Candidates for 2019-21 CSMA executive board positions announced

Online voting window will be Nov. 1-7, 2020, with results shared on Nov. 8

October 14, 2019


The executive board that takes office as of the Dec. 7 board meeting will lead CSMA for two years, which will include a transition to a new executive director in the summer of 2020.

The candidates on the ballot have generously agreed to give of their time and talents and we invite you to read their bio’s and their candidate statements prior to the voting “window” opening on Nov. 1.

Each adviser to a CSMA member medium will get ONE vote in this online election and all will receive a link to the ballot. The ballot link will close at midnight, Nov. 7, giving everyone a chance to make their choices.

The CSMA vice president is also “president-elect,” according to our long practice and bylaws, so Jessica Hunziker, MJE, adviser at Castle View HS in Castle Rock, will take over the president position, while Annie Gorenstein Falkenberg, CJE, current CSMA president and adviser at Longmont HS, will assume the position of immediate past president. The six other elected board positions will be decided upon in this election.

Questions about the process should be addressed to either current Immediate Past President Adam Dawkins, CJE, or to Executive Director Jack Kennedy (particularly if you do not receive an email with your ballot link on Nov 1).


One candidate to consider

Christine Fry

Christine Marie Fry comes from Raleigh, North Carolina and study at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. She has been teaching since 2016 and focused on analyzing political and journalist rhetoric through her work with Speech & Debate and Mock Trial. Currently, she is teaching at Arvada West High School where she is the adviser for its yearbook, The Claw. Fry has also expanded her scope in journalism by co-hosting a lifestyle podcast geared towards balancing being an educator in the classroom and the outdoors.

Candidate statement:
I am Christine Fry and new to Colorado having moved from the Piedmont of North Carolina. This is my first year as a member of CSMA; however, it is my intention to best serve CSMA by maintaining accurate, detailed, and timely minutes for its Board and members. I will be fully engaged and committed to the needs of the Board and members while representing fellow advisers and educators to best of my abilities. Additionally, I will be timely with all releases of letters, briefings, statements, and any variety of PR materials as dictated by Board members.

Middle School Coordinator

Two candidates to consider

Gina Claus

Gina Claus moved to Colorado from East Los Angeles, California. She studied digital design and dance at Loyola Marymount University. After moving to Colorado in 2002, she continued her education in psychology, with an emphasis in school counseling at the University of Phoenix, Lone Tree. Her dream of becoming an educator came to fruition in 2004 when she began teaching applied technology at Thunder Ridge Middle School. Missing a design aspect in her life, she transitioned to teach digital media and yearbook at Castle Rock Middle School in 2015. Since entering the yearbook world, her staff has earned a CSPA Silver Crown, NSPA Best of Show, four consecutive years of All American, All-Colorado ratings and other individual state awards. She also received recognition as a 2018 JEA Rising Star.

Candidate statement:
“It is with great enthusiasm that I submit my application to continue serving on the Colorado Student Media Association board as the Middle School Coordinator. My interest in serving on the CSMA board stems from my passion for the middle school student and for providing valuable opportunities for growth and leadership to educators of the middle school level. My goal is to grow a collaborative community of middle school educators with the purpose to support each other’s programs and professional development.”


Yvette Manculich

As the multimedia publications adviser at Powell Middle School, Manculich has advised three journalism programs during her 16-year tenure. Currently, she advises The Prowl yearbook. She served as the adviser for Powell News Network (PNN), a video broadcast program for five years, and The Puma’s Tale, an online publication for two years. Under Manculich’s guidance, The Prowl staffs have won numerous state and national awards. Manculich has been presenting at local and national camps, workshops and conventions since 2012.

Candidate statement:
“If elected to the Board, my goal is to provide advisers with the resources and support necessary to grow scholastic journalism at the middle school level. It is important to establish opportunities for advisers to network with colleagues, share experiences and work collaboratively to increase middle school participation state and nationwide.”

Digital Media Coordinator

Two candidates to consider

Patrick Moring. CJE

Patrick Moring, CJE, is the broadcast adviser for the award-winning KRAM program at Rampart High School in Colorado Springs and has been there 12 years. The program has won numerous national and state awards, including a NSPA Broadcast Pacemaker Award, multiple All-Colorado Awards, and the NFHS Network’s Best Overall Program Award. He has been on the CSMA board as Digital Media Coordinator for the last two years, and has started and encouraged a partnership with the Colorado Broadcasters Association and the CSMA, as well as working hard to grow broadcast programs across the state.

Candidate statement:
“I think broadcast media is the direction that all journalism is moving, and that growing the state’s broadcast programs is one of the most important mandates for the Colorado Student Media Association. I want programs around the state to feel supported and know that they have help to grow, with both curriculum and advice. I will continue to nurture our partnership with the Colorado Broadcasters Association, so that student and professional journalists can connect and network so that our students will have a head start on the careers they will pursue. This is something I believe in and will work hard to continue.”


Aaron Smith

Aaron holds a degree in journalism with an emphasis in public relations from Oklahoma State University. He has advised student media for 10 years in Oklahoma, Texas, and now, Colorado. His experience is predominately with print and online media. Smith currently teaches Freshman Humanities and College Prep English at Castle View High School and advises online media — CV Student Media.

