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Lisa Escárcega, the former head of the Colorado Association of School Executives, has defeated retired education data analyst Donna Morganstern in the race to represent Denver on the State Board of Education.
As of midnight Tuesday, Escárcega had 72% of the vote to Morganstern’s 28%.
Escárcega, who has extensive connections in the education policy world, had important endorsements, including the Colorado Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union. She promised to bring a “strong, informed, and unapologetic PK-12 voice back to the board,” while Morganstern said her primary focus would be equity for students.
Both women had long careers in education and broad experience with the accountability system the board oversees. Escárcega previously served as chief accountability officer for Aurora Public Schools. Morganstern, who retired from the Colorado Department of Education last year, previously helped Douglas County School District set up a new accountability system under the federal No Child Left Behind legislation, before going to work for the state.
The winner of the Democratic primary faces Republican Sydnnia Wulff, as well as two third-party candidates, in November. However, with Democratic dominance in Denver, Tuesday’s winner stands a very high chance of replacing incumbent Val Flores on the State Board of Education.
Flores, a retired educator, had planned to run for a second term but failed to make the ballot earlier this spring.
District 1 corresponds to the First Congressional District and includes Glendale, Englewood, Sheridan, and Cherry Hills Village, as well as Denver.