KUSA - After going nearly three months without a superintendent, the Jefferson County School board announces its pick for the next one. It's the current assistant superintendent in Douglas County.
Board members went through more than 60 applicants before choosing Dan McMinimee as the solo finalist for the job of superintendent in Jefferson County.
Board President Ken Witt says he likes McMinimee's commitment to strong results in the classroom.
"I think Mr. McMinimee will bring strong leadership to the district," Witt said. "He has a focus on academic achievement and bringing out the best in our students."
McMinimee is in charge of secondary education at Douglas County Schools. He was also instrumental in the negotiations with the Douglas County Teachers Union, which eventually ended up without a contract.
Jefferson County Education Association President Ami Prichard says she has concerns with the selection.
"We're sad that it was a 3-2 vote," Prichard said. "We had really hoped was going to be a 5-0 decision."
Lesley Dahlkemper and Jill Fellman voted against the selection.
"I would hope that we would identify a leader to bring the district together and to unite the district," Dahlkemper said.
When Witt, Julie Williams, and John Newkirk were elected in November, some parents and community members voiced concerns that Jefferson County may start going the path of Douglas County which has taken an official stance against Common Core and created a school voucher program, which is an issue currently headed to the Colorado Supreme Court.
"I'm not too happy. I'm not too happy with what's going in Dougco and I'm afraid that's gonna happen here," Beth Hammer, resident said.
Over the last few years, Douglas County has also lost hundreds of veteran teachers who fled to neighboring districts. But, McMinimee has always said that was always part of the natural attrition of Douglas County.
Since the election in November, Witt and his supporters have stated that Jeffco will not follow the path of Douglas County.
"I think it was very misleading," Hammer said.
Witt says McMinimee was selected based on his personal attributes.
"This is not a decision about Dougco. This is a decision about Jeffco," Witt said. "We're confident that he will follow the direction and follow the goals that this board sets."
McMinimee is currently in charge of secondary education for Douglas County.
"I am so humbled and excited to have this opportunity," McMinimee said. "Jeffco is a great school district and I am honored to be considered."
He says the history of Douglas County Schools will have no bearing on his likely role as superintendent.
"Jeffco is Jeffco and my responsbility is to work with the community and the board to create and maintain a good system," McMinimee said.
Over the next couple weeks, he will have several meet-and-greets with the community and employees of Jeffco Schools before the board's official vote on the hiring sometime after May 26. McMinimee hopes to heal the tense emotions around the district.
"I think that I am a great leader and I want the opportunity to work with people and address their concerns," McMinimee said. "I know the backbone of any great school district are the excellent teachers and administrators within that district and I value that. I want to make sure that there is a great teacher in every classroom in Jeffco."
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