Pam Mazanec, a Larkspur Republican and adamant supporter of school choice and parental rights, is resigning her seat on the State Board of Education effective Jan. 31.
Mazanec provided a copy of her letter of resignation to Chalkbeat. In a separate statement, Mazanec said she is leaving her post to focus on her family’s small business. Her term would have ended in 2019.
“Serving in this role has truly been an honor and a privilege,” she said in a statement. “I thank the people of Colorado, all my colleagues on the board, past and present, Commissioner Anthes, all the staff at CDE, and everyone committed to excellent education for Colorado’s students. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve.”
First elected in 2012, Mazanec represents the state’s heavily Republican 4th Congressional District, which includes most of the Eastern Plains.
She has been a reliable conservative voice in some of the state’s thorniest education debates, including the role of standards and testing, data privacy, and school choice.
Hardly a board meeting went by in which Mazanec didn’t correct someone — usually fellow board member Val Flores, a Denver Democrat — on facts about charter schools.
“Charter schools are public schools,” she would say regularly.
Board chair Angelika Schroeder, a Boulder Democrat, said despite competing obligations, Mazanec was always ready to focus on the work of the board.
“I know that Pam has been challenged these past five years to balance State Board work with her professional work and family, but she has always been well prepared and totally engaged in our work together,” Schroeder said in an email. “I will miss her.”
Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes, in a statement, called Mazanec “a champion for rural districts and innovative school practices.”
“She always pushed our thinking, and we are grateful for her unwavering service to CDE and the students of Colorado,” Anthes said. “She will be missed.”
Luke Ragland, president of Ready Colorado, a nonprofit that supports conservative education reform policies, echoed Anthes.
“Pam Mazanec provided thoughtful, conservative leadership on the Colorado State Board of Education,” he said in a statement. “It was always clear she had a steadfast commitment to students and families.”
A Republican vacancy committee will be responsible for choosing a replacement to serve out the rest of Mazanec’s term. This will be the third time since 2014 that a vacancy committee will be used to appoint a member of the state board. Members Steve Durham, a Colorado Springs Republican, and Joyce Rankin, a Carbondale Republican, were appointed in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
“We hope that the vacancy committee selects another school choice champion to represent the 4th Congressional District,” Ragland said.