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Kimberly Hough

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The sole finalist who was to be sworn in Thursday as the next superintendent of Academy School District 20 has withdrawn her application, the Pikes Peak region’s second-largest public school district announced Monday.

Kimberly Hough, an assistant superintendent in the Loudoun County School District in Ashburn, Va., near Washington, D.C., informed the five-member board Sunday that she “respectfully removed herself as the recommended candidate,” according to a statement the district released.

No reason was given for Hough’s decision.

“While this is a surprising turn of events, we remain confident we will find an outstanding educator to successfully lead our organization as superintendent,” Tracey Johnson, D-20’s board president, said in the statement.

There’s no hard feelings, said D-20 spokeswoman Allison Cortez.

“We’re not discouraged,” she said. “Nobody feels defeated right now.”

Board members and Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates — the firm D-20 hired to assist with conducting the search — will meet Thursday in a closed executive session to discuss next steps, Cortez said.

The search firm didn’t know how frequently this happens, Cortez said. However, an HYA representative told the board, “Superintendent candidates do certainly withdraw during the time of public notice, which varies by state, from searches for a variety of reasons.”

Hough was one of 26 viable candidates the board interviewed.

As part of the selection process, D-20 board members visited the district where Hough works and spoke with more than 30 of her colleagues, including superintendents, school board members, principals and the district leadership team.

The D-20 board was to have officially voted Thursday to approve Hough as the replacement for the retiring Superintendent Mark Hatchell, following a state-mandated two-week waiting period between the time of naming a sole finalist and offering the person the job.

Hough was scheduled to meet the community on Friday.

Hough stood out because she’s collaborative, dedicated, a relationship-builder and forward-thinking, D-20 board members said at the April 4 meeting, when Hough became the sole finalist.

Last spring, Hough had been one of four finalists for superintendent of Thompson School District R2-J in Loveland. She did not get the job.

Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.

Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.

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