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Education groups endorse 3 Durango school board candidates

Erika Brown, Rick Petersen and Andrea Parmenter earn nods
(Durango Herald file)

The Durango Education Association and the Durango Education Support Professionals Association issued a joint announcement Thursday to endorse three candidates in the Durango School District 9-R school board election.

The associations endorsed Erika Brown, Rick Petersen and Andrea Parmenter, who are running in the local District A, C and E elections, respectively.

DEA and DESPA are organizations that represent 9-R educators, professional education supporters and student service providers. The organizations are member-led and have supported 9-R school district students for more than 60 years, and advocate for education issues at the local, state and national levels, according to a statement released Thursday.

The three candidates were selected by DEA and DESPA for their “student success, addressing school funding issues, collaboration and promoting a positive culture in the district,” the announcement says.

Jennifer Latham, who is a para-educator, DESPA treasurer and chairwoman of the DEA and DESPA election committees, said both organizations are confident that Brown, Petersen and Parmenter will focus on equitable opportunities and success for every 9-R student.

“We found the candidates to be thoughtful, balanced and well-reasoned in their approach to the complicated challenges facing public education,” Latham said in the statement.

Latham also said the three candidates “whole-heartedly embody our (DEA and DESPA) association values.”

Durango Education Association Leadership Council member and high school English teacher Teri Kopack said in the statement that Brown, Petersen and Parmenter have “relevant firsthand experience with their own children in our school district.”

Kopack also said the organization members are working to ensure high voter engagement in support of public education, teachers and students.

Brown currently serves as the vice president on the Durango School District 9-R board and is running for another term. Parmenter served previously on the board after running as a District D candidate, but she had to resign when she moved out of that district. She is now running out of District E to regain a seat on the board. Petersen is running for a first term out of District C.

The three candidates are scheduled to appear from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at a “Meet & Greet Progressive Candidates” event at the home of Kathleen Adams, who is a leadership member in La Plata County League of Women Voters and is involved with La Plata County Democrats. Adams can be reached at kadams@mcw.edu for more information.

Brown is running against Catherine Mewmaw and Kristina Paslay in the District A race, Petersen is competing against Richard “Dean” Hill in the District C race and Parmenter is running in District E against Donna Gulec.

cburney@durangoherald.com

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