Candidate statement:
“As an adviser for online media, it is important to continue promoting the use of the medium as well as promoting the successes by our student journalists. With a decade of experience teaching journalism and seven years specifically with online media, I understand the needs of the advisers and staffs when it comes to support specific to pushing the field of journalism forward through the digital format.”

Advocacy Coordinator

One candidate to consider

Sergio Luis Yanes, CJE

Sergio Luis Yanes, CJE, comes from a family of journalists and graphic designers. He has been teaching since 2006 and advising student media since 2011. He currently teaches and advises the news site, broadcast, and yearbook programs at Arvada High School. He also instructs at camps and workshops around the country, including national conventions. Yanes has been involved as a JEA curriculum leader, focusing on differentiation for gifted/talented populations. He has also worked with his district (Jeffco) to develop and refine CTE pathways for journalism programs in order to incorporate convergent media and to provide students with more professional experiences, such as college credit, work-based learning experiences and career-related certifications.

 Candidate statement:
“The First Amendment guarantees the most important of our liberties: a free and open exchange of ideas. These rights have been additionally secured for our students, thanks to the Tinker case and Colorado state law. However, we cannot ignore the many silenced voices in our schools. Voices that are directly and indirectly pushed down and marginalized to limit the free and open exchange that is vital in maintaining a pluralistic society. As educators, facilitators and advisers, it is our responsibility to ensure that our students have the opportunities to share their voices in an equitable manner. This means not only defending our students’ rights, but also preparing our students to defend themselves and others.

“I intend to keep finding and sharing ways to provide a more equitable experience for student journalists. From national initiatives to skill-building techniques, we need chances to stay current on the conversations surrounding the Five Freedoms. We need to work to remove barriers because our students also deserve to feel like they can be heard. It is important that we continue to provide them ways to access all the opportunities that are available in the world of journalism and protected by our First Amendment. By doing so, we can keep promoting diversity within a field that, now more than ever, needs as many voices as possible to inform, to challenge, to question and to explore further.”

Vice President/President-Elect

One candidate to consider

Kristi Rathbun, MJE

Kristi Rathbun, MJE advises Rockmedia at Rock Canyon High School in Highlands Ranch. Her students have earned All-Colorado Awards from CSMA, Crown and Medalist recognition from CSPA, Pacemaker and All-American recognition from NSPA and Best of Show honors. Rathbun is CSMA Advocacy Coordinator and Colorado JEA State Director; she was CSMA Adviser of the year in 2012, JEA Distinguished Adviser in 2014 and received a CSPA Gold Key in 2016. She has served on the CSMA board since 1998, working to help advisers, students and media programs throughout Colorado.

Candidate statement:
“No matter my position on the CSMA board, my primary goal remains empowering others to create valuable publications and media outlets for their school communities through continued education, student and adviser advocacy and opportunities to hone media skills – regardless of their level of experience or location in the state. As CSMA navigates change through board makeup, community attitudes toward media and cultural events impacting students and advisers, I hope to be an approachable representative for others.

“Being available to answer questions as they arise, proactively providing resources ahead of needs and continuing to educate in step with both trends and foundational methods are just some of the approaches to help Colorado student media programs grow while giving skills beyond the classroom to students and providing support to their advisers as well. In serving on the CSMA board, I look forward to developing student media in Colorado by building on the elements of education, advocacy, communication and media literacy.”

Education Coordinator

One candidate to consider

Tina Barber, CJE

Tina Barber currently advises The Guide and The Legend at Cherokee Trail High School in Aurora. As a former high school yerd and college journalist, she enjoys advising both newspaper and yearbook because it makes it possible for her to spend even more time in her happy place, the Cherokee Trail newsroom (a place she has called home since 2003). Both CTHS publications have been recognized annually by CSMA and also celebrate All-American marks of distinction in their NSPA critiques.

She loves dogs, snowboarding, nacho cheese, the mountains, teaching reading, writing and journalism, music, pilates, and weather movies equally. (Well, maybe queso a little more!) As a National Board Certified Teacher and a Certified Journalism Educator, Tina has presented at various camps and workshops for both students and educators, like CSMA J-Day, NSPA/JEA Fall and Spring conferences, and summer journalism workshops, as part of her on-going work as an adviser and instructional coach. Her motto as an educator and adviser is: You don’t have to be exhausted to be excellent.

Candidate statement:
“As the CSMA Education Coordinator, I hope to create opportunities for journalism educators across the state to participate in both virtual and face-to-face PLNs (Professional Learning Networks). Far too often, journalism educators exist as islands within their schools. The job of an adviser is too difficult to do alone, but many of us often do. Whether through a post on Facebook or a conversation at a coffee shop, I want all CSMA members to feel as though they have a journalism friend they can reach out to with ease–sometimes to celebrate, sometimes to problem-solve–but most importantly to share student work. In addition, I would also like to promote the way in which journalism programs teach 21st Century Skills to other educators. Our colleagues in other content areas should be looking to our classrooms as exemplary models for teaching students the skills outlined in the Colorado Academic Standards.”

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