Cindy Stevenson is no tenderfoot when it comes to controversy. The prominent, veteran schools administrator, who was chief exec of Jefferson County Public Schools — one of the state’s largest districts — for a dozen years, resigned that post in 2014 after a new school board came to power with a whole new, reformist agenda.
It was a tumultuous time, and the ride only got wilder at JeffCo after Stevenson left; the new board majority was ousted in a recall election backed by the teachers union in 2015.
She’s back in the saddle. Stevenson, a onetime “superintendent of the year,” has been hired as interim superintendent at the Boulder Valley School District — on the heels of a controversy there. The Boulder Valley school board fired Superintendent Bruce Messinger last month over an as-yet unspecified personnel issue.
Reports the Boulder Daily Camera’s Amy Bounds:
When Stevenson heard about the issues surrounding Messinger, she reached out to board members and offered her help, however it was needed.
They told her that her leadership could be used in the interim superintendent position, and she said she was surprised — but willing to jump in.
Now, she’s back in learning mode:
Stevenson said her first order of business will be to go on a listening tour to get to know principals and other school staff members.
“I need to do a lot of deep learning about Boulder Valley schools,” she said. “For the next two weeks, I’m going to talk to people. I’ll be having lots of meetings, lots of conversations. There’s a lot to learn.”
In more ways than one, Stevenson is coming home: Not only does she get to lead a high-profile district once again, but she also has been a Boulder resident since 1968, according to the Camera. It’ll be a short commute.
There’s also another way in which her new stint could turn out to be homecoming of sorts. As the Camera’s Bounds puts it:
In Boulder Valley, two and sometimes three of the school board members have consistently voted against the board majority on several issues, including the district’s budget, placing a tax increase on the ballot and renewing the former superintendent’s contract.
Stevenson said she doesn’t expect board members to always agree, but does want to see them “treat each other respectfully.”
From the JeffCo’s frying pan into Boulder’s fire? Time will tell.