Candidate Information

Occupation: Defense Contractor

Age: 60

Education: BA, Political Science, Knox College
MS, Personnel Management, Troy University
Master of Military Arts and Science, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College
Graduate, U.S. Army War College

Endorsements: Public Education CommitteePublic Educators Advocating for Kids (PEAK)Pikes Peak Association of REALTORS

Experience: I am a retired Army officer with 30 years of experience leading and training young men and women from all walks of life and diverse cultures. I have a proven record of being able to build team consensus, while motivating each member toward their individual goals. Additionally, my life as a Soldier taught me service, hard work, and commitment---the same values one needs to be an effective Board Member. Now in retirement, I work as a Defense contractor/business developer; while serving as Chairman, School District 11 Accountability Committee's Budget Subcommittee, with over five years total service on the Subcommittee; Board Member, African American Youth Leadership Conference; Member, Academy Optimist Club and President, Xi Pi Chapter, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. In sum, my education and experience qualifies me for this position because both have provided me the means and devotion to serve others.

Contact Information






Jim Mason

Race / District Information

District Colorado Springs School District 11
Term / Board Seat 4 years
# of Available Seats 3

What major challenges face your school district and how would you solve them, aside from additional funding?

a) Improving grade-level proficiency: The number of students who lack grade-level proficiency is a concern; and warrants immediate attention. We must modify practices/programs in such a way that as soon as reasonably possible, we reach the objective in which every student (within their assessed potential), meet or exceed grade-level proficiency. b) Improving incentive and continuing training programs for Principals and Teachers: We should work toward improving programs in such a manner that our principals and teachers are recognized for their top performance and provided mentorship along with the appropriate training opportunities to enhance their professional and career development. c) Improving parental/guardian involvement in District Accountability Committees and school educational support programs: Publicly ask for help and explain the need. The Board must become more of a public communicator and strategic advocate for our students.

With budget constraints in place, what areas would you concentrate on?

Improving student achievement through an efficiently and effectively alignment of the core curriculum and extracurricular programs. The foundation of reading, writing, and mathematics should be built upon in such a way that Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, Music, and skill-producing classes are an integral part of the learning experience. Based on my volunteer work in the District over the past six years, I think we can make adjustments in this area, which will provide greater educational opportunities to all students while leveraging their motivation and natural desire to succeed.

This year, voters will decide whether to pass Amendment 66, which would raise $950 million in additional taxes for education. If the amendment passes, how should the money be allocated in your district?

I think the money should be allocated to improving pre-school and kindergarten programs; providing the teachers necessary to ensure student grade-level proficiency; and developing continuing training opportunities for principals and teachers.

Why don't most districts get beyond 70 percent student proficiency on state assessments?

I think there are at least two reasonable explanations. My assessment is that the root-cause traces back to the need for better access to early education opportunities; and the lack of grade-level proficiency. I think three vital initiatives will assist in solving this problem: a) Fully resourced pre-school and kindergarten; b) Strict adherence to grade-level proficiency standards; and c) Broadening the core curriculum and extracurricular programs to include more Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, Music, and skill-producing classes.

The Gazette Voter Guide is a chance for candidates to use their own words to tell voters in El Paso and Teller counties about themselves. The candidates answered questions relating to their biographical information as well as issues facing their school districts and cities. Answers have not been edited by Gazette staff.

For the guide, the Gazette reached out to every candidate running for political office for the Nov. 5 El Paso County and Teller County elections. Most, but not all, candidates chose to participate.