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Board Member Profiles - Karla Esser

Colorado State Board of Education

Karla Esser

Karla Esser (D)

7th Congressional District, Lakewood

Terms of Office: January 2021 – January 2027

7th Congressional District, Arvada.


Dr. Karla Esser was elected to the State Board of Education, representing the 7th Congressional District, in November 2020. She will serve a six-year term, ending in January 2027.

Dr. Esser has been an educator for over 35 years. She recently retired from Regis University in Denver as the Director of the Master of Arts in Education program, which offers graduate degrees for practicing teachers, including principal licensure and the culturally and linguistically diverse program.

Starting her career in Aurora at Gateway High School teaching German and Social Studies, she soon moved to Germany where she taught English in grades 3-12, and in higher education. After 19 years in Germany, the Esser family returned to Colorado, where Karla continued her career as an instructional coach back in the Aurora Public School District. Dr. Esser has been a teacher, school and district administrator, and a professor. In the many years since her return, she has worked closely with CDE through various committees. Her passion has always been working with historically underserved student populations through improving classroom instruction and school systems.

Born and raised in Colorado, Dr. Esser received her Bachelor of Arts in Modern Languages at Colorado State University. After completing graduate level courses in both Germany and England, she completed her Master of Arts in Education at Regis University. Dr. Esser holds a Colorado principal’s license through coursework at Denver University, and has a Doctorate of Education Leadership and Policy from the University of Northern Colorado. Dr. Esser is a native Coloradan and lives with her husband, Vinzenz, in Lakewood. They have one son and daughter-in-law, who live in Ft. Collins.

For additional information, e-mail: state.board@cde.state.co.us.