Lt. Gov. O’Brien to Lead a Team for Washington, D.C. Presentation


Gov. Bill Ritter, Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien and Colorado Education Commissioner Dwight D. Jones announced today that the U.S. Department of Education has named Colorado as one of 16 finalists for the first round of Race to the Top education reform grants. Colorado and the other finalists were selected from 40 states and the District of Columbia.


Colorado is committed to providing a 21st century education that fully prepares our students to compete and succeed in a global economy,” Gov. Ritter said. “I am pleased we have been named a finalist, but this is a competitive grant process and we still need to make our case. Regardless of the outcome, we now have a roadmap that leads directly to stronger and more effective student-centered education reforms.”


The state’s Race to the Top proposal was developed with input from more than 600 people. The proposal is being supported by 134 local school districts serving 94 percent of Colorado‘s K-12 public school students.


“It’s gratifying to be in the finalist list, but we know this is just the beginning of our work. The end goal is reducing the achievement gap, turning around struggling schools and improving our skills, data and tools for students,” said Lt. Gov. O’Brien, who spearheaded the proposal process.


“We are thrilled to be included in the group invited to make presentations,” said Commissioner Jones. “We are confident that Colorado will continue to move forward in this process. One key to Colorado‘s application is the strong alliance among the state’s education community, and we believe that strength will carry us on this final lap.”


All 16 finalists will present their proposals to a panel of reviewers in Washington, D.C., the week of March 15. Lt. Gov. O’Brien and Commissioner Jones will lead the Colorado team of presenters. Colorado‘s Race to the top proposal asks for $377 million over four years. Successful first round Race to the Top applicants will be announced in April.


Work will continue on education reform at the local level, as Gov. Ritter today also announced the appointees to the Colorado Council for Educator Effectiveness. The council was created by executive order to work on defining educator effectiveness and new educator evaluations tied to student growth. The council will meet at 3 p.m. March 11 at the Colorado Community College System office,

9101 E. Lowry Blvd.

, Bldg. 959, President’s Conference Room, Aurora.


Members of the Council for Educator Effectiveness:


·         Colorado Department of Education: Nina Lopez, Special Assistant to Education Commissioner


·         Colorado Department of Higher Education: Lorrie Shepard, Dean, School of Education, University of ColoradoBoulder


·         Teachers: Shelly Genereax of Brighton School District 27J, Kerrie Dallman of Jefferson County Public Schools, Amie Baca-Oehlert of Adams District 12, Nikkie Felix of Aurora Public Schools


·         Public School Administrators: Margaret Crespo, Principal of John Evans Middle School in Weld County, Tracy Dorland, Executive Director of Teacher Effectiveness  in Denver Public Schools


·         Public School Superintendent: Sandra Smyser, Superintendent of Eagle County Schools


·         School Board Members: Bill Bregar of Pueblo District 70, Jo Ann Baxter of MoffatCounty


·         Charter Schools: Colin Mullaney, Principal of CheyenneMountain Charter in Colorado Springs


·         Public School Parent: Towanna Henderson of Denver Public Schools


·         Student: Shelby Gonzales-Parker of JusticeHigh School in Denver Public Schools


·         At-Large Member: Matt Smith, Vice-President of Engineering, United Launch Alliance