High school student likely one of the youngest school board candidates in Denver history

DENVER -- While most of his classmates are getting ready for graduation, a senior at Manual High School in Denver is getting ready for campaign season.

Tay Anderson is a candidate for the District 4 seat on Denver’s Board of Education. He filed his paperwork on Friday.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, the Colorado Association of School Boards and the State Board of Elections do not keep records that can confirm whether he is the youngest candidate in state history.

However, Anderson only meets the age deadline by three months, so he is likely one of the youngest.

“Manual has taught me that we need to challenge and test the waters at any time and place, and that’s what I’m doing here today,” he said.

Four of the seven seats on Denver Public Schools’ board are up for grabs in November. Anderson is challenging the incumbent, Rachele Espiritu.

He is running on a platform of transparency and accountability with the district’s budget.

The teen said he got the idea to run for the position after the board made a decision last year regarding a middle school that went against what Denver students wanted.

“I said, well, if we can’t have a student on the Board of Education to actually have full voting powers, then a student after high school will run for the Board of Education and that’s going to be me,” he said.

Anderson has been the student council president three times. But does that make him qualified to be on the board of the largest school district in the state.

“I know how to lead. I know how to stand up against injustice and I know how to take constructive criticism,” he said. “I care about it with all my heart.”

He cares so much because he considers school his home.

“Right now, I can’t say that there is a home,” he said. “It’s tough being a homeless youth.”

Anderson said his personal life is his biggest hurdle as the campaign moves forward. However, he said it’s not something he plans to let get in the way of his goals.

“I don’t let that become a barrier and I don’t think anybody should let that become a barrier,” Anderson said.

He will start at Metro State University as a freshman in the fall. He plans to study political science. Long term, he aspires to become the first African American governor of Colorado.