Harrison School District 2 isn’t seeking a superintendent; it’s seeking two.
Harrison’s Board of Education plans to use a dual-superintendent model to lead the 11,708-student district, the Pikes Peak region’s fourth largest and most socio-economically diverse, spokeswoman Christine O’Brien said.
The district has been testing the format with two interim chief operating officers, who took over after former superintendent Andre Spencer resigned May 7, just a few weeks before graduation.
“They like this format because it covers a wide skill set, is unique and innovative and mandates and ensures collaboration with each other and other district leaders,” O’Brien said.
The two in-house interim COO’s, Wendy Birhanzel, formerly the district’s curriculum, instruction and assessment officer, and John Rogerson, formerly principal of Fox Meadow Middle School, are applying for the superintendent positions, O’Brien said.
D-2 has a $146.7 million budget and about 1,500 employees, according to the job posting.
The district has not hired a firm to assist with the search, O’Brien said.
Applications are due by Feb. 22. Interviews with the board and the community are scheduled for March 4. The job starts July 1.
Another development announced to employees in a letter sent Tuesday is that Harrison D-2 is suspending its pay for performance next school year, while a committee examines the system.
Harrison was among the first in the state to implement a pay-for-performance system in 2010, as the state was revamping its teacher effectiveness and evaluation methodology. State leaders used Harrison’s model in developing new standards that are now in effect for all public school districts.
The merit pay scale rewards teachers, principals and other licensed professionals, including the superintendent, for meeting certain effectiveness benchmarks.
But it’s no longer meeting the original goals, O’Brien said.
Those were to recruit and retain effective teachers and increase student achievement.
“We’re pausing it because we’ve had a lot of loud employee feedback over the last couple of years,” she said.
The system hasn’t been reviewed since it began, and while it’s been tweaked over the years, certain aspects haven’t kept pace with other districts, such as the first two tiers of pay.
Other local districts have higher starting salaries for teachers, for example, O’Brien said.
For the first time in a long time, employees received a 3 percent across-the-board salary increase this school year.
Salaries will not be frozen next school year while the compensation system is undergoing review, O’Brien said.
The committee will explore all possible options and is gathering employee feedback, data and research to develop a new compensation model that “honors all employees,” O’Brien said.
The committee will issue its recommendations before winter break in December, with a new system in place for the 2020-21 school year, she said.
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