Jeffco schoolboard appoints interim superintendent

Kristopher Schuh to fill the role in the coming months

Casey Van Divier
cvandivier@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 8/12/20

The Jeffco Public Schools Board of Education has appointed Kristopher Schuh as the district's interim superintendent. Current superintendent, Jason Glass, will leave his position Sept. 13 to take …

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Jeffco schoolboard appoints interim superintendent

Kristopher Schuh to fill the role in the coming months

Posted

The Jeffco Public Schools Board of Education has appointed Kristopher Schuh as the district's interim superintendent.

Current superintendent, Jason Glass, will leave his position Sept. 13 to take over as Commissioner of Education for the state of Kentucky.

Schuh was appointed the interim superintendent on Aug. 11.

Schuh has worked in Jeffco Public Schools for 20 years, most recently as the district's deputy superintendent and chief of secondary schools, playing a major role in the drafting of Jeffco's restart plan. He has also been a Jeffco community superintendent, principal, assistant principal and coach, in addition to having held other educational positions inside and outside the district.

He has worked in the education field for 28 years, having previously earned degrees in U.S. history, Spanish, educational counseling and a license in educational administration. He is married to a Jeffco teacher and has two children in Jeffco schools.

Board president Susan Harmon said at the Aug. 11 Board of Education meeting that Schuh will serve as interim superintendent until a full-time superintendent is hired and can assume his or her new duties. The national search for a full-time superintendent “begins somewhere around November (or) December,” she added.

Schuh was selected after board members met to discuss a process for selecting an interim superintendent on July 30, in executive session.

“We certainly did reach out and explore as many alternatives as we thought reasonable and invited people to express their levels of interest,” board member Brad Rupert said of the process.

Board member Ron Mitchell added that he brainstormed possible candidates, reaching out to two retired superintendents to gauge their levels of interest.

Harmon said there is no outlined process for selecting an interim superintendent in Jeffco. However, there are policies for selecting a full-time superintendent, which will be followed when that process begins, she said.

But board member Susan Miller stated that she believed the process the board just completed, to select an interim superintendent, may have been negatively affected by the fact that the board is not in compliance with one of its policies, EL-09, “Emergency Superintendent Succession.”

The policy states that “in order to protect the Board in the event of sudden loss of superintendent services, the superintendent shall assure that no fewer than two other executive staff members are familiar with Board and superintendent issues and processes and each is capable of assuming superintendent responsibilities on an emergency basis.”

In an interview, Miller said the board has no such list of individuals who are ready to take over in case of an emergency.

While she said the event at hand does not constitute an emergency, she feels that based on the language of the policy, the succession list is necessary at all times, not just after an emergency arises. The lack of such a list left the board with few options to consider for the role, she said, leading to a situation where board members were left trying to brainstorm possible candidates.

“This has nothing to do with Mr. Schuh at all. But we did not have at least a consideration for alternatives,” Miller said. “If we had been in compliance, then we would have at least had something in place to help frame the conversation (about selecting an interim superintendent) and help with the decision-making process.”

During the meeting, Harmon responded to Miller's concerns, saying she did not feel the policy in question was applicable to the situation, given the lack of emergency.

In the vote to approve Schuh's appointment, Miller voted no and all other board members voted yes.

“I hope, frankly, that we will transition authority to our new interim superintendent as soon as possible and maybe that's a conversation the board needs to have,” Mitchell said. “I believe that we're making the right move for Jeffco Public Schools at the right time.”

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