3 candidates vying so far unopposed for 3 Cherry Creek school board seats

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AURORA | Cherry Creek school board hopefuls are off to the political races, but early in the election, none of the candidates are facing any competition.

Two candidates told a packed Cherry Creek schools Board of Education meeting Monday night they are running for two different seats this November, when voters will head to the polls.

The candidates, Anne Egan and Angela Green Garland, are so far running unopposed. Current board member Janice McDonald also announced she is running for re-election and is so far unchallenged.

That makes one candidate for each of the three available seats, which are the majority of the five voting board seats.

District spokeswoman Abbe Smith said others have begun the process to become candidates, but none announced their candidacy Monday night. Smith said a list of interested people was not available.

However, prospective candidates must first acquire a number of signatures to become official candidates at the end of the month. There’s still ample time to enter the race.

The Cherry Creek school board has a history of board voting harmony and few contested races.

But this year’s election could change the dynamic of the school board, which makes final decisions on everything from milk carton contracts to spending large amounts of taxpayer money on school construction, teacher salary and myriad initiatives.

Two of the candidates, Garland and McDonald, are black women. Garland’s election and McDonald’s re-election this fall would increase minority make-up the board.

Candidates won’t become certified for the ballot until the end of the month, but these three candidates have already announced in public.

District A 

Egan is running for the school board’s District A seat. That seat is held by Eric Parish, who originally announced a re-election bid but reversed course. Parish is a vice president of MGT Consulting, a private group winning lucrative contracts to shape up mostly poor schools and school districts in neighboring Aurora Public Schools, Colorado and other states.

Egan told attendees of Monday night’s school board meeting that she is a parent to three district graduates and one current student.

This year, she also won an award from Cherry Creek High School for exceptional volunteering. She said she has worked with the Cherry Creek Community Legislative Network, a community lobbying and awareness group, for almost two decades.

“Over the years I have grown from advocating for my own children, to advocating for all children,” she told school board Monday.

Her policy proposals included supporting mental health initiatives for students, which Cherry Creek has robustly funded in recent years, and continuing conversations about student social media use.

District C 

Garland is running for the District C seat. Former Board President Dave Willman resigned that seat in May after using a “racist term” at a teacher celebration banquet. Regardless, Willman was term limited.

Garland, a black woman, announced her candidacy Monday night, telling the school board meeting that she is a parent of four current district students. She called herself “public school proud.”

“While no district is perfect, I am grateful for Cherry Creek’s willingness to lean in to address the complexities involved in educating our youth and all the opportunities you have given me to think, to learn, to achieve and to care,” Garland said to board members.
Garland specifically noted that she would work on hiring teachers of color and closing test score achievement gaps between racial groups. It’s a major problem across Colorado and the U.S.
She’s also interested in buttressing mental health programs and school safety measures amid a deadly and disturbing rash of school shootings, including one this year in neighboring Douglas County.
District B 
Janice McDonald is running unopposed as well, but for her re-election.
McDonald was elected in 2015 and is nearing the end of her first four-year term. She’s currently the only non-white member of the school board.
On Monday night, she said she would love to serve another four years on the board and continue her journey.