The Douglas County School Board has announced three finalists for the permanent superintendent position. Interim Superintendent Erin Kane is not one of them. According to a March 29 email to Douglas …
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The following information is from bios of the finalists posted on the Douglas County School District's website, www.dcsdk12.org.
She is the superintendent of Lewis-Palmer School District, made up of five elementary schools, one middle school and two high schools, serving more than 5,800 students.
In 2011, as assistant superintendent, Brofft helped create a communications plan to pass a $50 million bond initiative and a $1.5 million mill levy override in Englewood Schools. She was also instrumental in the success of an $8 million Colorado Department of Education BEST grant.
At Lewis-Palmer School District, Brofft has supported two mental health programs for middle school students: “Path to Empathy” and “Sources of Strength.” Under her leadership, the school district implemented a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report process and a Student-Based Budgeting system, as well as expanded its Career Technical Education.
He is the superintendent of North Kansas City Schools in Kansas City, Missouri, made up of 22 elementary schools, two sixth-grade centers, four middle schools and four high schools, serving 19,717 students.
During his first year as superintendent, Clemens collaborated with the board of education to ensure that 100 percent of the district's graduates were accepted to a two-year technical school, a four-year college/university or enlisted in military service. As a result, 97.4 percent of the district's seniors graduated and 100 percent of them had post-high school plans.
Clemens was the first superintendent in the state of Missouri to get a $100 million bond referendum passed in his first year in the position, his bio says. Voter approval rate was 82 percent.
He is the superintendent of Princeton City Schools in Cincinnati, Ohio, comprising eight elementary schools, one middle school and one high school, serving 5,633 students.
In 2012, Tucker helped pass an incremental levy and no-new taxes $40 million bond issue. He was the first superintendent in Ohio to attempt and pass an incremental levy and bond issue on a single ballot.
The first African-American upper-level administrator in a major central Ohio district, Tucker was named National Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators in 2016 and the National Alliance of Black School Educators in 2013.
The Douglas County School Board has announced three finalists for the permanent superintendent position, which has been vacant since the departure of Elizabeth Fagen in July 2016.
Interim Superintendent Erin Kane is not among the finalists.
School board President David Ray said he could not comment on why Kane wasn't selected as a finalist, but he commended her work in the school district over the past 18 months. The three finalists — each a superintendent for a district much smaller than the Douglas County School District — have "unique" skill sets, talents and gifts that will help the district move forward, he said.
"In our interviews with them, we really felt that they were very passionate and knew Douglas County well. All of them did their research," Ray said. "They weren’t just looking for another superintendent position. They were looking for Douglas County — they wanted to be in Douglas County."
Kane declined to comment on the board's decision.
According to a March 29 email to Douglas County families from Ray, the three finalists to lead the district of 68,000 students are:
In December, the Douglas County School Board contracted with an executive search firm to find candidates that met qualifications gathered from online surveys, community input meetings and board priorities, according to Ray's email. The board received more than 1,100 inquiries from nearly every state.
“Of those that ultimately submitted applications, the search firm screened and narrowed the pool of candidates based on their match to the leadership profile,” Ray said. “From there, the Board of Education screened the candidates and selected the finalists.”
The leadership profile was established in February by the school board and traits sought included strong communication skills, experience recruiting and maintaining exceptional staff, commitment to a “student first” philosophy and previous experience that will benefit the long-term financial health of the district.
In January, Kane announced that she would apply for the permanent superintendent position. She was hired in 2016 after Fagen resigned and took a position in the Humble Independent School District in Texas.
Many teachers and parents blamed Fagen, who was hired in 2010 by a school board majority of reform-minded members, for policies that led to an exodus of teachers and administrators over the past several years. During her tenure, the school board severed ties with the teachers' union.
Kane helped found charter school American Academy, which has a location in Castle Pines and two in Parker. Executive director of the school from 2013 until taking the interim DCSD position, she pointed to her leadership of the school's community in her bid to win the job.
In January 2016, the Douglas County School Board extended Kane's contract through the 2017-18 school year.
Hiring a permanent superintendent was a hot topic leading up to last year's school board election, when voters elected four anti-reform candidates, Kevin Leung, Krista Holtzmann, Chris Schor and Anthony Graziano, who in their campaigns promoted a nationwide superintendent search. They joined like-minded members Ray, Wendy Vogel and Anne-Marie Lemieux on the board.
In an evaluation released last fall, the seven school board members at the time — which included Ray, Vogel and Lemieux, and four pro-reform members — rated Kane based on four criteria: creating a work environment to increase employee satisfaction and reduce turnover, bringing stability to the district, performing budget analysis and communicating the need for a mill levy and bond tax measure.
Ray and Lemieux gave Kane generally low marks compared to those given by Vogel and the reform-minded board members.
Laura Mutton, founder of Strong Schools Coalition, an organization composed of parents, students, teachers and community with an interest in the school district, said she has faith the school board is making the right decision given the community input it has received.
"I'd assume if Kane didn’t make the cut, she didn't match up with what the community was asking for," said Mutton, whose child went to Douglas County schools.
The school board will host a series of meetings in the upcoming week before making a decision on the permanent superintendent.
The board is excited to present the three finalists to the community, Ray said.
“I am proud to be part of a Board of Education who values staff and community engagement and maintains a focus on what is best for our students,” Ray said in his email. “We hope you will accept our invitation to get to know these candidates by attending next week's board sessions and/or the moderated discussion.”
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