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Harrison School District 2, the Pikes Peak region’s most socio-economically diverse school district primarily serving southeast Colorado Springs, is a big winner in Tuesday’s election. (The Gazette file)

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Deadlocked over which two of three finalists to hire for its dual superintendent model, Harrison School District 2 will keep its interim leaders for another school year.

Four board members, with one seat vacant, emerged from a closed-door session Monday night to read a statement, saying they will continue with Wendy Birhanzel and John Rogerson as co-chief operating officers.

The two have held those positions since last June, after the former superintendent resigned before school ended in May.

The pair will serve in that capacity through June 2020, when their contract ends, Executive Human Resources Director Mike Claudio said.

“It’s not like we’d do a totally different search or look for someone else,” he said.

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The four board members voted 2-2 on March 21 hire Birhanzel and Rogerson as dual superintendents.

Longstanding board President Steve Seibert and Vice President Linda Pugh wanted Birhanzel and Rogerson. Newer board members Jeannie Orozco and Kelley Pomis voted against the motion but did not say which candidates they wanted.

The third finalist, Elizabeth Domangue, is former principal of Panorama Middle School in D-2 and an assistant professor in the School of Education at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.

Board members said all three finalists were “very impressive,” and it was a difficult decision.

“At this time, the Board agrees the best course of action is to have Dr. Wendy Birhanzel and Mr. John Rogerson continue serving as co-chief operating officers, and therefore, senior leaders for the District,” board members said in their statement.

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They will “continue to evaluate the effectiveness of this approach,” according to the statement.

The decision “allows the district to continue moving forward with new construction and improvements from the bond that passed in November and that there’s continuity between the leadership and the bond oversight committee,” Claudio said.

“It tells all of the staff members in D-2 that the board is committed to excellence,” he said, “and we have the two leaders in which they trust helping us move the district forward.”

Of the 178 public school districts in Colorado, Harrison D-2 would be the only one with a dual superintendent format, should it be implemented.

Board members have said they the model enables Birhanzel and Rogerson to split the duties and bounce ideas off each other.

Birhanzel was promoted from the curriculum, instruction and assessment officer for D-2 and was principal of Centennial Elementary and Wildflower Elementary. She now oversees elementary education and board interfacing.

Rogerson was principal of Fox Meadow Middle School and Giberson Elementary School before taking the leadership position.

He now oversees secondary education, along with operations, human resources, special education, student support services, and culturally and linguistically diverse education.

Contact the writer: 719-476-1656

“At this time, the Board agrees the best course of action is to have Dr. Wendy Birhanzel and Mr. John Rogerson
continue serving as co-chief operating officers, and therefore, senior leaders for the District.” Harrison School District 2 board

Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.

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