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Tom Parrish

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Tom Parrish
Tom Parrish.jpg
Board Member, Mesa County Valley School District 51, At-large
Term ends
November 2017
Years in position 2
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
First electedNovember 5, 2013
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sUniversity of Northern Colorado
Master'sWestern State College
(timed out) Campaign website
Tom Parrish currently represents District D on the Mesa County Valley School District 51 School Board in Colorado. He won election to the board against challenger Michael Z. Lowenstein on November 5, 2013.


Parrish has his Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from the University of Northern Colorado and his Master's degree in Education from Western State College. He and his wife have three children who graduated District 51 schools, as well as three grandchildren that are now attending. He is currently a Licensed Professional Educator (LPE) at the College of Graduate and Adult Studies at Grand Junction.[1]



See also: Mesa County Valley School District 51 elections (2013)


Parrish defeated challenger Michael Z. Lowenstein for the District D seat on November 5, 2013.


Mesa County Valley School District 51, District D General Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngTom Parrish 59.1% 21,628
     Nonpartisan Michael Z. Lowenstein 40.9% 14,966
Total Votes 36,594
Source: Mesa County, Colorado, "2013 Coordinated Election," accessed December 16, 2013


Parrish reported $12,367.99 in contributions and $12,367.99 in expenditures to the Colorado Secretary of State, which left his campaign with no cash on hand.[2]


Parrish was endorsed by The Daily Sentinel, the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and "Strong Schools, Strong Communities."[3]

Campaign themes

Parrish stated the following about his campaign priorities on his website:[4]

Better test scores are necessary, but not enough by themselves. We must also ensure our students are ready for what comes next. We must prepare students with skills for success, whether they are bound for further education or directly to the workplace. Our children need high quality schools to succeed in the global economy.

One size does not fit all. I propose that we encourage our schools to develop individual educational specialties, approaches and personalities. When schools compete for students, educators are motivated, excellence is recognized, and students are the winners.

I worked as a District 51 teacher, principal and program administrator for 29 years. Take my word for it – we can get much more efficiency out of our schools. I am in favor of requiring schools to employ data-based decision-making to better use our resources and get more results for our buck. System accountability and personal responsibility are essential if we are to improve.

Note: The above quote is from the candidate's website, which may include some typographical or spelling errors.

What was at stake?

Three seats on the Mesa County Valley School Board were up for election. Current District C seat holder John Williams and District E seat holder and Board President Greg Mikolai sought re-election to their seats, while District D seat holder Leslie Kiesler was term-limited.

About the district

See also: Mesa County Valley School District 51, Colorado
Mesa County Valley School District 51 is located in Mesa County, Colorado
Mesa County Valley School District 51 is located in Mesa County, Colorado. According to the 2010 US Census, Mesa County is home to 146,723 residents.[5]


Mesa County underperformed in terms of its average household income, poverty rate and higher education achievement in 2011 compared to the state of Colorado. The median household income in Mesa County is $52,986 compared to $57,685 statewide. The poverty rate in Mesa County is 12.7% compared to 12.5% for the entire state. The U.S. Census also found that 26.1% of Mesa County residents aged 25 years and older attained a Bachelor's degree compared to 36.3% in Colorado as a whole.[5]

Racial Demographics, 2012[5]
Race Mesa County (%) State (%)
White 94.4 88.1
Black or African American 0.9 4.3
American Indian and Alaska Native 1.6 1.6
Asian 0.9 3.0
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.2
Two or More Races 2.2 2.8
Hispanic or Latino 13.7 21.0

Party Affiliation, 2013[6]
Party Registered Voters  % of Total
Unaffiliated 28,607 34.1
Democratic 16,702 19.9
Republican 37,549 44.8
Libertarian 619 0.7
Green 154 0.2
American Constitution 244 0.3

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.[7] This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.

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