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The Churn: New CDE exec named

Updated 11:45 a.m. – Durango Superintendent Keith Owen has been named associate commissioner of the Colorado Department of Education.

Owen will oversee special education programs, federal programs including Title I, support for local school districts, and accountability systems. Owen is another key appointment by new Commissioner Robert Hammond, who has made significant changes in CDE’s leadership team (see second item in this story). Statement on Owen appointment


What’s churning:

Former state Sen. Ken Gordon says he’s decided not to run for the Denver school board this fall.

“People from both sides of the political spectrum asked me to consider it, but I can’t,” said Gordon, explaining he needs to attend to a family business that requires regular travel.

Gordon, an influential Denver Democrat, said he isn’t planning on endorsing a candidate in the at-large race that he was considering. “The only person I know who’s running is Happy Haynes. Is someone else running?”

In addition to Haynes, a former Denver council member and DPS executive, three other candidates are running for the at-large seat being vacated by Theresa Peña, who is term limited. They are South High School teacher Frank Deserino, Manual High administrator Vernon Jones and Roger Kilgore, a Park Hill business consultant.

It looks like Commerce City Superintendent Susan Chandler will keep her job. In May the school board directed the district lawyer to set up an “exit strategy” for Chandler, But, in a statement issued at the board meeting Tuesday, board member Bill Klocker said, “The board has completed its evaluation of the superintendent, pending finalizing by the school district’s attorney; therefore, I move that Dr. Chandler continue her position as superintendent, pursuant to her contract, and that the process of pursuing a mutual, agreeable, exit strategy is at end.” 9News story

A Denver judge has thrown out the lawsuit challenging the 2010 law that made various reforms in the Public Employees’ Retirement Association. Among other things, the suit challenged the freezing of annual increases in retiree benefits. Working and retired teachers, alone with substantial numbers of higher education employees, are covered by PERA. Full text of order

The building boom at the Auraria Higher Education Center apparently will continue with construction of a Student Learning and Engagement Building by the Community College of Denver. Two Metropolitan State College buildings currently are under construction on the campus. Denver Business Journal

The Churn is published periodically during the summer.