After more than a decade as head of Jeffco Public Schools, Superintendent Cindy Stevenson announced her plans to retire at last Thursday night’s school board meeting, two days after a slate of conservatives won election to the board.
“Working with Jeffco as superintendent has been the best 12 years of my life,” Stevenson said at the board meeting. “I’m taking this opportunity to thank the people here tonight and our community that have given me incredible support.”
Stevenson’s last day will be June 30, 2014.
“I started as a first-grade teacher and loved it,” Stevenson said. “And I’ve loved everything I’ve done (since).”
Stevenson, who has worked for the district for 41 years, was hired as superintendent in 2002. She was named the Colorado Superintendent of the Year in 2010 and was one of four finalists for the national award that year.
She was the first Jeffco Public Schools alumna to hold the superintendent position.
“What is exceptional about Cindy is that she’s committed her entire professional career to kids in Jefferson County,” said school board President Lesley Dahlkemper. “She’s very strategic and thoughtful, and she always focuses on what matters most.”
Stevenson handed in her resignation on Nov. 6, a day after three conservative candidates claimed seats on the five-member school board, dramatically changing the board’s political orientation.
But that’s not why she’s retiring, she said.
“If you look at my work over 12 years … I’ve had really difficult times,” Stevenson said. “If I was going to leave because it was difficult, there were many times … I could’ve walked away.
“You don’t leave because it’s difficult,” she said. “You leave because it’s the right time, you’ve done good work, you’ve got strong people around you, and they can carry on.”
“She is such a wonderful person,” said Carla Miller, second-grade teacher at Campbell Elementary in Arvada. “I’ve enjoyed her leadership, and she’s going to be truly missed.”
With eight months until retirement, Stevenson said she won’t just be counting down the days until June.
“We will continue to work hard to serve our kids, to serve our community. There won’t be a moment of rest. We will do a remarkable transition to the new board and the new changes.
“I’m going to enjoy every day of the next eight months,” she said.