Auontai “Tay” Anderson is student body president of Manual High School, chair of the Colorado High School Democrats and command sergeant major of the Junior ROTC 5th Battalion.
Now he wants a seat on the Denver school board.
Anderson, 18, filed paperwork Friday with the Secretary of State to run for a seat to represent northeast Denver that is currently held by Rachele Espiritu.
“My youth gives me the benefit of both a fresh perspective and the first-hand experiences of the strengths and weaknesses of our school system,” Anderson said in a statement. “Together, we need to create more opportunities for students to step into their greatness, improve our schools, and put our students first — especially our students of color, which is a top priority for me.”
Last summer, Anderson took up a bullhorn and led a chant of “black lives matter!” at a protest in response to police shootings of African-American men. At the time, he told Chalkbeat he planned to run for the school board — and possibly for president some day.
Four of seven seats on the Denver school board are up for grabs this November. If any or all current board members lose their seats, it could mean a philosophical shift for the state’s largest district. All seven members now back Superintendent Tom Boasberg’s reform efforts.
Espiritu was appointed to her seat after MiDian Holmes, who was tapped to replace board member Landri Taylor, stepped aside after details of a misdemeanor child abuse conviction became public.
Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools.