Jul. 17, 2018
Boasberg, appointed in 2009, is among longest-serving urban superintendents in nation
Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg announced today he is stepping down as head of the state’s largest school district after nearly a decade as superintendent.
Boasberg will continue as superintendent for another three months, while Denver Board of Education members complete the search for his successor.
“Serving as DPS’ leader has been the honor of a lifetime for me,” Boasberg wrote in a letter to DPS staff and community today. “The talent and commitment of our students and our educators never cease to inspire me. Spending time in classrooms, meeting with students, and collaborating with teachers, school leaders and district leaders have brought me great joy and given me great hope.
Board of Education members met earlier today and are meeting again this week to discuss the process of selecting a new superintendent. They will soon announce next steps, Board President Anne Rowe said today in a letter shared with DPS staff and community. Board members are responsible for hiring the district’s next leader.
“Tom’s leadership, in partnership with our educators, has had a profound impact on Denver Public Schools,” Rowe said. “We are in every way a better district than a decade ago, and our students, families and educators have all benefited from his service. We have become a district recognized nationally for innovation, from our emphasis on teachers as leaders in their buildings to our focus on the social and emotional – as well as academic – needs of our kids.
“Perhaps most importantly,” she said, “almost 2,000 more of Denver’s children are graduating from high school every year, prepared for brighter futures.”
Rowe said she was sorry to learn of Boasberg’s decision but also respects it, noting his 10-year tenure is nearly three times longer than the average 3.5-year term of an urban superintendent in America.
“Tom’s focus has been on our kids. He put them first, and never wavered,” said Rosemary Rodriguez, who represented Southwest Denver on the DPS school board from 2013-2017. “I appreciate and wish him the very best in the next phase of his life, knowing that his DPS kids will continue on the path of achievement.”
Boasberg was serving as chief operating officer for DPS when he was unanimously appointed to the superintendent’s role in January 2009, following the departure of U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colorado.
“Thank you, Tom Boasberg, for your decade of service to Denver’s kids. We were fortunate to have the best superintendent in the country the last 10 years,” said Bennet, who has two children in DPS and a third who graduated from DPS in May.
“As a DPS parent, I thank him for his commitment, his compassion and his extraordinary tenure,” he added. “As Tom always says himself, we have a long way to go, but his transformational leadership has resulted in extraordinary progress over the past 10 years. Our student achievement has substantially increased; the number of teachers and other school personnel serving our children has grown tremendously; and the school choices available to children and their families have never been greater.”
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, whose son is a DPS student, and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, father of two DPS graduates, also thanked Boasberg.
“I am saddened that DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg will be stepping down but full of gratitude for his close partnership with the city on behalf of Denver’s kids and families,” Hancock said. “As a DPS graduate and a DPS parent, I know firsthand that Tom has led DPS with integrity and commitment. His focus on success for all kids has greatly improved our schools and provided better opportunities for all students to live their dreams. We have much work still to do in DPS, but we have an incredible foundation for moving forward and we are committed to continuing in partnership with the next DPS leader.”
Said Hickenlooper: “Tom Boasberg has invested a significant part of his life into transforming Denver Public Schools into one of the fastest-improving school districts in America.”
“As a DPS parent, former mayor and now governor, I am deeply grateful for the progress made under Tom’s leadership,” the governor said. “I applaud Tom and Team DPS for driving the innovations that are creating a brighter future for tens of thousands of young people in every corner of the city.”
Boasberg said he made the difficult decision to leave DPS after spending time with his family earlier this summer. He noted his children were 8, 6 and 4 years old when he began as superintendent with DPS. In May, his oldest daughter graduated from high school.
“After much reflection, I have decided it is time for me to step down to fulfill my commitment to my family and pass the torch of leadership,” he said.
Former U.S. Secretary of Education John King noted that, “Under Tom Boasberg’s leadership for the past decade, Denver Public Schools has made remarkable academic progress and has become one of the most innovative school districts in the country.”
“Tom has brought tremendous urgency and a deep commitment to closing both opportunity and achievement gaps for students of color and those from low-income backgrounds,” King said. “For many school districts throughout the country, Denver’s innovative and collaborative approaches serve as a valuable model. I look forward to continued growth and progress in Denver.”
Boasberg was selected earlier this year by the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) as the national Hispanic-Serving School District Superintendent of the Year for the progress that Latino students have made in DPS under his leadership. In his letter to DPS staff and community, Boasberg said he is most proud of the progress that African-American and Latino students have made during his time as superintendent, noting that the number of African-American and Latino students graduating from DPS and enrolling in college had doubled during his tenure.
“To see so many of our young men and women succeed in school every year and graduate ready for the next steps in their lives is what has made me proudest during my nearly ten years as your superintendent. Many of these students are the first graduates in their families. Tomorrow, their younger brothers and sisters will follow these pathbreakers,” he said.
“This is our mission and the mission of public education — to do everything possible to make our public schools engines of opportunity for our community. Our schools can and should serve as society’s most powerful drivers of equity and social justice in a nation so desperately in need of both.”
For more information about Denver Public Schools, please visit www.dpsk12.org.