Archive - 2019 Board of Directors Election - Candidate Q&A Responses

Board of Directors candidates were asked to respond to 5 questions summarizing why they're running for the Stargate Board, their views on key issues facing the school and the expertise they'd bring to a Board position. The candidates are running for 3 open parent seats on the Stargate Board of Directors. Two of these seats will be for a 3-year term. One of these seats will be for a 1-year term.

All information was provided by the candidates running for election.

Among its key responsibilities, the Stargate School Board of Directors is responsible for the Stargate budget, review of the annual audit, evaluation of the school's Executive Director(s) and compensation, policy approval and corporate level sponsorships. The Governance Board focus is longer term and “big picture”. For more information about the work this group does, visit the Board of Directors page.

Eligible voters may cast ballots between May 1 (midnight) and May 13 (4pm MT). Stargate conducts elections in electronic format. The school adopted Paperless Voting in Spring 2018. Ballots are sent to the email address on file in Infinite Campus, as per election policy. To find out more, check out our FAQ on Paperless Voting at this link.

If you have any questions about the election process or about the voting instructions provided to eligible voters, contact

#1 - Why do you want to become a Member of the Stargate Governance Board? 

Mark Hoopes: Charter schools take upon themselves the responsibility to manage their own academic priorities, finances, hiring practices, and related policies. With that power to make a great experience for our children comes the responsibility to keep it running and that responsibility ultimately falls to the parents. I see serving on the board the same way I see volunteering for anything else at the school. There is a need, I have the ability to fill that need, so I’m willing to do my part.

Lisa Hosfelt: I have enjoyed being a contributing member of the Stargate community during my Board service and my four years on the School Accountability Committee. My determination to learn, my commitment to excellence, and my desire to serve effectively will help me continue to fulfill the heavy responsibilities as a Board member. My familiarity with the past four years of school data and survey results will continue to help in making data-driven decisions.

Traci Nicks: I want to work with current board members towards continuous improvement at Stargate. No school or business gets everything correct 100% of the time. The responsibility of all aspects of a charter school ultimately falls on its governing board. Part of that process is systematically reviewing data (academic, social/emotional, stakeholder surveys, financials, etc.) to determine what is working well and what needs revising in order to determine next growth steps as an organization. I have experience doing this with charter schools in my professional life and I'd like to be able to use that experience as a parent of Stargate.

Lori Schreiber: I want to be more involved in the school and have a greater impact on its future growth to ensure we are on the right path and providing the best education for our students. I also want to be sure Staff are supported and able to do their best work everyday.

#2 - How long have your children been at Stargate and what has been your involvement with the school?

Mark Hoopes: My children have been attending Stargate for the past five years and for the first couple I was a standard wide-eyed parent volunteering with Watch D.O.G.S. and the occasional field trip, but mainly looking to see where I fit in. For the past three years I’ve been actively involved in the CRC, creating some of the technology activities for Harry Potter night, organizing meals for parent-teacher conferences, and generally helping out where I can. I’ve also had the opportunity to present a hands-on Arduino class to the middle school Adroit classes and speak to the AP Computer Science Principles class on why information security is the greatest career in the world.

Lisa Hosfelt: This is our fifth year at Stargate. Aside from serving on SAC, I have been involved with helping with class parties and other events. Prior to being a Board member, I attended most of the Board meetings. I also try to attend fundraising and CRC activities.

Traci Nicks: My children have been at Stargate since the expansion in the fall of 2016. I have volunteered at functions such as Harry Potter Night, after prom decoration and set up, and class parties in my then 5th grader's classroom. My husband and I attended the gala in 2017 and 2018 (a good friend got married the same day this year and we had to miss it). I attended all of the Adams 12 board meetings this school year concerning the renewal of the charter for Stargate.

Lori Schreiber: Faith started in Kindergarten. I have been a parent volunteer the last few years, and I did serve on the Bond Advisory Committee. I attend most Board meetings.

#3 - What skills do you bring from previous experience and/or your profession? 

Mark Hoopes: As a project manager I’ve learned how to manage million-dollar budgets and more importantly, how to keeping people working towards a common goal without having direct authority over them. As an information security consultant, I’ve learned the care that needs to go into writing a policy so that it accomplishes its goals without generating unintended consequences. I’ve also learned the importance of adhering to the letter of even poorly written policies, while using sound judgement to ensure the spirit is ultimately met. As a Boy Scout leader, I’ve learned the importance of capitalizing on the exciting parts of a project to ensure the whole thing gets done.

Lisa Hosfelt: I worked as an analyst in the finance industry for several years. My attention to detail, analytical mind, desire to learn, well-balanced perspective, and passion for excellence will help me continue to make valuable contributions to the Board. I have several years' experience serving on various committees in community and religious organizations.

