Jeffco School Board’s Paula Noonan Drives Into Unwelcome Spotlight… Again

Three of the five Board seats for Colorado’s largest school district are up for grabs in 2013. One of them is just inviting a challenge. Jeffco school board director Paula Noonan made local headlines for displaying a serious bout of bad judgment:

Jeffco school board member Paula Noonan was arrested during a traffic stop Jan. 8 when Denver police officers became aware of an outstanding warrant from a 2011 traffic ticket.

Noonan’s arrest was not the first occasion during the term of the school board’s First Vice President in which she has drawn media scrutiny for irresponsible behavior. Local TV news covered her controversial 2010 Dakota Ridge High School commencement speech, with one parent describing it as “a rambling, self-absorbed discourse that confused and embarrassed graduates and their families.”

While fighting back tears, Noonan then told 9 News reporter Kyle Clark: “High school is a great place to learn humility. And I guess that’s what I’m learning.”

Two-and-a-half years later she issued a statement that painfully dredged up echoes of the commencement “train wreck” speech,” as sitting on the dais she delivered her statement to the remaining crowd at the January 17 school board meeting.

“True confessions involves serious reflection on one’s personal imperfections and decisions, and acts of commission and omission — to use technical terms,” Noonan prefaced the admission of her most recent public failing. “I also learned that a true confession brings forgiveness and grace, and I guess I’m going to find out if that is correct or not.”

The response of Board president Leslie Dahlkemper demonstrated precisely the sort of willingness to move on and let bygones be bygones. Whether the parents, taxpayers, and other citizens of Jefferson County wish to return her to a position of responsibility over the Jeffco school district’s $930 million budget is a matter that remains very much in doubt.

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