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Adams 14 School District has a new boss

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MetroWest Report

The next man chosen to lead Adams County District 14 is a retired Arizona educator.

Officials at the Adams County District 14 board of education chose Javier Abrego, a retired school superintendent from Arizona to head the Commerce City district, according to Chalkbeat.com.

Abrego takes over for Pat Sanchez, who is now a superintendent of schools near San Francisco.

“I’m pretty sure we choose the right person,” said David Rolla, the school board’s president, told Chalkbeat. “I think we’ll be in good hands.”

A post on the Adams 14 district’s website said Rolla was “pleased with the responses we received from those interested in the position.”

Abrego retired six months ago from Arizona public schools. Before that, he was the superintendent in the Morenci Unified School District, also in Arizona. There, Abrego moved the district’s high school from a state grade of ‘D’ to a ‘B’ in one year, according to the website. The following year, the high school achieved an ‘A’ rating, as did its elementary school.

Adams City High School – and other schools in the district – are in danger of closing or being outsourced, according to Chalkbeat. School districts in the state have to meet district performance framework standards for accreditation.

Four categories are involved - academic achievement, academic growth, academic growth gaps and post-secondary and workforce readiness.

Adams 14’s achievement levels were so low, the Colorado Department of Education accredited the district with a turnaround plan in 2011. The district had five years to make mandated improvements. Those five years are up this year.

One option, according to Chalkbeat, is to allow district-run schools to use some of the freedoms of charter schools, such as a choice of curriculum, change the calendar to allow for more learning time and hire, train and fire teachers outside of contractual obligations.

On the Adams 14 school district website, Rolla said he was impressed with Abrego’s ability to turn around schools in Arizona in a relatively short period of time.

“Javier is a seasoned education veteran who knows what it takes to move an entire district up in student achievement,” Rolla said. “He’s not the type to make all the decisions; rather, he’s the kind of leader that relies on the collective efforts of a team from around the district. He is quick to also ensure that his community is well-represented in the hard work of turnaround.”

Abrego is scheduled to begin his new job Aug. 1.