Traci Nicks: While I don't have a strong skill set in business, finance, etc., I believe my background may fill a need where other members of the board don't have expertise and that our combined skill sets will make a strong team. I have a skill set that is unique in that I am a parent of Stargate students, who happen to be twice exceptional, but I also work in public education. I can bring both perspectives to the board. I have experience as a parent who has had to advocate for both of my girls for special education, 504, and GT needs. I have a background in special education teaching and administration. My administrative degree also included coursework in public school law. In my current position with Aurora Public Schools, I serve as the Consultant for GT and special education for all 9 charter schools. I have also completed Level 1 and Level 2 trainings offered by the CDE Twice Exceptional department.

Lori Schreiber: Supervisory experience, knowing and following Medicare Rules and Regulations, Robert's Rules of Order.

#4 - What do you see as the most pressing issues for the School and the Board in the upcoming 1-2 years? What do you hope to contribute and accomplish while serving on the Board of Directors?

Mark Hoopes: The biggest issue is probably closing out the OCR cases in such a way that the problems do not happen again. These events have overshadowed many of the great things that happen at Stargate and created a false perception about the school. As we honestly implement actions to address the problems there have been, we should be able to move beyond them. The next largest issue in my mind is a smooth buildout of the property bordering the school, particularly as it affects the traffic during pick-up and drop-off times. Even though a few extra minutes is relatively small annoyance, when you multiply it out across the number of parents and the number of days in the school year, it becomes an issue worth fixing. In general, I’m not seeking a position on the board to correct a particular issue I personally see as a major problem (even the pick-up loop). My goal is to implement existing policies with the best judgement I can and to let what has been a good system function to make a good school.

Lisa Hosfelt: The past couple of years have brought challenges that have allowed the school to establish a solid foundation for future success. The most pressing issues facing the school are both maintaining community optimism and ensuring that our new policies and procedures are successfully implemented during this time of transition and growth.
As a member of the Board, I will devote my talents and work ethic to helping the school meet its goals and objectives. During my time on SAC, I took initiative to strengthen and refine processes to provide a strong foundation for the committee in future years. I will apply that same initiative and willingness to learn as I continue in my duties as a Board member.

Traci Nicks: The issue that I believe needs to be tackled first is bringing the community together as a cohesive group. I believe there is a rift between 3 groups: original Stargate families who have always been happy with the way things are going, original Stargate families who have not been happy with the way things have gone in recent years, and new families who are just trying to join the Stargate family. Healing needs to happen between the first two groups and the third group needs to be integrated. The next pressing issue would be to officially on-board the new executive director. An organization chart needs to either be created (if one doesn't exist) or modified (if one does exist) to include his/her input. Finally, he/she needs to lead the process of ensuring that there are checks and balances over all aspects of the school (board, administration, teachers, other employee groups, finances, nutrition services, Eagle's Landing, etc.).

Lori Schreiber: We need to bring our community back together and focus on all the good that Stargate is. We also need to repair and elevate our relationship with the District.

#5 - What is your understanding of the Stargate Mission and Vision? What role do you perceive the Board plays in serving the Mission and Vision?

Mark Hoopes: A school for gifted students is not about being an exclusive club or an honor society. It is logistically very difficult to give gifted students the opportunities and challenges they need to grow their talents while managing the many other needs that exist in an average classroom. Stargate exists to group gifted students together, allowing teachers and staff to specialize in meeting the needs that exist within that smaller group. The Stargate board acts as a top-level authority to that end. It hires capable administrators to implement the mission, supports them with budgets and policies, and holds them accountable to follow these policies and ultimately to provide the education that we envision for our gifted students.

Lisa Hosfelt: The Stargate mission is to provide each individual student with a uniquely challenging education in an environment that supports their emotional needs and fosters a lifelong love of learning. The Board and administration work closely to ensure that the needs of the students are placed first. The Board's comprehensive awareness and concern in supporting the school's mission is facilitated by the work of supporting committees. As all groups seek to work cohesively, we can ensure that Stargate remains the best home for gifted learners.

Traci Nicks: The mission clearly states that the school exists to serve identified intellectually gifted students and their families. I know that the idea of the way "identified intellectually gifted students" and how that plays into the admissions practices has been an issue with Adams 12 in the renewal of the charter. Research clearly shows that students who come from lower income families, are learning a second language, or come from a minority group are highly underrepresented in gifted education programs across the country. I believe it will be the board's responsibility to take a good hard look at that research around intelligence testing through IQ tests and Stargate's current student body make-up, in order to determine next steps for revising (or not) the current admissions policies. Beyond that very specific example due to recent circumstances, the mission statement distinctly refers to serving students and families. I wholeheartedly believe in servant leadership. As such, the board exists to serve families and students. Part of that is listening when parents, staff, and/or students reach out to the board about concerns and actively helping them problem solve.

Lori Schreiber: The Stargate Mission and Vision is very clear. We provide a differentiated learning program for gifted students. The Board & its Committees help ensure that they right people are in the right places and that everyone has the support they need to do their best job. We keep our school on the right path.
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