Meet the candidates: Denver school board at-large seat

·2 min read

The state's largest school district is holding elections in four of nine districts, our education reporting partner Chalkbeat writes.

Let's meet the at-large candidates in the order they will appear on Denver residents' ballots.

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Marla Benavides, 49, home-school parent

  • Her focus: improving the district's literacy rate.

  • She supports more choice when it comes to where kids go to school. "Parents have the absolute right to train their kids," she says.

  • Backs the district's mask mandate but doesn't want it enforced.

Scott Esserman, 55, consultant and former educator

  • Leads the district's accountability committee and worked to keep two schools open.

  • Believes too much money is going to the school choice system and wants dollars sent directly to all schools.

  • Supports implementation of "Know Justice, Know Peace" resolution to add more diversity to history curriculums.

Jane Shirley, 61, retired teacher and principal

  • She says the district's current model allows some schools to fail and needs to be changed.

  • Argues the school choice model is an illusion and needs an overhaul.

  • Didn't support the decision to remove police from schools because she contends it was a one-size-fits-all mandate.

Nicky Yollick, 35, hospice volunteer coordinator

  • Believes the district's biggest problem is the "bloated central administration" that "continues to propagate corporatist and segregationist policies."

  • Focused on addressing learning loss with one-on-one tutoring for those in need and child care for low-income families.

  • He wants to stop the competition between schools to attract students.

Vernon Jones Jr., 44, former educator

  • He stepped down as director of the Northeast Denver Innovation Zone after the district expressed concern about its operations.

  • He says the district's most pressing concern is its failure to serve all children, regardless of race and income levels.

  • Regarding police officers in schools, he wants to make sure children are "not learning in a police state."

Read more about the candidates from our partners at Chalkbeat

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