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El Paso County Colorado District 49


As your recently selected chief education officer, I feel very much like I am finally coming home. For the past several years, I have admired and followed the progress of this district. Now. I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to come home to a group of individuals who work so hard.I believe in the long- and short-term value of innovation. I am right at home in District 49, where innovative educators are transforming our district into a portfolio of amazing options for every student, parent, teacher and staff member.As we welcome new colleagues into our district, zones and schools at the start of this new year, this is a great time to ensure we continue to evaluate areas of opportunity and growth. I am eager to get into District 49, our community; and start working with you to upgrade our home. I envision a solid foundation that ensures our district will remain innovative, while becoming more sustainable, attractive and marketable.I look forward to community meetings, based in our innovation zones, as a way to get to know the parents, business leaders and volunteers of District 49. We all share in the important work of educating our students, and I look forward to collaborating together.I was born and raised in rural Alaska, in a small fishing town where everyone was resourceful and had to work together. My mom ran a rehabilitation center and served on the local school board. My dad was a teacher and did taxes for our fishing friends. I grew up expecting that everyone worked hard, and most people had multiple jobs. Now that my wife and I are almost finished raising six kids, I am even more convinced that hard work and resourcefulness pays off.One of our best assets in District 49 is that resourcefulness of our staff and community. The great innovations and efforts of the past few years are testament to the commitments we make and to excellence in education. In the years ahead, I commit to giving my best and working tirelessly to find the resources we need to make our vision a reality.It was powerful to see our community come together in support of a cause that impacts every child in our district. After weeks of soaking, unpredictable rain, the clouds pulled back and gave us a perfect summer afternoon to launch the Stand Up. Speak Out. concert to end bullying. By the time the last fireworks faded against a rising moon, hundreds of community members had heard from singers, speakers, survivors and each other a resounding message that now is the time to stand united against bullying. I am proud to serve in a district that took on the leadership role for a community-wide event. Dozens of community agencies, major news outlets and national-caliber performers praised the vision and coordination that became Stand Up. Speak Out.†While the stadium rocked in August, our students made a big splash with the release of the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program results from the 2012-2013 school year. Many of our schools set high-water marks for performance and growth, while some saw their best efforts closing achievement gaps for all kinds of students. With a district our size, there will always be some variability from year to year and school to school, but the overall patterns are stable with some encouraging indicators.Two bright spots point out the importance of innovation and persistence. At Falcon Virtual Academy, the leading blended learning K-12 school in Colorado, students and staff gave their best and saw their school performance rating surge, from priority improvement, past improvement to performance. Until now, it was unheard of for a virtual school to jump two levels of achievement in a single year, but that was the past and the future belongs to FVA. Additionally, students who participated in the iPad pilot at Skyview Middle School showed growth gains that far exceeded their years without the tablets, illustrating the importance of embracing and implementing innovative practices.†Our district isnít perfect, and it is not yet recognized as the best place to work, learn, and lead. But we will be. Our vision of purposeful innovation, data-driven accountability and community support is bearing fruit in classrooms, concert venues and now in Colorado assessments. The full harvest is still ahead, but high standards and high support will deliver high performance.

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