Five people have applied for a seat on the Denver school board, which will become vacant when principal Brad Laurvick leaves next month.
Laurvick, a pastor, resigned after being appointed to First United Methodist Church in Fort Collins. His last day on the school board will be June 9, according to the Denver Public School website.
The other members of the school board will publicly question the five finalists for its seat at a special meeting on May 26. Laurvick’s replacement will serve until the 2023 election.
The five candidates for the vacant seat, which represents Northwest Denver, are:
- Adeel Khan, founding principal of DSST: Conservatory Green High School, a charter school in Denver. He told a recent candidate forum that he was a son of Pakistani immigrants, grew up in public schools, and had a free, reduced lunch. “I understand the struggle of many in our community,” he said. “I also understand that students of color in Denver have been underserved for decades.”
- Julie Bañuelos, a former bilingual teacher, said she was a teacher for DPS for 16 years, is a trained Montessori educator and has taught in primarily bilingual schools. “I also feel that DPS continually underrepresents my community,” she said when asked why she wanted to join the board. “Until we are able to truly demonstrate as a district and serve the most vulnerable students, we will have truly brought about transformational change.”
- Charmaine Lindsay, an experienced family law lawyer, said she is a mediator and supporter of restorative justice. “I want to try to provide those kinds of solutions instead of just massively suspending children in schools.”
- David Diaz, a former math teacher for DPS, said he applied for the vacancy on the board because he believed in “strong neighborhood schools.” “I believe in lifelong learning,” he said. “I believe in learning from others. Those who look like us and those who don’t.
- Leonard “Leo” Darnell, assistant dean at the University of Colorado at Denver, said he also runs a mentorship program that teaches high school students about architecture, construction and engineering. “I understand that planned enrollment for DPS is down,” he said, adding, “I think there are better solutions than consolidation.”