DENVER (CBS4) – Dr. Alex Marrero will be Denver’s next public school superintendent. The DPS board of directors voted 6 to 1 to appoint the former acting superintendent of the New Rochelle City School District in New York City. Although he had a lot of support among the board members, a local education group said it was not the right time to select the new DPS chief.
The Latino Education Council wrote a letter to the DPS on Wednesday in a final plea to convince the board to delay its vote. The LEC has expressed concerns about the search of the superintendent previously.
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In a letter to DPS board chair Olson and members of the Denver Public School Board of Trustees, the Latino Education Council wrote:
“The recent federal lawsuit against Dr. Marrero (both as an individual and official) and the new allegations of possible sexual misconduct against the director of the DPS, Anderson, have further distressed the citizens of Denver.
A federal lawsuit accuses Marrero and others of silencing and hampering the efforts of New Rochelle school district medical director Brook Balchan during the pandemic. In addition, the LEC said that the board’s lack of transparency in its responses to these questions had eroded trust in the education board.
“He’s going to have to deal not only with the DPS, but also with all the allegations in New Rochelle,” said Dr. Martha Urioste, a member of the Latino Education Council and a DPS educator for 45 years.
In the letter, the LEC expressed to the DPS its concerns that Marrero would be busy answering interrogations, participating in his depositions and spending many hours with his lawyers.
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Urioste also said she was unsure of Marrero’s qualification to lead a district as diverse as the DPS.
“There are hundreds of language groups in DPS. I’m not sure that’s what he had in New Rochelle. It’s a very complicated neighborhood, ”said Urioste. “There were only 10,000 students in New Rochelle. In Denver public schools, there are nearly 100,000.
DPS board member Dr Barbara O’Brien shared similar sentiments during the vote on Thursday. She was the only member to vote against Marrero’s nomination.
“I don’t think our process has produced the kind of stellar candidates for Denver public school superintendents that we deserve to get. I think we should have someone who has a lot more experience, ”said O’Brien. “From the start, I couldn’t figure out what he really stood for other than the same things most candidates say.”
In a statement to CBS4, the DPS said they trusted Dr. Marrero and supported the choice of the superintendent. Marrero-friendly board members like Scott Baldermann shared their support ahead of the vote.
“This is our opportunity to promote new policies and a new vision based on equity for the students of Denver. You are the right person to lead this charge, Dr Marrero, ”said Baldermann.
After the vote, Marrero said a few words to the board. He recognized the barriers that students in large urban districts often face and his commitment to equity. He said Denver Public Schools will be the nation’s model school district.
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Marrero’s appointment will take effect on July 6.