Cherry Creek names internal candidate as superintendent finalist

Girl with a mask sits in class
The Cherry Creek school board on Wednesday named a sole finalist for the top job. (Jeremy Chavez / Courtesy Cherry Creek School District)

The Cherry Creek School board on Wednesday chose an internal candidate — Chief of Staff Chris Smith — as the sole finalist for the 54,000-student district’s superintendent job. 

Cherry Creek is the first of four large Denver metro districts to announce a finalist in the search for a new superintendent. Denver, Jeffco, and Douglas County are also looking for new leaders. 

Chris Smith (Courtesy of the Cherry Creek School District)

Cherry Creek’s current superintendent, Scott Siegfried, announced in January he would retire at the end of the school year. Jeffco’s former superintendent, Jason Glass, left his job last summer and Douglas County’s former superintendent, Thomas Tucker, left his job last fall, and both now work for the Kentucky Department of Education. Susana Cordova, Denver’s former superintendent, left Colorado’s largest district late last fall for a new job in Texas. 

The Cherry Creek school board selected Smith unanimously from a pool of two internal candidates. The other candidate was Jennifer Perry, the district’s assistant superintendent, according to a letter from school board President Karen Fisher. 

The letter described Smith as a “servant leader” and “relationship builder” who is committed to educating the whole child. 

Smith started his career as a fourth grade teacher, and since coming to the Cherry Creek district in 2009 has served as a principal and executive director of elementary education, according to his staff bio on the Cherry Creek district website. He became chief of staff at the start of the 2018-19 school year.

Cherry Creek is the state’s fourth-largest district with students of color making up half its enrollment. About 30% of students in the suburban district are eligible for subsidized meals, one indicator of poverty.

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