jeffco schools

Superintendent Stevenson resigns

Sudden move follows tension with Jeffco school board

File Photo
Jeffco Schools Superintendent Cindy Stevenson got a hug from a supporter after she announced her retirement during a Nov. 7 school board meeting. Stevenson resigned Saturday saying her relationship with the newly structured board is unworkable.
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Superintendent Cindy Stevenson resigned from Jeffco Schools Saturday amid expressions of dissatisfaction with the direction of the new school board.

Following the general election in November, Stevenson announced her retirement and had agreed to serve through June — allowing the district time to recruit a new superintendent — but with this morning's resignation, she will depart Feb. 21.

“I can't lead and manage, because I am not trusted or respected by this board of education,” Stevenson said at the start of the meeting. “Consequently, I did approach the board, and said this isn't working.”

Stevenson's decision came after three months of work with a board that contains three newly elected board members: John Newkirk, Julie Williams, and Ken Witt, who are credited with sharing conservative perspectives. Stevenson said the three do not respect her or allow her to make decisions or lead the district.

Throughout the meeting, which lasted less than 20 minutes, audience members shouted questions about the board's transparency, expressed adoration for Stevenson and eventually chanted to recall Witt, Williams and Newkirk.

Due to the crowd at district headquarters, the meeting was quickly relocated to the large meeting room before it began.

“It makes me sick to my stomach that we're losing such a quality leader in the middle of the school year, who already, graciously resigned her position in June,” said Karstin Sutton, an English teacher at Lakewood High School.

Following Stevenson's announcement, the board attempted to move on to its scheduled agenda regarding the district budget, but the audience wouldn't quiet down. Stevenson addressed the audience, and prior to switching topics, board members Lesley Dahlkemper and Jill Fellman expressed concerns about the workings of the new board.

“We just found out about this information this morning,” said Dahlkemper. “This is what becomes the headline, and it's not about the kids, it's not about our promises as a board or our student achievement, it's not about ensuring we have a strong, effective leader in place, it's about backroom discussions.”

Witt asked for a recess, and the three newly elected members appeared ready to walk out, but hesitated and, after conferring with legal counsel and security, Witt adjourned the meeting. He immediately left the building with Newkirk.

While they packed up, the crowd shouted “Recall, recall, recall,” and “We love you, Cindy.”

Williams attempted to console a tearful Stevenson prior to leaving.

Witt, Newkirk and Williams were not available for further comment.

“I think it's political, and he (Witt) wants control of the district, and she (Stevenson) pushes back on it,” Fellman said. “I am a big supporter of Dr. Stevenson. She's led our district to some great places, and we're leading the pack, and she led us there.”

Stevenson, who has had a long career in Jeffco Schools, including 12 years as superintendent, will continue through Feb. 21, which will be her final day with the district.

“Please remember, we have a tradition of excellence, and we need to sustain that over the next couple of weeks,” Stevenson said. “It's not going to be easy, but together we can do it.”

Comments

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woldenbrook

For this level of leadership to be so discourteous and short-sighted is very disappointing. Dr. Stevenson has been a remarkable superintendent. Mr. Witt, Mr. Newkirk and Ms. Williams should apologize – learn how to work collaboratively – and do everything they can to retain Dr. Stevenson.

Monday, February 10, 2014 | Report this
TheoJames

I certainly don't know all the details (but wish I did Arvada Press), but it seems Dr. Stevenson was never interested in working with the school board. Wasn't it within days of their election that she announced she would retire and leave? Then, wasn't it earlier this week she said she had another job lined up and would like to leave sooner? Anytime a person leaves an organization they've been with for some time, it will be emotional - but this seems to be over-produced outrage by Dr. Stevenson's supporters. She's getting what she wanted right?

Monday, February 10, 2014 | Report this
LindaM

Within days after the general election, Dr. Stevenson announced her intent to resign due to changes in board membership. Now she has tendered an official two week notice. I'm confused. Isn't this a normal sequence of events? Kudos to the board for allowing Dr. Stevenson to arrange her mode of departure.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 | Report this
PFWAGNER

Good riddance. Now maybe Jeffco can move forward with real education reform that benefits ALL Jeffco students.

Before all you union hacks and uninformed Jeffco school student parents slam me, name ONE Jeffco school with even the district average of minority or Free and Reduced Lunch kids that has received even a single John Irwin Award of Excellence during Ms Steven's tenure. In fact, can you name one that has even received the Governor's Improvement Award?

No, you can't.

How STEM schools has Jeffco established? How many STEM charter schools?

NONE.

Is there even a single back-to-basics, fundamental, classical (whatever you want to call them) K-8 charter school in the middle of metro Jeffco where some of the worst schools are and where parents have no alternatives to the neighborhood educational gulags?

No there isn't.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Ms Stevens.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 | Report this
Laurel29

John Irwin Award of Excellence

The 2013 award recipients are:

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 BERGEN VALLEY INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 BRADFORD INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 BRADFORD PRIMARY SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 CONIFER SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 DEER CREEK MIDDLE SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 DENNISON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 D'EVELYN JUNIOR/SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 DEVINNY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 ELK CREEK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 EVERGREEN HIGH SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 EVERGREEN MIDDLE SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 JEFFERSON CHARTER ACADEMY SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 KYFFIN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 MANNING OPTIONS SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 MAPLE GROVE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 MARSHDALE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 MEIKLEJOHN ELEMENTARY

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 MITCHELL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 NORMANDY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 PARMALEE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 RALSTON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 RALSTON VALLEY SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 RED ROCKS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 ROCKY MOUNTAIN ACADEMY OF EVERGREEN

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 SHAFFER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 SIERRA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 UTE MEADOWS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 WEST JEFFERSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 WEST JEFFERSON MIDDLE SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 WEST WOODS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 WILMOT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Thursday, February 13, 2014 | Report this
PFWAGNER

Laurel29: if you are a Jeffco teacher or graduate of Jeffoc, you illustrate how far Jeffco has fallen.

For your list, "name ONE Jeffco school with even the district average of minority or Free and Reduced Lunch kids that has received even a single John Irwin Award of Excellence during Ms Steven's tenure. In fact, can you name one that has even received the Governor's Improvement Award?"

BTW, why don't you post the list of mediocre and poor performing schools that many more Jeffoc kids go to.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 | Report this