A Glimpse at Women Leaders in Colorado Public Education

As CEI commemorates Women’s History Month in 2021, we recognize the increasing number of women serving in leadership roles in Colorado’s PK-12 education landscape. We checked in with several of our partner districts to learn how these women have navigated the havoc that COVID-19 presented, and what lies ahead. What we found was uplifting – an unwavering commitment to meeting the needs of all students, extending beyond academics, and an enthusiastic voice of support from those who work side-by-side with these leaders.

“For female students, students of color, and all young people with historically marginalized identities, representation matters. Seeing someone like ourselves shine in roles we aspire to shows us what is possible,” said CEI President and CEO Rebecca Holmes. “For many decades, education was women’s work to do, but nearly always in systems led exclusively by men. Even at the start of my own education career in Colorado, we could count the number of female Superintendents on just two hands. Those statistics have changed dramatically and from our Commissioner and State Board Chair to over sixty Superintendents and many elected Board members, we see a far more even distribution emerging.”

During an unprecedented year, both women and men have put forth thoughtful leadership that requires critical thinking through a variety of lenses. Partnerships with community organizations and attention to family needs beyond the classroom are an underlying theme throughout the profiles presented here.

Reflection from colleagues provide insight about these leaders:

  • Adrea Bogle, Executive Director, San Juan BOCES
  • Jackie Kapushion, Deputy Superintendent, St. Vrain Valley Schools
  • Brenda Krage, Superintendent, Fremont RE-2 School District
  • Deirdre Pilch, Superintendent, Greeley-Evans School District 6
  • Karen Quanbeck, Superintendent, Clear Creek School District RE-1
  • Diana Sirko, Superintendent, Mesa County Valley School District 51
  • Pamela Swanson, Superintendent, Westminster Public Schools
  • Ali Williams, HTI Coordinator, East Grand School District

Q & A with Harrison School District Leaders

Find additional insight in this Q & A with Harrison School District Superintendent Dr. Wendy Birhanzel and Assistant Superintendent and CFO Shelley Becker.

Board of Education Spotlight

The Cañon City Schools Board of Education consists of five individuals, including three women. This dynamic group has consistently demonstrated their commitment to the district’s vision of Learning for Life. Their work was publicly recognized earlier this month when the district received the Member of the Year award from the Cañon City Chamber of Commerce. Board President Shad Johnson and Superintendent George Welsh share how they have observed this commitment in the Board’s Vice President Mary Kay Evans, Secretary Robin Reese, and Treasurer Beth Gaffney.

Read the full story here

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