Thank you Board of Education members!

Jim O'Brien wasn't fully prepared for the time commitment that came along with his new role as a member of the Cherry Creek Board of Education.

When O'Brien joined the board seven years ago, he'd already built an extensive professional résumé as a telecommunications executive and nonprofit manager. What's more, he'd played the part of active and engaged volunteer at the Cherry Creek schools where his two sons attended.

But all of that experience didn't fully prepare O'Brien for the work that was to come. Taking on the mantle of school board member meant accepting a different level of responsibility, one that included up to 25 hours of work in a typical week.

"To be an effective board member, you have to have the time to prepare for board meetings, you have to have the time to visit schools and you have to have the time to interface with district leadership members," O'Brien said. "There's so much to learn. Having been on the school board for almost eight years, I learn something new every day. You have to do your homework."

O'Brien isn't the only board member who boasts that level of dedication.  The Cherry Creek School District Board of Education comprises five dedicated public servants who work tirelessly for the sake of more than 54,000 students. January is School Board Recognition Month, and the district is proud to acknowledge the work of board members Karen Fisher, Claudine McDonald Jim O'Brien, Randy Perlis and David Willman.

These unpaid volunteers work hundreds of hours a week for a simple goal: to ensure that every student in the Cherry Creek School District receives the best education possible. That means that every student in every building has access to an education that properly prepares them for success in college, the military, the workplace and the larger realm of society as a whole.

"How fortunate we are to have these selfless volunteers leading our district," said Cherry Creek Superintendent Harry Bull. "They give generously of their time to thoroughly study and carefully consider many challenging and complex issues. Every decision they make is based on what is in the best interest of our students."

That effort involves a high level of expertise. The Cherry Creek School District is home to more than 54,000 students. The board oversees the efficient management of a public entity with more than 9,000 part-time and full-time employees. They successfully oversee an annual general fund budget of more than $400 million. All of that work comes on top of the countless hours spent interacting firsthand with students, teachers, district administrators, parents and other community members. That direct communication comes during the countless school visits, special events and sporting events that take place throughout the year.

It's all worth it for the Cherry Creek board members, who see their rewards in the success of every student. For example, board member Claudine McDonald insists on attending every graduation ceremony at every one of the district's high schools year after year. Standing on the stage and distributing diplomas gets to the very heart of the job for McDonald, a longtime Aurora resident with deep community ties.

"We get to hand over diploma covers, shake the students' hands, give them a hug and say, 'Congratulations, you did it,'" she said. "That's what we're working for."

Each board member represents one of the district's five director districts, but they are elected 'at-large' to four-year terms by registered voters via a non-partisan ballot.

Board of Education meetings are generally held at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of the month at one of the Cherry Creek schools.  Contact information for the Board of Education is 720-554-4300 or

Jim O'Brien

Director District A

Cherry Hills Village Elementary

Dry Creek Elementary

Greenwood Elementary

Heritage Elementary

Holly Ridge Primary/Holly Hills Elementary

Homestead Elementary

Walnut Hills Elementary

Willow Creek Elementary

Campus Middle School

West Middle School

Cherry Creek High School


Claudine McDonald

Director District B

Eastridge Community Elementary

Highline Community Elementary

Polton Community Elementary

Ponderosa Elementary

Village East Elementary

Challenge School

Prairie Middle School

Overland High School


David Willman

Director District C

Arrowhead Elementary

Cimarron Elementary

Independence Elementary

Indian Ridge Elementary

Meadow Point Elementary

Mission Viejo Elementary

Peakview Elementary

Summit Elementary

Trails West Elementary

Horizon Middle School

Laredo Middle School

Smoky Hill High School


Randy Perlis

Director District D

Antelope Ridge Elementary

Aspen Crossing Elementary

Buffalo Trail Elementary

Canyon Creek Elementary

Coyote Hills Elementary

Dakota Valley Elementary

Sunrise Elementary

Timberline Elementary

Fox Ridge Middle School

Liberty Middle School

Sky Vista Middle School         

Thunder Ridge Middle School

Cherokee Trail High School

Eaglecrest High School


Karen Fisher

Director District E

Belleview Elementary

Cherry Creek Academy

Cottonwood Creek Elementary

Creekside Elementary

Fox Hollow Elementary

High Plains Elementary

Red Hawk Ridge Elem

Rolling Hills Elementary

Sagebrush Elementary

Falcon Creek Middle School

Grandview High School