Voter guide: 2023 Denver school board candidates answer 6 questions about their priorities

Five young children write with chalk on the sidewalk in front of a school playground.
Rising first graders write their names in chalk during summer school at Denver’s Munroe Elementary School in June 2022. (Melanie Asmar / Chalkbeat)

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Voters will choose three Denver school board members on Nov. 7.

Eight candidates are running for the three seats. Two of the three races — in southeast Denver’s District 1 and northwest Denver’s District 5 — feature incumbents.

The third seat is at-large, meaning the board member represents the entire city. That race does not feature an incumbent since board Vice President Auon’tai Anderson dropped out of the running.

The election has the potential to shift the dynamics of the board, which has been criticized for infighting between some members. It could also change the board’s approach to solving the problems of declining enrollment in Denver Public Schools and school safety, which has become a topic of debate after a shooting at East High School.

The Denver Classroom Teachers Association has endorsed the two incumbents: Scott Baldermann in District 1 and Charmaine Lindsay in District 5. The teachers union also endorsed Kwame Spearman for the at-large seat.

Denver Families Action, a group that supports education reform and charter schools, has endorsed a different set of candidates: Kimberlee Sia in District 1, Marlene De La Rosa in District 5, and John Youngquist in the at-large race. Denver Mayor Mike Johnston also endorsed these candidates.

To help voters make their decisions, Chalkbeat sent all of the candidates the same set of questions. Their answers are below. Responses may have been edited for formatting or trimmed for length, but otherwise each candidate’s answers are as submitted.

Note: Former at-large candidate Paul Ballenger dropped out of the race but will still appear on the ballot. We did not include him in our voter guide because votes for Ballenger won’t count.

Melanie Asmar is a senior reporter for Chalkbeat Colorado, covering Denver Public Schools. Contact Melanie at

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