Jeffco and Cherry Creek school districts announce superintendent picks

Two of Colorado’s four largest school systems announced replacements to fill their superintendent positions, following a year that led to higher than usual turnover among district leaders.

On Tuesday, the board of Jeffco Public Schools unanimously nominated Tracy Dorland, deputy superintendent of Adams 12 Five Star Schools, as the sole finalist for superintendent. She would succeed Jason Glass, who left the district last September after three years in the position.

Similarly, Cherry Creek School District board of education nominated Christopher Smith, the district’s current chief of staff, as the sole finalist to replace  Scott Siegfried, who will retire at the end of the school year. The board voted unanimously Wednesday on Smith’s nomination.

Under Colorado law, the districts must wait 14 days before voting to confirm their nominations. Jeffco expects to confirm Dorland in mid-April. It’s unclear when Cherry Creek plans to confirm Smith.

Dorland comes to Jeffco Public Schools after eight years in Adams 12, where she began as chief academic officer. She served as deputy superintendent for three and a half years, leading efforts to support strategic planning and community engagement as well as the implementation of a $350 million bond program, according to an announcement.

Prior to joining Adams 12, Dorland spent more than 12 years in Denver Public Schools as a teacher, principal and deputy chief academic officer, among other positions.

A Jefferson County resident and parent to two Jeffco students, Dorland was one of 28 people who applied for the job. The board interviewed seven candidates and followed up with four people for second interviews.

Smith joined the Cherry Creek School District in 2009 as a principal before serving in administration. He became chief of staff in 2018. Smith was selected as the sole superintendent finalist from a pool of two internal candidates, which included assistant superintendent Jennifer Perry, the district said.

Meanwhile, Denver Public Schools, Colorado’s largest district, hired Alma Advisory Group in February to lead the search for a new leader following former superintendent Susana Cordova’s resignation in December. The district is accepting applications for the job and expects to announce finalists by May before choosing a superintendent by June.

Applications for Douglas County School District superintendent closed on March 18 and the board of education is slated to announce finalists for the job on April 16. The district plans to have a permanent hire by May 15 to replace former superintendent Thomas Tucker, who resigned in September.

Poudre School District expects to announce its finalists for superintendent by the end of March. The district’s hire, who will replace outgoing leader Sandra Smyser, is expected to start by July.

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