With their first pick having bowed out amid controversy, Denver school board members must regroup and figure out who will join the board — and how exactly the appointment process will play out.
Longtime parent activist MiDian Holmes was appointed to the seven-member board Tuesday. After a decade-old conviction for misdemeanor child abuse was made public, Holmes announced late Thursday that she wouldn’t accept the position.
Board members and allies have underscored that Holmes, a single mother with young children, had endured challenges many other Denver families struggle with as well.
The board was supposed to meet Friday at 5 p.m. to discuss Holmes’ appointment. But board treasurer Mike Johnson said Holmes’ withdrawal made the meeting moot.
The board is set to meet again Monday at 4:30 p.m. for a previously scheduled work session and special meeting. Holmes was supposed to be sworn in at that meeting.
An agenda has not yet been posted.
Monday is the deadline by which the board must choose a successor for former board member Landri Taylor, who resigned in February after representing northeast Denver for three years. State law requires the board fill the vacancy within 60 days.
If that doesn’t happen, the law says, “the president of the board shall forthwith appoint a person to fill the vacancy.” Other than “forthwith,” the law doesn’t specify a deadline.
Board president Anne Rowe said she was unavailable Friday to discuss how she might approach the process of selecting a board member.
A Denver board president last appointed a new member in 2013. A divided board disagreed over who should fill a vacancy created by the resignation of former member Nate Easley. Then-president Mary Seawell ended up appointing Taylor, who was one of three finalists.
There were three finalists this time, as well. On Tuesday, the six remaining board members narrowed the pool of candidates down to Holmes, Jennifer Bacon and Rachele Espiritu.
In a final round of voting, Holmes got four of the six votes.
Bacon got two. She works as regional director of Leadership for Educational Equity, an organization that aims to help Teach for America alumni become school leaders. She is also an attorney and the board chair of Padres & Jovenes Unidos, an advocacy group that has criticized DPS for discipline policies that disproportionately impact students of color.
Espiritu, a parent who works in behavioral health, didn’t get any votes in the final round.