clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Munn poised to lead Aurora schools for two more years

Aurora Public Schools Superintendent Rico Munn, center, greets students at the Mosley P8 school on opening day with Principal Carrie Clark.
Aurora Public Schools Superintendent Rico Munn, center, greets students at the Mosley P8 school on opening day with Principal Carrie Clark.
Nicholas Garcia

Rico Munn will lead the work to improve Aurora Public Schools for two more years if the school board in Colorado’s third largest city approves his new contract.

The board reviewed Munn’s new deal publicly for the first time Tuesday night. It includes a potential 10 percent bonus if the district’s accreditation rating with the state improves.

The new contract would also allow Munn to walk away from APS with a payout if he believes the board is micro-managing the school system instead of setting policy for Munn and his team to execute.

Extending Munn’s contract, which expires this summer, would signal that the school board broadly approves of Munn’s efforts to improve Aurora’s poor academic performance.

Aurora is the largest school system on the state’s academic watchlist and could lose its accreditation if bold changes aren’t made soon. One-third of the district’s schools face similar state sanctions if student achievement doesn’t rise.

Munn took the helm of APS, which serves mostly poor and Latino students, in 2013. He succeeded John Barry, who was superintendent for seven years.

When Munn was hired, the school board praised his connections to the community and the education policy world.

Munn pledged to forge his own path to improve Aurora’s schools, rejecting some modern urban education reform efforts such as closing low-performing schools and opening more charter schools.

One of his first big moves, however, was to hire his top lieutenant, John Youngquist, away from Denver Public Schools, a reform hotbed. And Munn’s broadest school reform effort — providing some autonomy to struggling schools — is largely based on work in Denver and Boston.

Munn and the school board generally have worked well together. A rare clashfollowed Munn’s 2015 effort to pay teachers at one elementary school differently than the rest of the district.

Munn is a trained lawyer. He sat on the State Board of Education between 2002 and 2007. He also served as director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education under Gov. Bill Ritter.

Board members did not comment on the contract during their meeting. The board will vote on Munn’s contract at its Feb. 16 meeting.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that Aurora Superintendent Rico Munn would receive an $11,000 raise if his new contract was approved. Munn has already received that raise through districtwide pay increases. He will continue to be eligible for similar raises and a 10 percent bonus based on the district’s accreditation.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported how long John Barry was superintendent of Aurora Public Schools. He was superintendent for seven years, not six.

Munn’s proposed contract

The COVID-19 outbreak is changing our daily reality

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to providing the information families and educators need, but this kind of work isn't possible without your help.