A college football analyst, a former state lawmaker, a restaurant server in college and a mining law attorney are the leading candidates among 11 hopefuls running for Michigan’s State Board of Education. 

Two Republicans, two Democrats, two Libertarians, two Working Class Party members, two U.S. Taxpayers Party of Michigan members and one Green Party member are vying for two eight-year seats on the statewide board. The two seats are open because Democrats Lupe Ramos-Montigny of Grand Rapids and Michelle Fecteau of Detroit decided not to run for reelection. 

The board is led by six Democrats with two Republicans. 

Former state Supt. Mike Flanagan, who served from 2005 to 2015, said the presence of 11 candidates shows how much interest has grown in public education.

“I think parents are struggling and they are hearing it,” Flanagan said of the candidates. “So you are getting more interest in education in general because