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El Paso County Colorado District 49

The search is over: new superintendent

School District 49 Board of Education voted 4-1 April 10 to hire Grant Schmidt as the new superintendent for the district. Anna Bartha, board secretary, voted no.Schmidt comes to District 49 from Sacramento, Calif., where he serves as acting superintendent of Del Paso Heights School District. Schmidt and his family are anxious to return to Colorado, where he spent 13 years in the Denver Metro area as a classroom teacher and principal.Schmidt’s track record on student achievement is strong, and he is well versed in diversity issues. According to his resume, 90 percent of Del Paso Heights students are from ethnically diverse backgrounds.During the March 27 superintendent interviews, Schmidt emphasized the importance of including stakeholders in the problem-solving process. When you take this step, everyone is more committed to the solution, Schmidt said. He said he is committed to strengthening relationships with faculty, staff, parents and the community.”I have high hopes,” said Sandy Rivera, principal at Skyview Middle School. “Schmidt has a great support system. We can’t go wrong as long as we do it as a team.””I think we’re all really excited,” said parent David Trujillo. “He’s a standout candidate and comes from a district of diversity.”Not everyone shared Trujillo’s enthusiasm. “The proof is in the pudding,” said Elaine Olsen, co-president of the Falcon Teachers Education Association. “We want to see broad guidance, curriculum and funding from the top and then let [teachers] micro manage the classroom,” Olsen said.The Rev. Promise Lee also expressed doubts. “I’m concerned if Schmidt has the audacity to tackle the issues,” he said.Lee recently brought to light issues of racism in the district. “If we don’t deal with these character issues, the whole ship sinks,” he said. Lee said he remains hopeful and believes there is pressure on Schmidt to move quickly to address the racial issues.Dave Martin, board vice president, said he believes Schmidt is an excellent choice. In light of the racial diversity at the Del Paso Heights district, Martin said Schmidt will be a “valuable asset to some of the issues that Mr. Lee had brought forward.”Schmidt said he plans to move his family to Colorado as soon as possible and will enroll his children in D 49 to complete the school year. He encourages community members and educators to introduce themselves to him. “I know you’ll see us in the community because we are happy to be living in the community,” he said.

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