Whelan exits Cherry Creek school board race

Only a few declared candidates in running so far

Posted

A candidate to fill the Cherry Creek School District Board of Education seat recently held by the board's former president has withdrawn from the race, leaving unclear who will step up to compete for the district in northeast Centennial.

“A number of things have changed with my personal and professional commitments, where it became clear that I would not have the time to run the race and contribute if elected as would be necessary,” said Charles “C.J.” Whelan, who was running for the District C school board seat.

That seat, which also includes a part of south Aurora, was vacated after former board President David Willman used a controversial term while speaking at a teacher awards banquet in April. He apologized and resigned a few days later.

The school board had the ability to appoint a new member, but it announced it would allow the November election to fill the seat.

If more time remained before the election, the board likely would have chosen to appoint someone, the new board president, Karen Fisher, said in a news release. Fisher, the former vice president, took over amid the vacancy.

The board interviewed two finalists who had applied to the open seat: Angela Green Garland and Whelan, both of whom Fisher called “exceptionally qualified.” Whelan, a former Centennial city councilmember, is a telecommunications entrepreneur and has recently served as president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's alumni association. Whelan filed to run in the November election in May.

Garland, a nonprofit manager, has volunteered as a board member of the Cherry Creek School District Foundation — which gives grants and other support to district students and educators — and in other capacities in the district, according to her resume.

In her application, Garland said if she were to be appointed, she'd run in the November election in a bid to continue to hold the seat. She did not respond for comment on whether she plans to enter the race.

The Colorado Secretary of State's Office does not list any other candidates running for the seat as of July 5. The winner of the election will serve a four-year term.

School board member Eric Parish announced he will not see re-election, citing desire to spend more time with his family. Parish, the board's treasurer, was elected in 2015 to the seat in District A, which includes Cherry Hills Village and parts of Greenwood Village and Centennial, generally west of South Dayton Street.

Anne Egan, a parent who was honored as one of the district's 2019 Exceptional Volunteers, announced she'll run for the District A seat. She has served on multiple schools' parent-teacher community organizations, including as the president of Cherry Creek High School's PTCO, according to her campaign Facebook page.

Board member and secretary Janice McDonald's term also expires in November. She was elected in 2015 in District B, the southwest Aurora area. McDonald filed to run for re-election in February and has kept up with campaign document deadlines with the Colorado Secretary of State's Office since then.

The office's records don't show others having filed candidate documents with the state so far, and the school district will not know who is officially confirmed to run until later in the summer, according to Abbe Smith, district spokesperson.

As the election nears, candidate forums will allow competitors to offer details about their vision for the district and answer voters' questions, according to a district news release. Dates are anticipated for the fall, Smith said.

Willman, who was elected to the board in 2011, was term-limited and would not have been able to run for his seat again in November.

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