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Harrison names 'co-chief operating officers' to lead district during superintendent search

June 8, 2018 Updated: June 8, 2018 at 3:38 pm
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5th graders at Soaring Eagles Elementary School walk past a Harrison School District 2 sign while making their way to a math lab on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2006. (Gazette file photo)

Two Harrison School District 2 employees will act as chief operating officers while the school board searches for a new superintendent.

In a "paired leadership model," Wendy Birhanzel, the D-2 curriculum, instruction and assessment officer, and John Rogerson, principal of Fox Meadow Middle School, will be "co-chief operating officers" until a superintendent is hired.

Superintendent Andre Spencer resigned May 7 after five years, with no public explanation from him or the district.

In her new role, Birhanzel will lead elementary education and be "the primary interface to the board," says a D-2 letter sent to parents Wednesday.

Rogerson will lead secondary education and work with Birhanzel to "enable decision-making, maintain transparency and support coherent governance."

The board still hasn't decided whether to hire a search firm to find a superintendent, said D-2 spokeswoman Christine O'Brien. The job has not been posted, and there is no timeline for naming a replacement, she said.

Board members also recently hired key administrators to fill open positions:

- Peter Vargas is new principal of Harrison High School. He spent 15 years as a football, wrestling and track coach before moving into administration and has worked in Adams 12 Five Star Schools, St. Vrain Valley Schools and Pueblo City Schools.

- Tristan Love is Panorama Middle School's new principal. He taught biology and was assistant principal at Sam Houston High School in Houston, Texas.

- Jennifer Locke will be principal of Pikes Peak Elementary, having worked for D-2 in the past. She taught at Otero, Giberson and Centennial elementary schools and was assistant principal at Soaring Eagles Elementary. She also was interim assistant principal at Pikes Peak Elementary in 2012-13.

- Angela Valdez, assistant principal at Pikes Peak Elementary for the past five years, will become principal at Mountain Vista Community School. She worked for seven years as a bilingual teacher in Denver Public Schools.

- Registered dietitian Ilene Agustin is the new coordinator to nutrition services, and Angie Outlaw is the district's new research, data and accountability manager.

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