School & District Management

In Denver, the School Board Members Are All Women

By Denisa R. Superville — December 13, 2017 1 min read
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With the swearing-in of new school board members earlier this mont, Denver now has the first all-female school board in its history, according to the district.

New members Angela Cobián, Carrie Olson, and Jennifer Bacon were sworn in for four-year terms last Tuesday, along with Barbara O’Brien, who was re-elected to the board.

They join board president Anne Rowe, longtime board member Allegra “Happy” Haynes, and Lisa Flores.

Across the country, women make up more than 40 percent of school board members, which is more than double the average female representation in other governing bodies,according to reporting that my colleague Sarah Sparks did in 2014. But, as Sarah reported, studies found that unless women make up a supermajority on a school board, they don’t comment or endorse motions as often as their male counterparts.

“I am deeply honored to work with this amazing group of people who are stepping up to guide the district and serve the community,” Rowe said in a statement. “Together, we are all committed to ensuring every child succeeds while being role models to our young girls who aspire to lead.”

Cobián, a 28-year-old Teach For America alum and former district teacher, is also the youngest member in the board’s history. She defeated Xochitl Gaytan, who was supported by the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, in an expensive race to fill the seat left vacant by Rosemary Rodriguez, who retired this year.

“My goal is to ensure that all of our more than 92,000 children receive the best educational opportunities from start to finish,” Cobián, who works as a manager for Leadership for Educational Equity, an educational advocacy group, said in a statement. “I am honored to do the important work of continuing to raise student achievement as students prepare for college and a career, improving social and economic mobility for themselves and their families.”

From left to right: Barbara O’Brien, Lisa Flores, Jennifer Bacon, Allegra “Happy” Haynes, Carrie Olson, Board President Anne Rowe, and Angela Cobián. Photo courtesy Denver Public Schools.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.