Barbara McLachlan represents House District 59, which includes La Plata, San Juan, Ouray, Hinsdale and Archuleta counties and part of Gunnison County. She is chairwoman of the Education Committee and sits on the Rural Affairs Committee.
In the 2017 legislative session, Rep. McLachlan’s first, she passed a creative solution to the rural teacher shortage by modifying pension rules so retired teachers and other school workers are allowed to return to work for the full 180-day school year. She also passed legislation to develop a strategic plan to address teacher shortages throughout the state, and to create a program to test for lead in public schools’ drinking water. In 2018, she was vice-chair of the Transportation and Energy Committee.
A fourth-generation Coloradan, Rep. McLachlan taught English and journalism at Durango High School for 20 years, was honored as the Durango School District’s Teacher of the Year in 2012 and received a lifetime achievement award from the national Journalism Educators Association in 2014.
Though she’s retired from being everybody’s favorite teacher at DHS, Rep. McLachlan still serves as a college consultant, helping high school students find the best college.
Before embarking on her teaching career, she was a reporter for the Durango Herald.
Rep. McLachlan has a master’s degree in teaching from Regis University in Denver and a certificate in college counseling from UCLA. She also has a bachelor’s degree in English from Fort Lewis College and a second bachelor’s, in journalism, from Colorado State University.
She lives in Durango with her husband, Mike, who represented House District 59 in 2013 and 2014. They have two grown children.