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Eagle County school board: 11 candidates will run for 5 open seats

11 candidates will run for 5 open seats on Eagle County school board

Change is coming to Eagle County’s school board. Both the board’s current president and vice president — Kate Cocchiarella and Shelly Jarnot — have reached the end of their term limits. The Nov. 10 board meeting will be the last for Cocchiarella, Jarnot and Fernando Almanza, who’s term didn’t expire but is not running again.
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Eagle County Schools will have 11 candidates, including two incumbents, running for the five available seats for the district’s Board of Education in the Nov. 2 election.

On the morning of Sept. 1, the district drew names to determine the ballot order of the candidates. The candidates are below.

Director District A Candidates:



  • Kelly Alter
  • Andrew Keiser

Director District B Candidates:

  • Lelia Conlin
  • Kyla Sink
  • Write-in Candidate: Bridget Russell

Director District E Candidates:

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  • Heather Bergquist
  • Juan Peña

Director District F Candidates:

  • Michelle Stecher
  • Write-in Candidate: Maribel G. Avila

Director District G Candidates:

  • Susan Cunningham
  • Dan Reynolds

Kelly Alter and Michelle Stecher are both current board members seeking reelection to the board.

Both the board’s current president and vice president — Kate Cocchiarella and Shelly Jarnot — have reached the end of their term limits. The Nov. 10 board meeting will be the last for Cocchiarella, Jarnot and Fernando Almanza, who’s term didn’t expire but is not running again.

Following the certification of the election results, the newly elected board will vote on the new president, vice president and other board officers at the board retreat in early December. This retreat is part of the Colorado Association of School Boards annual convention, where board members will be able to attend trainings and get to know each other.

This newly elected board will have its first meeting with its new members, and new leadership on Dec. 8. The board will have at least three new members, but could have up to five depending on election results.

The district seemed to anticipate a higher-than normal turnout for this election as parent involvement with the school board and with the district has increased throughout the pandemic.

At the last school board meeting on Aug. 25, where over 30 parents and community members came to speak and engage with the board, several comments were made about this increased participation.

“I do think many of you might be here because you’d heard these meetings are really exciting. And I can tell you, the 10 years that I’ve been attending the meetings, 99% of them are not, but the ones that we’ve had in the last few weeks have been. I credit you guys for showing up and taking an interest and being involved in the process,” Superintendent Philip Qualman said at the meeting.

And when addressing the process of how the board will turn over and train its new members at the meeting, Cocchiarella said she did so because “there’s some potential board members, perhaps, in the audience.”

Registered voters will vote on the five school board seats on Nov. 2.

The five seats that will be included in the election represent the following director districts and schools:

  • District G: Avon Elementary, Brush Creek Elementary, Eagle Valley Elementary, Edwards Elementary, Homestake Peak School, Berry Creek Middle School, Battle Mountain High School and Eagle Valley High School
  • District F: Avon Elementary, Edwards Elementary, Berry Creek Middle School and Battle Mountain High School
  • District E: Gypsum Elementary, Red Hill Elementary, Gypsum Creek Middle School and Eagle Valley High School
  • District B: Avon Elementary, Homestake Peak School, Red Sandstone Elementary, Berry Creek Middle School and Battle Mountain High School
  • District A: Avon Elementary, Edwards Elementary, Homestake Peak School, Red Sandstone Elementary, Berry Creek Middle School and Battle Mountain High School

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