Local blogger and author Paula Reed has the scuttlebutt on yet another ridiculous decision made by Jefferson County Schools Superintedent Dan McMinimee. As she writes in a post titled, "Our New Chief Propaganda Officer":
Lynn Setzer, JeffCo’s Chief Communications Officer, left JeffCo last November. As has been the process, an interview team of staff members assembled to bring forward a list of qualified candidates to replace her. JeffCo’s superintendent ignored all of their recommendations and went for a candidate whom the interview committee had deemed unqualified. She did not go to public school, sends her kids to private school, and has no experience in communications for any public school system. In fact, two of the five board members questioned hiring her. They, too, were ignored, and she was hired for more money than her experienced predecessor. [Pols emphasis]
Kind of like this superintendent, hired despite his lack of experience and despite the legitimate questions of two of the five board members and paid more than his far more experienced, far more educated predecessor.
What made our new Chief Communications Officer, Lisa Pinto, so attractive to this superintendent and board majority? She is a graduate of the distinctly political Leadership Program of the Rockies, a tea-party-run organization with an explicit political agenda and to which two of the board majority are tied. In short, they now get to use taxpayer money to publicize their agenda.
Yowzers. Jefferson County Schools hired a new Chief Communications Officer that the interview committee had deemed unqualified…and not only that, but they hired someone who hails from the "Leadership Program of the Rockies," an organization founded by a longtime vouchers advocate: former Congressman Bob Schaffer.
Sometimes it can be difficult to gauge if a new hiring decision is purely political, but in this case? Not so much. As Reed points out, Lisa Pinto's problems with English and grammar were front-and-center in the latest issue of "Chalk Talk," the parent newsletter created by the Jeffco Schools' communications office. This is an actual paragraph reportedly written by someone with the title of "Chief Communications Officer":
“Students, teachers, parents, administrators, President John Ford of the Jefferson County Educators’ Association and community members have all expressed concern that students are being over assessed and that the number of assessments and time required by state standardized tests has become excessive. On Thursday, Jan. 15, your school board voted 3 (for) -1(against)-1 (abstained) (with Mr. Witt, Newkirk and Ms. Williams voting in favor) to request waivers from the State Board of Education from the Performance Based PARCC assessments.”
It's not too difficult to see why a hiring committee might have suggested that Pinto was "unqualified."