Close LPS race officially called

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The very close race for the Littleton Public Schools Board of Education officially came to an end Nov. 14 amid tears and cheers as Kelly Perez, Jack Reutzel and Carrie Warren-Gully were sworn in.

“I think we got three fantastic people in there,” said outgoing president Bob Colwell, who, true to form, struggled with tears throughout the emotional meeting. “And it was amazing turnout.”

With 64,700 votes counted, Warren-Gully claimed 21.25 percent, Perez took 20.20 percent and Reutzel squeaked in with 19.59 percent. Their challengers, Dallas Jones and Robert Reichardt, tied at 19.48 percent.

Perez has lived in Centennial for 19 years, raising five kids in the district. She’s been on nearly every LPS committee and served as president of the parent-teacher organizations at Damon Runyon Elementary, Powell Middle School and Arapahoe and Heritage high schools — the last two at the same time. Prior to having kids, she was a social worker.

Her youngest two kids are still in the district, one in sixth grade at Powell and the other a sophomore at Arapahoe.

“I have a passion for education,” she said. “I want to keep striving to maintain the comprehensive educational opportunities that LPS offers.”

Reutzel, an attorney with the firm Fairfield and Woods, is a 20-year resident of Bow Mar. His son graduated from Littleton High School, and his daughter is a sophomore at Heritage. Specializing in land-use issues, he represented the developer of Littleton Commons, an apartment complex that Littleton City Council recently approved for County Line Road east of Broadway.

“I have no agenda other than maintaining the excellence of this district for students and residents,” he said. “I have volunteered in the district for 10 years, so I understand how the district works, but I also bring a business and legal perspective that allows me to see the bigger picture for the benefit of the kids.”

Carrie Warren-Gully has been a volunteer in LPS for 13 years. Notably, she chaired the committee that got the 2010 mill levy passed despite the recession.

A Centennial resident, her three boys all went to Sandburg Elementary School, Newton Middle School and Arapahoe High School. With her oldest off to college, she’s now had the LPS experience from beginning to end and been active at the school and district levels throughout.

“I believe that public education is the most important element of our democracy,” she said. “Without education for all our children, regardless of their background, we will fail as a nation and not be ready for the global economy of today.”

After the swearing-in ceremony presided over by Littleton Judge Ethan Feldman, the board voted in their new positions. Lucie Stanish is the new president, and Warren-Gully is the new vice president. Perez will serve as treasurer, Mary Nichols as secretary, and Reutzel as assistant secretary.

They enter a board well prepared to head into the future with the help of the $80 million bond issue that passed with 60 percent of the vote.

“It’s an important issue, and we definitely thank the community for stepping up,” said outgoing member Sue Chandler.

Jack Randall, who’s long been an active volunteer at Littleton Preparatory charter school, praised the work of outgoing members Colwell, Chandler and Renee Howell, who were all term-limited.

“Finding a board that works together as well as you do would be tough,” said Randall.

Colwell declined to take all of the credit.

“It’s the past members that have made Littleton Public Schools the great district that it is,” he said. “We have just carried that on.”

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