by Bob Kennemer
LA VETA — In the recent uncontested election, Polly Wren-Neldner was elected to the La Veta School Board of Education. She has lived in La Veta since the summer of 1973. When asked what brought her here, Neldner replied, “That is a long story. My father was career Navy. I was born in Dallas, Texas. We moved quite often. He was killed on Kodiak Island in Alaska in 1969.”
Her mother moved the children to San Jose, California to be closer to her family. However, by 1972 her mother had decided San Jose was not the place for us. Says Neldner, “She [her mother] had been born in Colorado and had a sister in La Veta. Mom decided Colorado might be a good place and was thinking of the Rocky Ford or Pueblo area. But like so many before and after us, when she saw the view from Pinyon Hill, she decided this was it.”
Neldner adds that it is the scenic beauty and her husband Paul’s work (he is a local contractor), which helps to keep them here. Additionally, they felt La Veta was a good place to raise their children and that also kept them here.
Neldner states that she has worked with her husband, side-by-side, building homes, log and frame houses, for many years. She still helps out a little and does the bookkeeping for the business.
When asked what skills or background she has that will assist her as a member of the LVBOE Neldner states, “To be honest, this is my first experience serving on a board like this. Perhaps having gone to 11 schools from kindergarten to 12th grade gives me a different perspective, that and my 40 plus years in the area. I have seen La Veta Schools go through many phases, good and bad.
My hope is to bring the experiences I had as a student, and that my girls had as [La Veta school] students to the board. There was a huge improvement over that time [frame]. I hope that keep us moving towards the future while learning the mistakes of the past.”
Neldner says that she is still getting her feet wet, adding that she still needs to know and learn more in order to form opinions on school issues. Neldner says that La Veta schools has made great strides in the decades since she arrived. “The quality of the teaching staff has greatly improved, as well as the administrative staff. There is always room for improvement in any situation,” notes Neldner. She then explained that she has “…no children or grandchildren attending school in La Veta, so I have no agenda or specific goals. I just want to help our schools continue improving.”