and how they are affecting my life as a student in the Salida School District.”