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The superintendent of the Douglas County School District forges ahead amid whirlwind

Corey Wise stepped into his role during the pandemic and immediately faced major challenges

DCSD Superintendent Corey Wise listens to public comment at a Douglas County school board meeting. (Jessica Gibbs, CCM)

This story first appeared in a Colorado Community Media newspaper. The Colorado Sun is an owner of CCM.

Roughly seven years ago, Corey Wise was making the leap from high school principal in the Douglas County School District to working in central administration. He hoped the new role wasn’t his last stop in a public education system.

One day, Wise said, he wanted to be a superintendent.

Little could he know that opportunity would arrive in the middle of a pandemic.

Months earlier, the health crisis had decimated public school budgets and drastically changed the way education was delivered.


Beyond navigating COVID-19, the DCSD was also implementing an equity policy aimed at ensuring “access to equitable and rigorous educational opportunities” and “an inclusive culture,” as the district puts it.

And a national debate about critical race theory in classrooms — something that DCSD insists it does not teach — was contributing to tense debates about the role of equity in education.

Around the time a string of area superintendents were leaving their posts, Wise was stepping up, throwing in for the permanent role at DCSD after serving as a co-leader and then interim superintendent following the departure of former Superintendent Thomas Tucker. He was named permanent superintendent in April and his term commenced May 12.

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School Board President David Ray said near the school year’s start that Wise faced a climate where any decision he’d make would leave some people unhappy.