By Eric Heinz
The Denver Public Schools Board of Education on Thursday, June 9, selected Charmaine
Lindsay to fill the vacant board seat for District 5, which represents north and northwest parts of the
“I was very surprised,” Lindsay said. “The four-vote threshold out of six seemed like a, you know, a very difficult thing to achieve. Yeah, I was surprised.”
Lindsay is the replacement for board member Rev. Brad Laurvick, who recently announced his resignation
because of a transfer within his church to Fort Collins, and will serve the remainder of his term, which ends in November 2023.
The apparent frontrunner before the evening began was Julie Bañuelos, who was the runner-up of the 2019 election when she lost to Laurvick by 302 votes, or 1.1%. During the contentious June 9 meeting, however, the board failed to come to a consensus on any of the candidates.
Bañuelos worked within DPS for 16 years, first as a paraprofessional and then ESL teacher at Sandoval and Centennial schools in northwest Denver. School board members cannot work for the district and Bañuelos
said her current role in accounting for a private company has no ties to DPS.
The vote was 4-2 in favor of Lindsay, with Director Scott Balderman and Board President Xóchitl Gaytán voting no, after each of the candidates had received a 3-3 split vote, which didn’t appoint them to the board. Laurvick, the outgoing member, could not vote on the matter to fill the seat he vacated.
As The Denver North Star previously reported, the original candidates in addition to Bañuelos were Leo Darnell, an assistant dean at the University of Colorado Denver’s College of Architecture and Planning;
Adeel Khan the founding principal at Denver School of Science and Technology: Conservatory
Green High School; and Lindsay, who is a family law attorney.
David Diaz, the owner of Fitness Together in Edgewater and a former a math teacher and baseball coach, was the fifth candidate, but he withdrew midway through the process to support Bañuelos.
Although the term Lindsay is serving will end in November 2023, she said she does not intend to seek election after that.
“I want to study a lot more about innovation schools and the charter schools, just what the big conflict is with those groups,” she said. “I think it seems to me like there could be a lot more common ground on some stuff where people could work together instead of being so hostile.”
Laurvick said he was grateful to his colleagues for working with him through difficult issues during his time on the board, and that he had hoped to finish his term had it not been for his transfer. He said it was “weird” to be finishing his term before some of his colleagues.
“This was unexpected, but this is part of the difficulty of living an occupation that is based on a calling because when I get called, I go,” Laurvick said. “…When I talk about ‘our’ kids, for my wife that means our two. But at the end of the day, our kids also includes 90,000-some others as well. And so, I’ll ask you, please continue to take care of our kids.”
Gaytán said Laurvick was a patient listener and gave exceptional feedback in his discussions with fellow members, even when they had stark differences of opinion on certain matters.
“Your steadfastness in servant leadership is going to be greatly missed,” Gaytán said. “It’s bittersweet, and it’s bitter because we lose you. It’s sweet because you get to move on to that next chapter that I know you’re looking forward to. And I know it’s going to be so fulfilling for you.”
Before departing, Laurvick was given several books and a new puppet that he could use for his TikTok platform and the You Matter Zone, where he uses the characters to talk about equal treatment for the