Denver school board member Brad Laurvick plans to resign this summer.
Laurvick has served as the pastor of Highlands United Methodist Church in Denver for the last 10 years. He announced in church Sunday morning that he has been appointed to a new position in Fort Collins that will start July 1. Shortly afterward, he sent a letter to Denver school board members informing them that he would no longer be eligible to serve on the school board as of June 30.
“An unusually large wave of retirements has placed a strain on our system this year, leading the bishop to ask that I take this new appointment despite our shared hope I would not move during my service on the board,” Laurvick wrote. “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve Denver in this way and trust my board colleagues will find a community- and student-focused appointee to fill this seat.”
Laurvick was elected in 2019 as part of a slate of union-backed candidates who “flipped” the Denver school board, which had previously been controlled by supporters of education reform. Laurvick played an active supporting role in the Denver teachers strike earlier that year.
The November 2021 election further consolidated the shift in board control. Union-supported members now have a 7-0 majority.
Just a few months after Laurvick took office, Denver Public Schools, like districts around the state, shut its school buildings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In his letter, Laurvick said he was grateful to be part of the district’s COVID response, as well as recognizing the district’s first principals union and hiring Superintendent Alex Marrero.
“I will deeply miss the relational work with my board colleagues, the superintendent, DPS staff, and the students and educators of this great district,” Laurvick wrote.
Laurvick’s tenure has also seen the board walk back many policies favored by previous reform boards, scrapping the district’s controversial school rating system, reuniting Montbello and West high schools, and reconsidering how much autonomy schools should have. The board is currently debating whether full union protections should be extended to teachers at innovation schools.
In the United Methodist system, bishops appoint pastors to serve congregations. In a letter to his congregants, Laurvick said Bishop Karen Oliveto determined he was the best person to lead First United Methodist Church, Fort Collins at this time.
“I did not expect to be leaving Highlands this year,” he wrote. “My family and I are caught between the grief of leaving and the excitement of this new invitation — both feelings are overwhelming. I ask for your prayers for this entire process.”
Laurvick’s school board term would have ended in 2023. The Denver school board will need to appoint a replacement to represent northwest Denver.
News of Laurvick’s resignation was first reported in the Denver North Star.