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Former Jeffco superintendent who felt forced out reacts to Douglas County superintendent firing

Cindy Stevenson said when three conservative school board members took office in 2014, her voice was no longer welcome.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — When four Douglas County school board members voted to fire Superintendent Corey Wise without explaining their reasoning, it reminded Cindy Stevenson of what happened to her in 2014.

“A decade ago, I was still superintendent at Jeffco Public Schools and I was superintendent there for about 13 years," said Stevenson. "So it was a labor of love, I loved every day of it." 

In total, she spent about 45 years working for the district as a teacher, an administrator and finally the superintendent. 

But in 2014, three conservative board directors were voted in. Stevenson remembered they were against an education tax increase that did not pass. 

She said when their term began, her job became more difficult. 

“There wasn’t the love of the system and of Jeffco, there was far more of an attitude of we want to dismantle this and change it and make it different," she said. 

Stevenson added that the directors made it clear they didn't trust or respect her. 

"I knew this wasn’t going to work, so finally, I just said, 'Look you need to hire somebody that you want that you can work with and I need to walk away,'" she said. "And that made them very happy and I walked away, and I was very sad."

But the community didn't like the decisions the board made, or that Stevenson felt pressured to leave, and they voted out those three directors in a recall election. 

“So it was quite traumatic," said Stevenson. "It was very disruptive, and I think it took the district a long time to recover. I think they have, but I think it took time.”

The story in Douglas County might have different details, but Stevenson could see a similar outcome. 

“If the fury continues, if people stay angry, I believe there will be a recall election," said Stevenson. "Will it be successful? I don’t know I can’t predict Douglas County voters."   

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