Longtime educator runs for Town Council

JACKSON, Wyo. — Jim Rooks, a longtime educator and fifth-generation Jacksonite, announced his candidacy for one of two seats on the Jackson Town Council today.

Rooks spent nearly two decades working for Teton County School District No. 1 as a teacher, principal, and coach. He sponsored the “We the People” program, otherwise known as “Bronc Law,” which has won several state championships and national finals qualifications.

“I am honored to call myself a teacher and have been lucky to work in our excellent local schools since I was hired as the principal of Summit High School in 2002,” Rooks said.

Rooks teaches history and has strong historical ties to the valley. His great-grandmother Genevieve Van Vleck served on the country’s first all-women town council in 1920.

“I’d like to honor her legacy and serve our community on that very same Town Council 100 years later,” Rooks said in a press release. “My love for the town and the people of Jackson runs deep.”

Rooks resigned from education at the end of this year after 25 years of service. The decision was exacerbated, he said, by injuries sustained last summer when he was struck by a motor vehicle on his bike. Rooks took two months of medical leave after the accident, but found his job was harder than ever when he returned.

“I suffered an incomplete spinal cord injury that forever changed my life. I only went back to work because I truly love teaching and the Class of 2020,” Rooks said.

Jim Rooks (left, middle) led his “We the People” team to several state and national championship competitions. Courtesy photo

Rooks did lead the JHHS We the People team to another national finals qualification, but the Washington, D.C. event was canceled due to Covid-19. He said he still wants to serve his community and feels that the Town Council is a perfect means to do so.

Rooks said his campaign is built on unity during an increasingly trying time. The economic impacts of COVID-19 will be long-lasting, at the local, state, and national levels.

“It’s time for us to come together as citizens, forge common ground, and move forward towards a balanced recovery,” he said. “We can no longer allow our passions and opinions to divide us. We must seek middle ground for the benefit of all. I have friends on every thread of the political spectrum. Our Constitution was based on principled compromise. If the founding fathers can forge a unified American nation, we can certainly reach out to find common sense and practical solutions that work for our community.”

Rooks also treasures nature, wildlife and outdoor recreation. He loves everything from skiing and mountain biking to bow hunting and fly fishing. While his injuries have dramatically shifted his abilities to pursue some hobbies, he is trying to make the most of what he can still do.

“Put it this way, I don’t think I’ll be delivering the game ball during the homecoming Bronc football game on my paraglider anymore. I am now just grateful to be able to hike with my family and friends. Walking is my new extreme sport!”

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