It’s official: Nine candidates are running for three open seats on the Denver school board — including one latecomer who entered the race just this month.

Friday was the deadline for candidates to notify the Denver Elections Division that they intend to run for school board. Candidates must also petition to get on the ballot, and all nine have successfully done so. The election will take place Tuesday, Nov. 5.

The seven-member school board sets policy and oversees the superintendent of Denver Public Schools, which serves nearly 93,000 students. Denver Public Schools has been on a yearslong journey to raise academic achievement and close wide test score gaps between students of color and white students, and those from lower- and upper-income families.

Some of the district’s strategies are controversial. Whether the district should close low-performing schools, or collaborate with independent charter schools, are always hotly debated questions among school board candidates.

November’s election matters because the winners will help shape the district’s direction. For more than a decade, candidates who agree with the district’s reform strategies have held a majority on the board. The teachers union and others want to “flip the board” so that candidates who oppose such reforms hold a majority of seats.

Chalkbeat has interviewed eight of the nine candidates about their connection to Denver schools, the reasons they’re running, and what changes they would propose.

We have not spoken to Natela Alexandrovna Manuntseva, who entered the race just this month. She did not provide a phone number or email address to the Denver Elections Division. We left a message with her employer, but we have not heard back. (Update: We have since spoken with Manuntseva, and this story was updated on Sept. 11 with a link to that interview below.)

Here’s who is running for Denver school board, with links to our previous coverage.

At-large

Three candidates are running for the at-large seat currently held by Happy Haynes, who is barred by term limits from running again. This seat represents the entire city, and all voters in Denver will cast ballots in this race.

The candidates are:
Tay Anderson
Alexis Menocal Harrigan
Natela Alexandrovna Manuntseva

District 1

Three candidates are running for the seat currently held by Anne Rowe, who is barred by term limits from running again. This seat represents southeast Denver, and only voters who live there will cast ballots. Here’s a map that shows the area.

The candidates are:
Scott Baldermann
Radhika Nath
Diana Romero Campbell

District 5

Three candidates are running for the seat currently held by Lisa Flores, who is eligible to run for re-election but is not. This seat represents northwest Denver, and only voters who live there will cast ballots. Here’s a map that shows the area.

The candidates are:
Julie Bañuelos
Tony Curcio
Brad Laurvick

The teachers union has endorsed a slate that includes Anderson, Baldermann, and Laurvick. Stand for Children, an advocacy group that has backed the board majority, and Students for Education Reform have both endorsed Menocal Harrigan, Romero Campbell, and Curcio.