2024 Primary: Colorado State Board of Education District 2

Kathy Gebhardt vs. Marisol Lynda Rodriguez

Kathy Gebhardt, left, and Marisol Rodriguez are both vying for an open seat on Colorado's State Board of Education.

Kathy Gebhardt 


  • Secure opportunities for all Colorado students to lead their most successful lives
  • Lift up the needs of children with learning differences
  • Support welcoming, well-resourced schools

Kathy Gebhardt has a long history working in the public education sphere. 

She served eight years on the Boulder Valley Board of Education, two of which she was president. She’s also on the board of directors for the Colorado Association of School Boards as well as for the National Association of School Boards. 

Because of her experience, she has a good understanding of the major players in the space and where the board holds power to make a difference. Her endorsements include Congressman Joe Neguse and a long list of school board members.  

As an attorney, Gebhardt has been co-lead counsel on litigation relating to inequity in school funding and how school construction is funded. 

“Funding underlies [all of my priorities],” she says. “I’ve worked on funding for a long time and will continue to advocate for more funding,” something she says allows for smaller class sizes, higher teacher salaries, better support for students and improved facilities.  

One of her top priorities is to create opportunities for students “to lead their most successful lives.” For Gebhardt, that includes post-work readiness programs and letting families have choices about where to send their kids to school, including charter schools and magnet schools. 

Gebhardt has five children, the youngest of whom is now 22 years old, who all went to Boulder Valley public schools. She says she knows the challenges of navigating the system for a kid on an individualized education program (IEP) firsthand. Three of her children are adopted, something she says gives her perspective on the challenges non-white children born outside the country face. 

Gebhardt says she sees setting the academic standards as one of the most important and influential jobs of the Board of Education and would also oppose book banning efforts. 

“I really do believe that public education is a place where we should all come together and we should all figure out how to navigate that without pulling kids out, without othering others,” she says. “You can have those conversations at home and in your church and in whatever groups you want your family and your kids to belong to. But I don’t think that it works to narrow curriculum, to narrow the books that are available.” 

Yes/no questions

Do you think districts should keep snow day/adverse weather cancellations (rather than switching to remote learning)? Yes
Would you support later or staggered start times for children of different ages? Yes 
Do you think there should be less emphasis on standardized testing? Yes

Read more of Gebhardt’s answer to the question above in her full questionnaire at bit.ly/KathyGebhardtBW

Related: Charter school backers pour big money into state board of education race

Marisol Rodriguez 


  • Effective spending of school improvement dollars
  • Representative and inclusive academic standards
  • Improving licensure and teacher preparation

Marisol Rodriguez doesn’t have any political experience — and if you ask her, that’s a good thing.

“I think we need more people like me who maybe don’t understand every single aspect of every single thing at this moment in time,” she says. “We can come in and ask better questions, but also understand that maybe the way that things have always been done, we don’t need to do it that way anymore. We can make room for innovation.”

She points out that she’s not coming in with political baggage or “entrenchment in any one camp.” That doesn’t mean she doesn’t have support from politicians in the arena — notable endorsements include Gov. Jared Polis and current District 2 Board of Education member Angelika Schroeder. 

Rodriguez owns an education consulting business, which she says means she knows how to bring together different groups and reach consensus to solve complex problems. But perhaps the most important experience she brings to the table is personal. If elected, she would be the only person on the board with kids still in K-12 schools, according to her website. 

“I think if you have experience from five years ago, 10 years ago, I don’t think you really understand what our teachers and students, and even families for that matter, are facing,” she says, pointing to the ways COVID has changed education. 

One of her children has special needs and is in an intensive learning center, and her other child recently came out as nonbinary. 

“When I look at the state board, that’s the thing that’s missing for me,” she says. “If they decide to go against our LGBTQ community, there’s not one of their kids that’s going to feel it like mine will.”

Rodriguez wants to protect inclusive academic standards in the state and make sure school improvement dollars are distributed equitably. She also opposes vouchers and “other efforts to transfer public tax dollars to unaccountable private or religious education programs,” according to her campaign website. Ultimately, she says her goal if elected is to “get to know people as people” and work together for the best interest of children and schools. 

“This isn’t a political game,” she says. “These are kids.”

Yes/no questions

Would you support later or staggered start times for children of different ages? Yes
Do you think school districts should keep snow day / adverse weather cancellations (rather than switching to remote learning)? Yes, as long as student contact requirements are met/exceeded
Do you think there should be less emphasis on standardized testing? Yes

Read Rodriguez’s full questionnaire at bit.ly/MarisolRodriguezBW


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