More than two dozen people are vying for the seat vacated by Nate Easley on the Denver Public Schools Board of Education, including parent activists, community leaders and previous school board candidates.
The board will whittle that list to nine at what is sure to be an action-packed meeting Monday at 4:30 p.m. at the district headquarters, 900 Grant St. Then an afternoon’s worth of interviews will be held with finalists Thursday.
Easley, who represented District 4 in Northeast Denver, recently resigned stating that his new job of executive director of the Denver Scholarship Foundation would chew up too much of his time.
Whoever is selected will fill the remainder of Easley’s term and face election in November. The deadline to submit an application was 5 p.m. Friday. Under state law the position must be filled within 60 days of his resignation, which was officially accepted Jan. 18.
If the board is unable to select a replacement, board President Mary Seawell has the authority to name a new board member. That not-so-small detail caused a flare-up during a special meeting by the board early last week, with board members Arturo Jimenez and Andrea Merida raising questions about how Seawell would pick Easley’s replacement if consensus could not be reached. (Watch the meeting video).
“Will you commit to choosing someone from that final pool?” Jimenez asked Seawell.
Seawell declined to define the process should the board fail to reach agreement.
Merida asked her pointedly, “Why don’t you want to commit?”
Seawell said, “I want that not even in our heads … Let’s just try and let’s all come together.”
“We’re going to vote as many times as we need to and we’re going to come together.”
Jimenez said he felt the whole board is not listening to its two Latino members, who initially asked for veto power over the final board pick. That notion was not embraced by a majority of board members. Once the discussion about the board vacancy process wrapped up, Jimenez said, “It feels racist. It feels like the Latino voices on the board are not being heard.”
To that, Seawell said, “To say that this is racist is highly damaging.”
Arturo said, “Well that’s how it feels. It does not seem proper there would be an undefined process.”
Here are the 25 contenders:
- Rebecca Adams
- Sean Bradley (worked for Andrew Romanoff and the Colorado League of Charter Schools; now works for the American Federation for Children)
- Billy Brown
- Tim Camarillo
- Alton Clark (ran against Easley in 2009)
- Kari Cummings
- Jesus Escarcega (chair of the Colorado Association of Latino/a Administrators and Superintendents)
- Fred Franko (served on board of Great Education Colorado)
- Jon Goldin-Dubois (executive director of the Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club)
- Taggart Hansen
- Jane Hartgrove
- MiDian Holmes (chair of Stand for Children’s Denver chapter)
- Antwan Jefferson
- Vernon Jones, Jr. (a Manual High School administrator who oversees community partnerships)
- Patricia Ann Kaurouma (former DPS teacher)
- Roger Kilgore (ran for at-large seat won by winner Happy Haynes in 2011)
- Ben Kornell (former teacher and member of the board of directors at Get Smart Schools and a member of the advisory council for Colorado Succeeds)
- Travis Luther
- Barbara Medina (recently retired head of DPS’s ELL programming)
- Karen Ray (worked as paraprofessional in DPS)
- Lisa Roy (executive director of the Timothy and Bernadette Marquez Foundation)
- Mary Sam (retired DPS teacher who supported Easley recall)
- Jacqui Shumway (ran unsuccessfully against Haynes in 2011 for Theresa Peña’s seat)
- Landri Taylor (president and CEO of the Denver Urban League and former member of the RTD board who was intensely involved with NE school turnaround plan)
- Sharla Williams
Most of the candidates participated in a board candidate forum Wednesday evening at the Evie Dennis campus. Watch a video of their presentations here.