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Jeffco superintendent talks about sudden resignation decision

JeffCo Schools superintendent Cindy Stevenson announced on Feb. 8, 2014 she would resign at the end of the month.

JeffCo Schools superintendent Cindy Stevenson announced on Feb. 8, 2014 she would resign at the end of the month.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — Two days after her sudden resignation, Jefferson County Schools superintendent Dr. Cindy Stevenson spoke to Fox31 Denver about her decision to leave her post early and the political divide that led to it.

Though school resumed at Jeffco schools on Monday, talk among parents still centered on what happened during the weekend.

“Primarily we’re concerned about the conflict and controversy we see at the moment,” said Michelle Patterson, president of the Jeffco PTA.

That conflict was on display at a board meeting Saturday, when Dr. Stevenson announced she would resign in just two weeks.

The announcement came as a shock to many, considering Stevenson spent 40 years working in Jeffco schools and serving as superintendent for the past 12.

She said it was due to a strained relationship with the newly elected conservative majority on the board.

“At one point I realized that our district couldn’t move forward as long as I wasn’t trusted or respected in terms of decision making, leadership,” Stevenson said. “I decided that it would really be better for our schools and our communities if they had someone else.”

Dr. Stevenson spoke to Fox31 Denver on Monday. She didn’t say exactly what led to that apparent distrust, offering limited information on what led to her resignation.

“I had asked if the board wanted me to leave, and if they did, to let me know, and they did,” Stevenson said. “We completed it on Saturday.”

Supporters of Dr. Stevenson taped the meeting Saturday and posted it online. Those supporters also provided a soundtrack of boos for board members.

But Jeffco parent Sunny Flynn said the reaction among parents isn’t really so one-sided. She said there are plenty of parents who believe in the board even if those parents weren’t represented in the crowd.

“I think many of the parents are very supportive of the new school board,” Flynn said. “I think it’s a good opportunity for Jeffco to have change and have her move on to do what she wants to do next.”

But as Stevenson does begin the process of moving on, Patterson says the vast majority of parents she’s talked to are concerned about what change will look like.

“They’re worried, they’re scared, what’s going to happen to their principals, their teachers, their staff,” Patterson said.