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El Paso County Colorado District 49

Frank talk with D 49’s superintendent

Dr. Steven Hull, superintendent of School District 49, proposed a new plan to school board members at a January meeting. Hull requested additional administrative personnel and introduced several initiatives on educational improvements in an attempt to shake up “business as usual” for the district. The NFH sat down with Hull to get a better understanding of his vision.NFH: Let’s set the record straight on one issue. Will any of the $80.5 million mill levy monies be used for administrative purposes?Hull: Absolutely not. I want this to be perfectly clear to the community. Not one penny from the voter-approved mill levy will be used on anything except the construction of buildings.NFH: Your proposal requested additional administrative staff to include a deputy superintendent, a director of secondary education and a director of elementary education. What would these individuals do that cannot be folded into the current staff?Hull: Well, first of all, we would create only two positions: the deputy superintendent and the director of elementary education. Lynne Lane, currently the executive director of curriculum would become chief academic officer. Sandy Collins, director of growth, planning and school support, would move into the executive director of secondary education leaving the executive director of elementary education to be filled. We need new processes and procedures and better data for monitoring student achievement. CSAP scores tell us how students did two years ago. Our teachers need to know how a student is doing today. Learning issues need to be identified and addressed quickly to give every student the opportunity for success.The deputy superintendent would be essentially the chief operating officer of the district. The DS would be responsible for all the day-to-day operations of the schools. We will be hiring six new principals soon and numerous teachers. We will hire the very best available, but they will need support from the central administration.NFH: By relinquishing many of your current responsibilities to the deputy superintendent, what would your responsibilities be?Hull: Providing leadership. I want to work with the board of education on a long-term strategic plan for the district. We need a policy-governing model that will hold people accountable. I am responsible for this district working as a system. We are the19th largest school district in the state and growing quickly. I need to be representing the district at state board of education meetings so our voice is heard. I also need to be attending city and county planning meetings to weigh in on school sites for the district. We need to be sure that the land sites given for schools are suitable.NFH: You also talked about innovation, new initiatives and becoming a world-class school district. Would you explain in more detail what you were referring to?Hull: I firmly believe parents and kids want choice. This district need to offer choices, such as an IB (international baccalaureate program), schools that offer a complete curriculum but have an emphasis on math and science, or the arts, magnet schools, charter schools, etc. I want to end the “no choice” in D 49 by this spring. Each school in this district will focus on rigorous high achievement for all students.NFH: You also talked about the mission statement in the BOE meeting.Hull: Yes. That’s the first thing we changed. The former was long, cumbersome and placed all the burden of learning on the student. The new mission statement is outcome oriented. We are a human organization for children with the critical mission of preparing all children for success in college, and ultimately their careers.

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