Denver School Board

Denver Endorsed Candidates

There are 58 charter schools in Denver, with more than 20,000 students. That’s roughly 22% of the students in the Denver public school system.  CLCS Action is endorsing Vernon Jones in the At-Large school board seat, Karolina Villagrana in District 2, and Gene Fashaw in District 4 because they are all deeply committed advocates for children who will take the school board in a new direction.  The pandemic has put too many kids behind. Our schools can and must prioritize getting kids back on track academically and balancing kids’ mental health in these difficult times.  Vernon, Karolina and Gene will end the political debates that have consumed the school board. They’ll end the dysfunction and put the focus back on Denver students and their futures.  Please read more about each of them below. 

Vernon Jones, Jr.

Vernon Jones, Jr.


Vernon Jones was born and raised in Colorado.  His family has been in NE Denver since the 1960s where he lives today with his wife and their five kids and three dogs.  Vernon has a BA from Colorado Christian University and a certificate in Education Finance from Georgetown University.

Vernon Jones wrote “I am a father of five children who all have different learning needs and preferences. Colorado’s forward thinking position on honoring the power of parents/guardians to choose the best places for them to learn, belong, and grow is essential.”

Vernon learned the value of education from, among others, his mother and Aunt who worked in DPS schools for more than 30 years.  Vernon became an education leader himself when he got involved in the effort to re-open Manual High School in Denver.  It was at Manual that Vernon’s passion for equitable transformation through innovation in education was sparked. Vernon currently serves on the leadership team at FaithBridge, on the boards of Mentor Colorado and Colorado Humanities.  He is the Executive Director of the Northeast Denver Innovation Zone.

Karolina Villagrana

Karolina Villagrana

District 2

Karolina Villagrana, a native of Southwest Denver, learned first-hand the value of hard work and the hope that a quality education can level the playing field for children and eventually their families from her parents who immigrated to the U.S. before Karolina was born. She earned a BA from the University of Colorado and Masters in Educational Leadership from Columbia University.

Karolina is an experienced leader and passionate educator. She has served as Principal-in-Residency, Assistant Principal, Instructional Coach, and both a founding teacher and classroom teacher and held several positions within the Denver charter school community.

Gene Fashaw

Gene Fashaw

District 4

Gene Fashaw is a product of Denver public schools. He attended John Amesse and Mcglone Elementary, Smiley Middle, and later the computer magnet program at George Washington High School. He earned a BA in Business Administration with a concentration in management from Morehouse College.  It was on that campus that he took on the idea of servant leadership.

Gene Fashaw wrote I believe in school choice at its core. My hope is to provide more quality choices in the communities that need it most.”

Gene has been a coach and an active community leader. That passion for the community led him to the classroom in 2017 as part of the Teach for America Launch Fellowship.  Since then, he has been dedicated to educating the children in the Far Northeast community at Strive Prep Montbello.  He has since earned an MA in Teaching with a concentration in Secondary Math.  He is dedicated to opening doors of opportunity for students that look like him, and grew up in neighborhoods like his.