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Democrats for Education Reform endorses four DPS board candidates

The Colorado branch of Democrats for Education Reform, the political action committee that pushes for policies around school and teacher accountability and parent choice, has announced its endorsements in the four Denver school board spots up for grabs this November.

The organization’s endorsements are:

In the District 2 seat, DFER is endorsing former City Council President Rosemary Rodriguez. Rodriguez, currently state director for U.S. Senator Michael Bennett, is running against incumbent Andrea Merida and union organizer Rosario C. de Baca.

In southwest Denver’s District 3, the group is endorsing school finance lawyer Michael Johnson, who launched his campaign for the board slot currently occupied by Jeannie Kaplan in May. Kaplan is term-limited out of the board after eight years.

Landri Taylor, who was appointed to the board’s District 4 position in March and who is running to keep his spot, also secured an endorsement.

And for the city-wide at-large position being vacated by current Board President Mary Seawell, DFER is endorsing former Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien. Perhaps the highest profile of any school board candidate, O’Brien currently leads the school leadership training program Get Smart schools.

“We are thrilled to support such strong candidates for the DPS Board,” said former DPS School Board President and founding DFER-CO Advisor Elaine Gantz Berman. “The professional experience, community service and leadership of each of these candidates is unmatched.”

The Denver board race is drawing close attention in Denver and around the country because of its potential either to tip the balance away from a majority that has been supportive of Superintendent Tom Boasberg’s reforms, or to reinforce the board’s backing of Boasberg’s policies.

“We expect [the race] will be followed closely, not only because a majority of the seats…are up and there are a number of highly qualified candidates running, but because this is an opportunity for a reform-minded district to become even stronger,” said DFER-CO’s state director Moira Cullen in a letter announcing the endorsements.

The Denver teachers union announced its endorsements in the races in May.