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Douglas County residents continue to make voices heard over superintendent as replacements named

Douglas County Schools walkout
Posted at 8:50 AM, Feb 07, 2022

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — Just days after Douglas County School District Corey Wise was dismissed from his position, parents, teachers and students are continuing to make their voices heard over the actions of the school board that led to his removal.

"Thursday's rally was pretty evident that teachers in the district are not feeling happy about what's going on," said Micki Benge, a teacher at Cougar Run Elementary in Highlands Ranch. "I really was hoping that they would table the conversation for another one or two sessions. I was hoping they would seek public input."

Benge also has a child at Crest Hill Middle School in Douglas County. Students there are staging a walkout of their own on Monday in opposition of the actions taken by the school board to remove Wise.

"I'm incredibly proud of her and her efforts," Benge said. "She sat with me on Friday night as we watched the board meeting and I saw her empathy come through with my sadness and shock and surprise with the vote that they passed."

Other parents are speaking out in favor of the school board's actions.

Jenny Brady is also a parent in Douglas County. She started a petition on Change.org to show support for the four new members.

"I trust the four new members. And I knew they were going to bring change because we voted for change," Brady said. "We wanted these four candidates, and we want our voices heard. And when the actions of the past several days have happened — it feels like my vote is being taken away."

On Thursday, hundreds of teachers walked off of the job in support of the embattled superintendent who was removed the next day. The rally, organized by the Douglas County Federation of Teachers, highlighted the frustration from many in Douglas County with the recent actions of the school board.

But other residents say their voices of support for the board have been drowned out. The election, which saw record turnout for an off-year election, made a decisive change in the trajectory of the school system.

"I have complete confidence in them because that's what they ran on. I think everyone that voted for them expected a change in superintendent sooner than later," said Tara Kohl, a parent in Douglas County. "The election results speak for themselves."

The school board on Sunday named two deputy superintendents, Danielle Hiatt and Andy Abner, who will act as superintendents until a replacement is found.