Correcting a Serious Error

During public comment at the December Board of Education meeting, retired principal Jim Ellis shared the following commentary. We agree with Mr. Ellis.  It’s time for our district to correct this serious error.  Because the Administration Center has carried some controversy from the beginning, it’s not a building Dr. Stevenson would want her name on, although we are sure she would greatly appreciate the good intentions.   But certainly, Dr. Stevenson deserves to be recognized for her service and dedication, and definitely “welcomed back to the Jeffco family with open arms.”

 

Good evening and thank you for the opportunity to address the Board. My name is Jim Ellis and I live in Arvada, Colorado. I retired from Jeffco in 2014 after serving as a principal in Jeffco for 20 years at Bell Middle, Chatfield Senior, and the last 10 at Ralston Valley High School.

 

As you know, for over a decade Jeffco has embraced four district values: exemplary performance, integrity, teamwork, and valuing people. 22 months ago the district missed an opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to one of these values, valuing people, when it failed to formally honor and recognize Cindy Stevenson.

 

Many of you know Cindy so I will spare you her resume, but suffice to say that she served Jeffco students and staff for over 40 years, the last 10 being our superintendent. She was the Colorado Superintendent of the year and a semi-finalist for national superintendent of the year. More importantly, she modeled all four of these district values, especially valuing people, in her work with staff and students. In my 36 years in public education, 21 of those as an educational leader, I know of no one who is more passionate about children, learning, and the employees who work with her. Beyond her skills as an educational leader, she is an even more amazing person. To be sure, she expects the best of people but is kind, caring, and inspirational.

 

In my view, values should not be subject to where one sits on the political spectrum or subject to disagreements on educational policy. Therefore, I am asking you, at your next meeting, to correct an omission and adopt a resolution that:
1. Expresses the gratitude of the district for her passionate, caring leadership of Jeffco schools for over a decade.
2. Welcomes her back to the Jeffco family with open arms,
3. Given Jeffco’s wonderful tradition of naming facilities after people who have made great contributions to this district, name this building the Cindy Stevenson Education Services Center.

 

As I said earlier, I am retired. I have not spoken with Cindy for months and she does not know I am here. I have nothing to gain or lose by making this request. I ask this of you because, simply put, I think it is the right way to treat people and it would reinforce this district’s commitment to valuing people. Thank you for your service to children and for the opportunity to address the Board this evening.

 

Final note from SJK – in the separation agreement, local media reported that Dr. Stevenson was instructed not to be involved in Jeffco at all. Even for volunteering. That’s wrong, it’s inconsiderate, and it’s not the way Jeffco Public Schools should be behaving due to the political divisiveness of a Board of Education that was recalled for those behaviors.

We call on the new board to correct this! Issue a thank you letter to Dr. Stevenson, apologize, and amend that agreement to make our schools a welcoming environment for everyone.

 

Email the board along with us:

Ron Mitchell, President (District 5, term expires 11/2017)
– romitche@jeffco.k12.co.us, 303-982-6842

Ali Lasell, First Vice President) District 3, term expires 11/2019) – alasell@jeffco.k12.co.us, 303-982-6848

Susan Harmon, 2nd Vice President (District 2, term expires 11/2017) – suharmon@jeffco.k12.co.us, 303-982-6862

Amanda Stevens, Secretary (District 4, term expires 11/2019) – ajsteven@jeffco.k12.co.us, 303-982-6846

Brad Rupert, Treasurer (District 1, term expires 11/2017) – crupert@jeffco.k12.co.us, 303-982-6864

To email all five at once, use board@jeffco.k12.co.us.