Douglas County School District
Corey Wise

Profiles: Superintendent ousted in Colorado district by newly elected board majority

March 14, 2022

Newly elected board majority in suburban Denver ousts superintendent

A sharply divided Douglas County (Colo.) school board has fired superintendent Corey Wise. 

The Denver Post reports that Wise, who took the job in April 2021, was fired without cause in a 4-3 vote during a Friday night meeting. The four board members who voted to oust the superintendent all were elected in November 2021 as part of a conservative slate.

“It’s more about finding someone who better aligns,” said Kaylee Winegar, a member of the board majority. “It’s just what we want with this district is different.”

Voting against Wise’s firing, board member Elizabeth Hanson called the superintendent’s ouster “an attack on public education.”

The district, a suburban area south of Denver, is Colorado's third-largest district with about 64,000 students.

The removal of Wise has led to angry protests from many district patrons. A petition seeking recall of the board members who voted to fire Wise had collected more than 25,000 signatures

The board members who fired Wise expressed concerns about Wise carrying out policies set by the previous school board, such as a now-ended mask mandate.

The board members supporting Wise accused the majority of violating open meeting laws when they were excluded from a session in which the board president and vice president told Wise to resign or he would be fired. 

In Wise's absence, the district’s two deputy superintendents — Andy Abner and Danelle Hiatt — will share the role of acting superintendent, board president Mike Peterson said.

Wise worked in the district for 26 years; first as a teacher and principal then as interim superintendent for six months before he was selected to take on the job full-time in April. His contract runs until June 30, 2024.

9 Sandy Hook families will get $73 million in settlement with gun manufacturer

The families of nine people killed in the 2012 shooting attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School will receive $73 million in a settlement with gun manufacturer Remington.

CNN reports that Remington, now bankrupt, and its insurers agreed to the payment to settle a lawsuit brought by the families of four adults and five children who were killed in the massacre at the Newtown, Conn., school.

Remington made the Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle used in the attack that left 20 children and six adults dead. 

In their lawsuit, the families argued that Remington's marketing strategy for the rifle violated Connecticut laws that prohibit deceptive marketing practices. The company marketed rifles by extolling the militaristic qualities of the rifle and reinforcing the image of a combat weapon.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 2019 declined to hear Remington's appeal challenging the lawsuit, effectively allowing the case to move forward.

Florida State shuts down building because of mold and radon

Florida State University has closed the Sandels building on the Tallahassee campus for air testing after a report by faculty members listed "serious health concerns," including harmful air quality, possible chemical exposure and "extremely high and unsafe" levels of radon and black mold. 

The Tallahassee Democrat reports that the faculty members also called attention to five faculty members and three former graduate students who have worked extensively in the building and were diagnosed with cancer in the last decade. Three of them have died. 

A preliminary test and a separate evaluation found mold and elevated levels of radon throughout the building.

Classes have been moved for the rest of the 2022 spring semester, and the building will effectively remain closed during continued testing and remediation.

The 129-page report on the Sandels building was created by four professors who compiled emails, maps, photos, public records and testimonies from faculty and families.

It included a myriad of complaints, warnings and efforts from faculty and staff to notify the university of the building's problems dating back to the early 2000s.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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