Boulder Valley School District Board of Education Endorsements

Our 2023 Vote Guide endorsements


We sent questionnaires to each of the candidates running for the BVSD Board of Education in 2023. Visit this page to see each candidate’s answers.


Four of the seven BVSD Board of Education seats will be up for election in November 2023, two of which are term limited:

District A

Neil Fishman

Jason Unger

Jason Unger has experience working as a teacher, school administrator and national policy advisor that will help him guide the future of the district in a positive direction. He started teaching elementary-aged kids in Compton, California, where he saw under-resourced public education firsthand. After earning a master’s degree in public policy and education, Unger helped pass federal education bills that expanded student aid and launched the Head Start program while working in the office of former Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV). Locally, he serves on the School Accountability Committee and was City Council-appointed to a five-year term on Boulder’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

Engagement is a key piece of this candidate’s platform: He’s working to meet with parents from all 56 schools in the district to help give him a taste of both broad trends and individual school issues. This shows us Unger is prioritizing his constituents and will be responsive to their needs.

Neil Fishman is also a quality candidate who has been involved in the community for decades with organizations like Out Boulder County, and by serving on the District Parent Council. He brings a social justice-oriented mind to the race, which we expect will be a close one.

If elected to the BVSD Board of Education, Unger’s priorities are to address declining enrollment, increasing student safety around sexual violence, lowering student achievement gaps and raising the district’s investment in mental health services. With Unger’s track record in our education system, we think he’s capable of achieving these goals.

District C

Alex Medler

Cynthia Nevison

Andrew Steffl

Alex Medler is another candidate with a long history in education. Over the last 30 years, he’s worked nationally for the U.S. Department of Education as well as in the Centennial State for the Education Commission of the States, the Colorado’s Children Campaign and the Colorado Association of Charter School Authorizers. 

Medler put his two children through BVSD schools, and has a vision to enhance the student experience in the district. One of his top priorities is expanding mental health programming to address the rising rates of young people struggling with depression, anxiety and suicide. He’s also thinking about students after they leave BVSD and is an advocate for more career and technical education to increase access to post-secondary options after high school. 

One tangible proposal he outlined in our questionnaire was to provide additional and permanent dollars for schools with higher proportions of low-income students, language learners and students with disabilities, which resonates with us as a policy that prioritizes equity and accessibility. 

Medler’s continued engagement with parents and other district stakeholders, seasoned professional experience and healthy list of endorsements from notable community organizations and elected officials puts him in a good position to be a positive collaborative force on the board.

District D

Andrew Brandt

Lalenia Quinlan Aweida

Andrew Brandt is a cyber-security specialist and former investigative journalist with two teenagers in the BVSD system. In his spare time, Brandt is a volunteer at CU’s Media Archaeology Lab, and is involved in community projects like helping construct the first school garden at Eisenhower Elementary. 

Brandt’s commitment to equity is shown by his goals to address disproportionate discipline with data-driven and permanent solutions, and to continue differentiated funding for schools in the sub-district with the greatest needs. He also says BVSD’s shift to school safety advocates (SSA) “has been a huge success at keeping kids safe,” but wants to keep a watchful eye on the program if it needs adjustments to stay successful. SSAs replaced armed school safety officers per November 2020 school board vote, and now assist with things like threats, bullying and sexual assault investigations within schools.

While he doesn’t have decades of experience in public policy or education, Brandt says he’s driven to help people and will bring a spirit of cooperation and collaboration to the school board. At the Oct. 6 Out Boulder County candidate forum, Brandt brought energy and enthusiasm that made us believe him. We think he’ll do well on the board. 

District G

Jorge Chávez

Stuart Lord

Anil Pesaramelli

Jorge Chávez has been deeply involved in BVSD since moving to Colorado in 2018 and enrolling his three kids in the district. He’s been a parent volunteer since the beginning, and sits on the Families and Educators Together (FET) team, the District Accountability Committee and chairs a School Accountability Committee. Chávez has connected with families, teachers and administrators throughout this involvement, which gives him important insight to BVSD’s challenges and needs. 

Chávez’s priorities, policies and ideas reflect his understanding of the district. While acknowledging BVSD as a high-performing district, he says there are “long-standing inequalities in education outcomes for students of color, in special education, English language learners, and from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.” To address these problems, along with others like punitive discipline practices and the mental health crisis, Chávez advises investing in strategies like restorative justice programs and a social emotional learning curriculum that will support students with the highest needs.

Chávez moved from Guatemala to the U.S. when he was five years old, and started kindergarten in an English-speaking school without knowing the language. He credits the public education system, and the resources that available to him through it, for where he is today. Today he is an associate professor in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver. The combination of Chávez’s life experience, volunteer positions, connections with parents and staff, and his academic background inform the policies he supports, and will make him an excellent board member.


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