Julie McMorris

Dear Englewood Schools Community,

At the August 16 Board of Education meeting, I informed the Board of my intention to retire in June 2023, at the conclusion of this school year. At that point, I will have completed 8 years in Englewood as Superintendent and 28 years in public education in Colorado.

When I accepted my position with Englewood in 2015, I could not have imagined how gratifying and fulfilling the next eight years would be. I am beyond proud of all we have accomplished together, and of all of the hard work of every person in our organization to ensure our students and their families have an exceptional experience in Englewood Schools.

Reflecting upon my tenure thus far in Englewood, I want to share some of the work and experiences that have been/are most meaningful to me.

We built FIVE brand new schools! Thanks to the 2016 bond issue that was supported by our voters, we were able to replace aged facilities that could not support the learning environments and infrastructure needs that we know provide foundations for student learning and best practices in instruction. Our new schools not only allow for great instruction and learning, they are also each unique and reflect the neighborhoods in which they sit as well as the personalities and identities of each school community.

As a response to current realities in school safety and security, a Director of Safety and Security position was established to develop and standardize safety and security procedures and responses across the district. Regular drills, common language, and ongoing updates to best practices are led and managed centrally so that EVERY student and staff member across the district know how to respond in the event of a safety or security concern regardless of what building or classroom they are in at any given time. The Director also works closely with Englewood Police and other Safety and Security Directors and offices throughout the state.

Through our participation in University of Virginia’s Partners for Leadership in Education program (PLE), we developed cogent, research-based curricula in core subject areas upon which we built numerous support materials and systems including pacing guides, year-at-a-glance guides, model lessons, standards-aligned internal interim assessments, and so much more, all designed to ensure our students will learn and grow each day. Our efforts in this area are captured through our ongoing, multi-year Academic Advancement Initiative (AAI).

During COVID, we kept our schools open and welcoming to our students while at the same time we built out an entire online K-12 system in a matter of weeks. We recognized the fundamental importance of daily contact with our students, whether in-person or synchronously through Google Classroom.  We had real instruction, every day, for all of our students. As I have said many times, I challenge anyone to find a district who provided more consistency and support for students throughout the pandemic than what we accomplished in Englewood.  Our success during a global pandemic unlike anything in history relied on the commitment of our staff and the collaborative processes we employed from the very beginning to problem-solve and create.

A major recent celebration and shining example of collaboration is in the creation and adoption of a new salary schedule for licensed employees. The outdated and decades-old salary schedule served neither the interests of the district or licensed staff.  Our new salary schedule is easy to understand, demonstrates value for new and veteran licensed staff, and will allow for more responsiveness to market and economic realities now and into the future. I am extremely proud of the work and the result in this area, as it more accurately recognizes the amazing licensed staff that serve our kids and our district each day. And, make no mistake, our licensed staff is made up of so many incredible professionals – we are so lucky to have them in Englewood! We look forward to addressing our classified schedule next.

Strong relationships have been developed and nurtured with key City of Englewood officials as well as the Englewood Police Department. At the state level, Englewood is frequently at the forefront of state legislators’ minds as they create and support or disavow legislation and policy.  Englewood Schools has a regular presence at the state capitol through advocacy and testimony each legislative session. Englewood is recognized as an important district and an important community in policy-making conversations.

I could go on for days and days highlighting all of the remarkable things that have happened in Englewood of which I have been able to be a part.  I want to also acknowledge and celebrate that I have been so fortunate to be able to lead while enjoying school boards made up of people who care deeply about our kids, our staff, our community and our district. That is not the case for many superintendents, and I am acutely aware of how fortunate I have been.

Similarly, we have a team of central and building leaders that are TRUE experts in their areas of responsibility and have elevated our district and our schools time and time again.  I have never in my career worked with a team of experts on the level of our current leaders. They are exceptional leaders, and even more exceptional human beings. Their dedication to and longevity in Englewood provides the stability and expertise needed to continue the work we have been doing well into the future. The support teams in Operations, Maintenance and Transportation (OMT), IT, Food Services, Human Resources, Business Services and Learning Services are all so very talented and have been/are essential to our success as a district both daily and over time.

I am looking forward to my final school year in Englewood being one that is characterized by more successes, great and small. One that will also be grounded in our dedication to our kids, families and one another.  We will be working on our new Strategic Plan, and looking at our work and our organization through a more purposeful lens of opportunity, access and inclusion. This is very exciting work!

Over the next several weeks, the Board of Education will be determining their process and timeline for selecting a new superintendent who will begin in July 2023. Thank you for indulging me and allowing me to share some thoughts as I made this announcement. I know that this will be a terrific year and I am looking forward to every minute of it!

All best, always,

Wendy Rubin, Ed.D.
Englewood Schools