School board candidate quartet sings a winning tune |

School board candidate quartet sings a winning tune

A huge voter turnout elected Tessa Kirchner, Carolyn Knox Keep, Kevin Kottenstette and Felicia Battle to the Eagle County school district's board of education.
Townsend Bessent | |

Eagle County Board of Education

District A: Vail, Eagle-Vail, Minturn

4 year term

Tessa Kirchner: 3,816

Ryan Geller: 1,860

District C, Edwards

4 year term

Carolyn Knox Keep: 3,519

Mary Cotton: 2,279

District D, Eagle

4 year term

Felicia Battle: 3,158

Robert Ticer: 2,430

District E, Gypsum

2 year term

Kevin Kottenstette: 3,291

Carrie Larson: 1,629

Robinette Hoppin: 754

EAGLE COUNTY — A candidate quartet that ran together for the school board won all four of their seats.

Newcomers Carolyn Knox Keep and Kevin Kottenstette will join incumbents Tessa Kirchner and Felicia Battle on the board.

Four seats were up in Tuesday’s election, and for the first time in memory every seat was contested.

“No one does this for any sort of personal gain. Everyone who ran is doing it for the kids,” Kottenstette said.

Three candidates connected to the Eagle County Charter Academy — Ryan Geller, Mary Cotton and incumbent Carrie Larson — all were defeated. Larson, who lives in Gypsum, has been on the school board for two years. She took her seat when Ross Morgan left the board to return to teaching.

Robinette Hoppin was the third of three candidates running for the Gypsum seat, along with Kottenstette and Larson.

Kottenstette recently retired after teaching 30 years in Eagle County schools.

Kirchner was first elected in 2011, running unopposed.

“I’ve never had to campaign,” Kirchner said. “It’s fun to get out there and talk to people and meet everyone.”

She saw the school district through two years of brutal budget cuts when the economy tanked, $9 million and 90 jobs.

She was the top vote-getter in this year’s election, almost doubling her opponent, Geller.

“I’m excited that we’re going to keep doing good things for the school district,” Kirchner said. “It’s my passion. It’s what I love doing.”

The four candidates were endorsed by Eagle County’s teachers association and began to coordinate some of their campaign efforts.

The local teachers association interviewed candidates for all four seats and endorsed Kirchner, Kottenstette, Knox Keep and Battle.

For this and most other school boards around the state, it’s still money that matters.

Schools across the state are already looking at possible cuts in state funding over the next few years.

The school district is hosting a series of community meetings, beginning next week, to talk about things like facilities, maintenance and money.

Eagle County’s winning school board candidates all said funding would be a challenge for the next few years.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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