The superintendent of one of the largest school districts in the state will retire at the end of this school year, a letter to the community announced on Jan. 22.
“It has been an honor to serve the CCSD staff, students and community over the last three decades,” Scott Siegfried, head of the Cherry Creek School District, wrote in the message. “I never saw myself serving in the role of superintendent for an extended time. However, I would be disingenuous if I didn't say that the last year has had an impact on myself and my family.”
Siegfried helmed the district of roughly 55,000 students during what may turn out to have been the worst of the coronavirus pandemic in Colorado, overseeing an abrupt shift to online classes last spring along with other metro Denver school district leaders. The Cherry Creek district returned to in-person learning in the fall semester only to revert back to online-only classes, along with other metro school districts, as COVID-19 cases mounted.
The Cherry Creek district covers parts of Centennial, Cherry Hills Village, Englewood, Greenwood Village, Aurora, Foxfield and unincorporated Arapahoe County.
Siegfried landed his first student teaching job at Eaglecrest High School in 1995, kicking off a career in the Cherry Creek district that would span multiple schools and various administrative positions at the district level, according to a district news release. Siegfried was chosen as superintendent by the Cherry Creek school board in 2018.
In his retirement message, Siegfried recalled reflecting with his family over the holidays about his goals and priorities and about “the right moves for our family.”
“As a father, I have always taught my own kids to do what they love, and when they no longer find joy in their job, to do something else — a lesson I learned from someone important in my professional career,” Siegfried wrote. “It is time for me to prioritize my family and to create the opportunity for someone else to bring their joy and passion to this role.”
He nodded to the “fortitude and resilience that our Cherry Creek Schools community has modeled throughout this pandemic,” calling it a “heavy year, marked by tragedy and unimaginable challenges but also by acts of courage and a collective determination to rise to this moment.”
The Cherry Creek school board, in a statement released the same day, thanked Siegfried for his “courageous leadership and tireless dedication during this pandemic.”
“While we wish that he could stay on in the role to continue leading our district, we also honor and respect his decision to prioritize his family,” the statement read.
The board was to “immediately begin to develop a fair and informed process for selecting the next superintendent,” the statement continued.
Siegfried led the district through a handful of recent years that saw student suicide deaths in the south Denver metro area — including in Cherry Creek district — draw public concern. Siegfried took pride in what he called the district's “deep, longstanding commitment to mental health.”
“We can evidence that by the number of employees in place. We have a full-time nurse in every building — we're the only district in Colorado that can say that. And that's in addition to counselors,” Siegfried told Colorado Community Media in 2019.
Amid suicide deaths in the district that year, the district added two new directors of mental health and took other actions aimed at preventing suicide and raising awareness about mental health.
Siegfried supported a shift away from pushing for every student to attend college, prioritizing “career preparedness and success as a goal,” Siegfried told CCM in 2019. The Cherry Creek Innovation Campus, the district's new facility for career-technical learning, opened in August 2019.
“We have to meet students where they are,” Siegfried said at the time. “I'm proud of that shift we have made in the past few years.”
In his retirement announcement, Siegfried expressed gratitude for his time in the district.
“I will always care deeply for this organization,” Siegfried wrote. “I am thankful for everything it has given me and I am also excited for a new chapter in my life.”
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