Obama to speak at Thornton expeditionary school Wednesday

Barack Obama apparently will repay the hard work of one his key campaign advisors on education issues Wednesday, announcing Monday evening he will visit the Mapleton Expeditionary School for the Arts (MESA) in Thornton that morning.

The school is headed up by Vail’s Michael Johnston, a leading education reformer who has had the Democratic presidential frontrunner’s ear for more than a year on the topic of reforming urban public schools. MESA this year graduated 100 percent of its 44-student senior class, and also saw all of its graduates accepted into four-year colleges.

“We’re honored to have Sen. Obama visiting MESA, and we’re proud that he thinks there’s enough innovation and success at MESA to make it worth his visit,” MESA principal Johnston told the Web site realvail.com. “We hope that MESA has lessons for education reform nationwide.”

According to realvail.com, former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer will introduce Obama, who will then open a small, town hall-style Q&A. The event is invite-only and not open to the public.

is an award-winning reporter who has covered energy, environmental and political issues for years. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Denver Post. He's founder of Real Vail and Real Aspen.