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At a special meeting held last night in the maintenance and transportation building near Pagosa Springs High School, the Archuleta School District Board of Education had one unexpected addition to its routine discussion of personnel matters — the resignation of superintendent Mark DeVoti.
DeVoti provided SUN staff with a copy of his resignation letter before the meeting.
“Please accept my resignation as superintendent of Archuleta School District 50 JT, effective September 30, 2013,” DeVoti ‘s letter began. “After 16 years as a Pagosa Springs Educator, the last 12 with the school district, I have accepted a leadership position with the Colorado Association of School Boards, beginning October 1. CASB offered a position that sought me out, for which I did not apply, as I had no intention of leaving our district at this time.”
A press release issued earlier yesterday from CASB stated, “Mark DeVoti, superintendent of Archuleta School District 50 Joint in Pagosa Springs, has been named Associate Executive Director of the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB). His primary responsibilities will include overseeing CASB’s Superintendent Search service and school board training and development.”
DeVoti’s letter continued, “I am proud of the work we have done over the past six plus years together to benefit our students, staff, and community, and you are well positioned to go farther.
“Our work together has helped the district weather a significant loss of funding from the state, adjusted to a declining student enrollment from a lack of jobs for parents in our local economy, and has seen the beginning of a turnaround on the condition of some of our aging facilities.”
In an earlier phone interview, DeVoti assured SUN staff that he loved the Pagosa Springs community and his decision to resign had nothing to do with local politics or the pressures of his current job. While he is excited to move to Denver, and hopes to be able to find an apartment close to the capitol building, he will miss this place, and regrets having to move so far away from his two sons, who are currently either working for or going to school at Fort Lewis College in Durango.
“As a district under your oversight we not only had the financial savvy to remain current with staff salaries,” the letter detailed, “bettering over 95% of Colorado, and keeping our quality educators from leaving, but our value of education increased programming in all subject areas. We were recognized as one of only several Innovation Districts in Colorado. When other districts cut opportunities, we added them.”
“We are thrilled that Mark has agreed to join our team,” said CASB Executive Director Ken DeLay. “His strong track record as a leader in the Archuleta School District, as well as statewide, will greatly benefit our work with school boards and superintendents across Colorado. In addition, he leaves his district in a position of strength and in capable hands, which is important to us at CASB.”
“Our work together has taken our education message and story to state, national and international platforms,” DeVoti wrote, “and has put this community on the map regarding Colorado K-12 education. But don’t ask me if that’s so! Ask the commissioner of education, ask the Colorado Legacy Foundation, ask the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, but most importantly, ask the students who have gone on into the world from a Pagosa Springs public school education. In 2011 The Colorado Association of School Boards recognized you as one of three ‘Boards of Distinction’ out of 178 in the state, and for good reason! With you, the district is in good hands.”
DeVoti, whose background is in special education, helped establish the alternative high school at the Archuleta County Education Center, which he then directed for four years. Moving to the ASD, DeVoti served as principal at the intermediate school from 2001-2007 before being named superintendent.
He then helped the district establish the Pirate Achievement Center, an in-district alternative education program serving high school students. The district also created FAMA: Fine Arts Magnet Academy, a pathway focused on arts education.
“In addition to his school district work,” the CASB news release concluded, “DeVoti was appointed in 2012 by Colorado Education Commissioner Robert Hammond to the Global Education Leader’s Program (GELP), a six-member team collaborating globally to transform education. He has served on Gov. John Hickenlooper’s Education Leadership Council since 2011.”
At the meeting, DeVoti recommended assistant superintendent Linda Reed as his replacement, and offered to remain in the district until the end of September to help with the transition.