Cherry Creek teachers' union president 'saddened' for Douglas County teachers

Amid Douglas schools fallout, unclear whether some teachers will come to Cherry Creek

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The Cherry Creek School District teachers’ union president, Kasey Ellis, feels for teachers in Douglas County as controversy continues in the wake of the Douglas school board’s decision to fire its superintendent.

“I’m saddened for the educators in Douglas County because what is happening there speaks to what that board believes about the educators in Douglas County, from my perspective,” Ellis said.

The Douglas teachers’ union, the Douglas County Federation, knows of at least two teachers who were leaving or retiring from Douglas County School District because of recent events, Colorado Community Media reported on Feb. 11.

A Douglas County district spokeswoman said 16 teachers have resigned since Feb. 4. There are more than 3,500 teachers in the district.

It is unclear whether some teachers may come to the neighboring Cherry Creek School District amid the fallout.

Asked whether any Douglas County district teachers or staff who recently resigned or retired from that district have applied for positions in Cherry Creek in the past few weeks, Ellis said she would not be aware of that because any applicants would be interacting with Cherry Creek district’s human resources department.

Cherry Creek declined CCM’s request for an interview with the district’s human resources department for this story.

The Cherry Creek district held a job fair on Feb. 12 for teachers and other staff, an event that was announced in a district newsletter on Jan. 21, a couple weeks before the Douglas County School Board voted to fire its superintendent without cause in a 4-3 decision.

Ellis said she had a table at Cherry Creek’s job fair and that she spoke to a few teachers.

“But none that indicated where they were from or whether they were from Douglas County,” Ellis added.

Asked whether any current or recently resigned Douglas County district teachers or staff applied for positions in Cherry Creek in the past few weeks, the Cherry Creek district did not say.

“We do not give out information about applicants,” Abbe Smith, Cherry Creek district spokesperson, said on Feb. 18, while noting the district doesn’t release information about potential job applicants.

As the Douglas County school district developments continue to unfold, the situation could recall the backlash in that district from several years ago.

Many teachers and parents blamed former Douglas Superintendent Elizabeth Fagen, who was hired in 2010 by a school board majority of reform-minded members, for policies that led to an exodus of teachers and administrators over several years, CCM reported in 2018. During her tenure, the school board severed ties with the teachers’ union. Fagen left the district in July 2016.

Asked whether Cherry Creek received many applications from former Douglas school district teachers and other staff in the years leading up to 2016 and in 2016, Ellis said: “I don’t know how many applications they received, but I do know we have teachers that were former Douglas County teachers.”

But she doesn’t know what motivated them to come to Cherry Creek, she noted.

Ellis said she “can’t say with certainty one way or the other” whether Cherry Creek is likely to see many applications from former Douglas County district teachers and other staff in the coming weeks or months.

“I think teachers are going to go someplace where they feel valued by their community and by the board of education,” Ellis said.

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