Douglas County School Board member resigns

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Douglas County School Board Vice President Dan Gerken resigned the week of Jan. 7, and already has stepped down from his seat. He cited growing family and work obligations.

Board President John Carson said the group will begin the process of finding his replacement during the Jan. 15 board meeting.

Gerken was elected to the board in 2009, and his term was set to expire in November. He did not return calls for comment, but Carson said there is no mystery surrounding his resignation from the education reform-focused board.

“We depend on people being willing to take a lot of time out of their lives and work and families to do this,” he said, noting board members invest at least 20 hours a month to the unpaid post. “Dan has served selflessly in that capacity for over three years now. I greatly appreciate what he’s done for our school district.”

Carson said Gerken first approached him about resigning shortly after the new year.

“I tried to talk him out of (resigning), but he made his decision,” he said.

Though the board has often been criticized for its fast-paced reform efforts, Carson said he doesn’t believe that was a factor in Gerken’s resignation.

“If you run for office, you have to be prepared for that,” he said. “Speaking for myself, the reason I got involved in public education was to make some changes in public education that I think have been needed for a long time. I know Dan felt that way as well.”

In seven years on the board, Carson said this is the fourth vacancy filled by appointment.

“It’s not an infrequent occurrence,” he said.

The board has 60 days to fill the empty seat. Any candidate must live in Gerken’s district — District D — which extends from Castle Pines to the southeast corner of the county.

Potential school board candidates must be at least 18 years of age, a 12-month resident and registered voter of the district, and have no direct or indirect interest in district contracts. All current school board members are registered Republicans, but the office is officially nonpartisan.

“We’re just looking for people that are interested in improving public education, continuing to make our school district the best, and keep making it stronger,” Carson said.

Gerken, a father of two, lives in Castle Pines with his wife, Gina. He is chairman and co-founder of Gerken Taxman Interests, a commercial real estate investment and development company.

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