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Colleagues of superintendent selection Tucker applaud his leadership

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Tom Burton, associate superintendent of Princeton City Schools, recalls a time when he was eating at a restaurant with his superintendent, Thomas Tucker.

An employee and former student approached Tucker, thanking him for his leadership at the school district in Cincinnati. She credited him for her graduating and getting promoted to her restaurant's general manager training program.

“With tears in her eyes, she thanked him, because she had heard it was Dr. Tucker's vision and passion to make sure each student would have an opportunity to cross the finish line,” said Burton.

For the past three years, Burton has worked under Tucker. That's likely to soon change. Pending a contract agreement, Tucker will begin his endeavor as superintendent of Douglas County School District in the 2018-19 school year. The school board selected Tucker as the sole finalist at a special meeting on April 5.

The Licking Heights School District in Ohio, where Tucker served as superintendent from 2008-11, congratulated Tucker on his new position and wished him well in an April 10 email to Colorado Community Media.

“His time at Licking Heights was filled with tremendous change, as our student enrollment grew from 2,892 to over 3,200 students during his tenure," said Mallory Sribanditmongkol, the district's communications specialist. "Our district now stands at 4,400 students — and we continue to grow.”

Burton will be sad to see Tucker go, he said in a phone interview from Cincinnati on April 9. He describes Tucker's leadership as collaborative, creative, communicative. When they periodically visit schools together, kids and staff know Tucker's name, and he knows theirs.

“He is really engaged, I think that's one of the things that separates him from a lot of other superintendents,” said Burton. “He's not afraid to talk to anyone in the education community, and his passion is all about the students.”

Tucker has an open door policy for staff, Burton said. He's a communicator with a coherent vision and mission. He's a listener. He's confrontational in a way that is respectful but clear.

“His passion is unparalleled,” said Burton. “I've never seen anything like it.”

When asked what Douglas County schools can expect from Tucker, Burton responded:

“I think everyday he is going to come to work passionate, excited, willing to be creative to meet the needs of each student. He is going to be somebody that is very visible and somebody that is incredibly student-centered, and also somebody that is going to work collaboratively with staff and the educational community.”

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