Summit school board votes to officially part ways with superintendent |

Summit school board votes to officially part ways with superintendent

Former Summit School District Superintendent Marion Smith Jr. stands outside the school district administration building in Frisco on July 22. The board of education approved a mutual separation and release agreement with Smith at its Tuesday, June 1, meeting.
Photo by Libby Stanford / Summit Daily archives


Summit School District has officially parted ways with Superintendent Marion Smith Jr. effective Friday, May 28.

The board of education voted unanimously to approve a mutual separation and release agreement with Smith at a special meeting Tuesday, June 1. That means Smith and the board agreed to end his term.

The 7-0 vote was cast following an hourlong executive session, which is held in private. There was no public comment made prior to the executive session and no discussion by the board prior to the vote.

Smith received a severance payment equal to six months’ salary as well as his unused vacation days, according to a news release from the district. The district did not immediately respond to requests for more information about Smith’s salary. The Colorado Department of Education listed the average superintendent salary in Summit School District as $170,592 for the 2019-20 school year.

The board then voted 5-2 to appoint Chief Academic Officer Mary Kay Doré as acting superintendent until an interim superintendent is hired. Board members Gloria Quintero and Isabel Rodriguez voted against the motion.

Both Quintero and Rodriguez voted at an April 15 meeting to enter negotiations to renew Smith’s contract, alongside board member Consuelo Redhorse. The split 3-3 vote on whether to renew Smith’s contract was divided on racial lines, something that board member Chris Alleman acknowledged, saying he was “aware of what the optics look like.”

The board ultimately decided to part ways with Smith at an April 26 meeting, where Quintero joined Alleman, Tracey Carisch and board President Kate Hudnut in voting to hire a search firm to find an interim superintendent for the 2021-22 school year.

The decision to search for a new superintendent was related to Smith’s evaluation, in which the board rated him across 11 categories for an average score of 3.32 out of 5, with 1 being not proficient and 5 being exemplary.

When reached for comment in April about his evaluation and asked about the board’s vote not renew his contract, Smith stated that his proficient evaluation “speaks for itself.”

Community input

A Summit Daily News reader poll published on April 27 asked readers if they thought Summit School District Superintendent Marion Smith Jr.’s contract should have been renewed. Over 600 people responded to the poll.

33% responded “yes, he has served the school district well.”

30% responded “no, he has not served the school district well.”

20% responded “yes, he received a proficient evaluation from the school board.”

17% responded “no, he received low marks on important parts of his evaluation.”

Next steps

With school wrapping up for the year Wednesday, June 2, the board will continue the selection process for the next interim superintendent as scheduled.

At its meeting May 24, the board identified three finalists from 21 applications for the interim superintendent job:

  • Javier Abrego holds a doctorate in educational leadership and administration from Indiana State University. He has worked in education administration since 1985, most recently as superintendent of the Adams 14 School District in Commerce City from 2016 to 2019.
  • Roy G. Crawford holds a master’s degree and certificate of advanced study in education administration from University of Southern Maine and University of Maine, respectively. He has worked most recently as superintendent of schools of the Vinalhaven School in Maine from 2017 to 2019.
  • David Rizor has a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of Wyoming. He most recently served as director of the Two Rivers Community School in Boone, North Carolina.

Interviews with the three finalists will take place at a special board meeting June 14 with a public meet-and-greet with the selected candidate from 4:30-6:30 p.m. June 22. The new interim superintendent will begin work July 1.

Hudnut declined to comment for this story, and Smith did not return calls seeking comment.

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