Jeffco school board appoints interim superintendent

Students in Pomona High School on Friday, February 23, 2018.
File photo of students at Pomona High School in Jeffco in 2018.

The Jeffco school board Tuesday appointed its deputy superintendent, Kristopher Schuh, as interim leader of the district just as a difficult school year is about to begin.

Schuh has worked in the district for almost 20 years as a coach, teacher, principal and most recently as deputy superintendent and chief of schools for middle and high schools.

Jeffco Interim Superintendent Kristopher Schuh (Jeffco Public Schools)

Jason Glass, who has led Jeffco’s school district since 2017, accepted a job as Kentucky’s new education commissioner. His last day in Jeffco is scheduled to be Sept. 13, though some board members suggested transferring full responsibilities to Schuh sooner.

The Jeffco board approved Schuh’s appointment in a split vote with board member Susan Miller voting against it. 

Miller objected to the process for Schuh’s appointment, which was largely done in private and, she said, not following the district’s succession plan. Other board members pushed back, saying that the succession plan is meant for emergencies or for when the superintendent is out of town.

For his part, board member Ron Mitchell said he did explore other candidates, including by calling two retired superintendents to gauge their interest, but said the timing makes it difficult.

“We actually should not even consider trying to do a search and or even consider stealing someone else’s superintendent two weeks before school starts,” Mitchell said. “That’s not an ethical move on our part.”

The district plans to hold a national search for a superintendent, but may not start the formal search until later this year.

Among the charges Schuh will have as the interim superintendent will be to oversee the district’s return to in-person learning in the middle of the pandemic. Schuh has led much of the district’s planning in that area.

Jeffco plans for students to start the school year online for two weeks beginning the week of Aug. 24, and to move to in-person learning after Labor Day. 

At Tuesday’s school board meeting, Jeffco also allowed live public comment. Teachers and parents, most of them upset about the quick return to in-person learning, spent almost two hours asking the board to reconsider that plan and instead to follow other districts in extending remote learning longer.

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