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Community members weigh in on board's superintendent decision


For many community members, the Douglas County School Board's selection of Thomas Tucker as permanent superintendent is another affirmation of the positive direction the school district is heading.

“I think it's time that we have a student-focused leader,” said Stacey Chamaty, a parent of two students who lives in Castle Rock. “I feel like kids will be first for the first time in a long time.”

At a special meeting on April 5, after more than an hour of deliberation, school board members unanimously voted to hire Tucker, the superintendent of Princeton City Schools in Cincinnati, Ohio. Pending a contract agreement, he will begin in the 2018-19 school year.

During a public forum on April 3, Tucker identified himself as a teacher first. That resonated with Kallie Leyba, president of the local teacher's union, Douglas County Federation.

“That's probably the best thing we could ask for in a superintendent,” said Leyba. “I think that Dr. Tucker is going to bring great energy and positive change to Douglas County.”

Andy Abner, principal of Rock Canyon High School, applauded the school board for including the community in the selection process. Over the past three months, the board held more than 15 meetings at various locations in Douglas County to get community input on traits sought in a superintendent.
"I'm just really looking forward to getting to know him," Abner said of Tucker. "He has an impressive background. I'm excited to grow as a leader under his leadership.”

Chérie Garcia, the administrator of a public Facebook page called SPEAK for DCSD, praised the school board for its transparency. Prior to making their decision, the seven board members each gave a detailed review of the final two candidates: Tucker and Karen Brofft, superintendent of Lewis-Palmer School District. The meeting was live streamed for the public.

“What a breath of fresh air to watch the BOE discuss the candidates via live stream,” Garcia wrote in a Facebook post. “We all have canvassed, fought and volunteered hundreds of hours to elect our current BOE Directors for this moment. It's a new day, folks.”

Garcia was rooting for Tucker, who on multiple occasions said public education saves lives.

“I've done some research and he has blown me away,” Garcia said. “As a minority person, who was also raised in poverty, I can identify with his `Public education saved my life' statement. It's why I fight with my whole being for public education.”

Kristen DeBeer, the parent of a special-needs student, found comfort in Tucker's stance on special education, which he calls a “moral obligation.”

“He obviously looks at the whole child and the best interest of each child,” DeBeer said. “He just has an aura about him that makes me feel like he will be able to manage conflict with authority but also understanding and patience.”


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