Douglas County Assistant Superintendent Daniel McMinimee is the lone finalist out of 60 candidates for the Jeffco Schools superintendent position. The board approved the selection Saturday afternoon on a 3 to 2 vote, with members Ken Witt, John Newkirk and Julie Williams voting to approve the finalist. Lesley Dahlkemper and Jill Fellman voted against the approval.
McMinimee currently works as the assistant superintendent of secondary education for the Douglas County school district. Before coming to Douglas County, he served as principal, assistant principal, coach and teacher for the Salem-Keizer Public Schools in Oregon, a district with more than 40,000 students.
McMinimee is a Jefferson County resident and has a child attending Chatfield High School. He also has a son who graduated from Columbine High School. McMinimee said he attended a Jeffco elementary school as a child before his parents moved to Littleton.
McMinimee was also the chief negotiator in 2012, when Douglas County failed to reach an agreement on a new contract with the teachers union. The contract expired June 30, 2012.
That was the first year of open negotiations in Douglas County, but talks broke down after the teachers, whose pay had been frozen for four years, disagreed about the details of a compensation increase and other issues. Douglas County is the largest district in Colorado to operate without a collective bargaining agreement in place.
Douglas County also instituted a controversial voucher program. This spring, it was announced that a lawsuit about that issue is now headed to the Colorado Supreme Court.
Frustration among the board's critics was abundant on social media after the announcement. "A successful school district, with a nationally recognized superintendent, Jeffco was in no need of reform," read one tweet.
"Community members unhappy with the implications of this choice for rebuilding trust and transparency," tweeted Ami Prichard. Prichard is president of the Jefferson County Education Association, which worked out a tentative contract agreement on Friday. That agreement still needs to be approved by JCEA's members and the Jeffco School Board. It is unclear whether today's announcement of superintendent finalist will impact that process.
"We are very pleased with the finalist who has emerged as the top contender for the job of Jeffco superintendent," Witt said in a press release.
The Jeffco School Board met in executive session on Monday to select semifinalists. It met again on Friday and Saturday to interview candidates and announce a finalist or finalists.
The board is required to wait 14 days before offering McMinimee the position. In the meantime, McMinimee is expected to meet with the Jeffco community in a series of public meetings. The dates and times for those meetings have not yet been announced. The advertised salary for the position was around $280,000.