AURORA | The Cherry Creek School District has its candidates for three open school board seats, but only one seat will see competition.
Four candidates for the school board — which includes much of Aurora and the southeast metroplex suburbs — have filed their intent to run and help manage the 55,000-student district.
Three of the board’s five voting seats are up for grabs and will be determined by district voters on November 5.
Each board member represents one of five districts.
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 salaries and myriad initiatives.
Only one seat, District C, has more than one candidate, making the other seats a shoo-in barring unlikely surprise withdrawals.
District C was occupied by former board President Dave Willman, who resigned in the spring after using a self-described racist term, “tar baby,” at a teacher appreciation banquet. Regardless, Willman would have been term-limited. The two candidates hoping to win the seat for the next four years are both African-American.
Angela Garland, one of those hopefuls, has four children that are students in the district. In a district questionnaire, she said she volunteers on the district’s foundation board, a fundraising entity. She said she has also served on the District Accountability Committee and graduated from the Leadership Cherry Creek program.
Garland said her experiences gave her “a degree of insight, compassion and empathy for all the complexities within our school district with the most important being our students.”
Her opponent for the seat is Alioune Sogue, an environmental engineer and leader of the Colorado African Organization. The nonprofit has provided resources to over 80 percent of people resettled in the state since 2004, he said in the district questionnaire.
Sogue said his priorities would be supporting new, innovative learning environments and focusing on the district’s immigrant population.
Two other candidates are running unchallenged for separate seats.
Janice McDonald is running for re-election to her District B seat. She was originally elected in 2015 and will serve another four years, barring a withdrawal from the race.
The board’s District A seat is open after its current holder, Eric Parish, backed out of a re-election bid. Parish is a vice-president of MGT Consulting, a for-profit group winning millions of dollars to manage struggling districts and schools in the region, including neighboring Aurora Public Schools. Parish cited family responsibilities in his announcement not to run for re-election.
Vying for the open seat is Anne Egan, who also does not face competition.
In her district questionnaire, Egan said she has volunteered in the district for almost 20 years. Like Garland, she has served on a bevy of district committees and groups and graduated from the Cherry Creek leadership program.
Egan said three of her children have graduated from the district, and one is still a student. She said that student mental health would be her priority if elected.