Two chiefs for D2

Birhanzel, Rogerson to share helm through June, 2022

It’s officially Superintendents Wendy Birhanzel and John Rogerson.

The Harrison School District 2 Board of Education voted Thursday, June 20, to hire Birhanzel and Rogerson as the state’s first co-superintendents. The duo has been acting as co-chief operating officers since June 2018, having ascended to the roles following the abrupt resignation of then-Superintendent Andre Spencer.

The duo accepted a three-year contract, shoring up the district’s leadership until June of 2022.

“Both Dr. Birhanzel and Mr. Rogerson have been successfully leading the district,” the board announced in a statement. “Both are veterans of Harrison School District Two, having served as building principals and district administrators.

“The new superintendents expressed their thanks for being able to continue to lead the district and look forward to continuing the positive work started this last year,” the statement concluded.

The contracts bring closure to a hiring process that began with a nationwide search more than four months ago. Thirty-one hopefuls applied to be one of the two district chiefs, and from that field emerged three finalists – Birhanzel, Rogerson and the newly named-Manitou Springs District 14 Superintendent Elizabeth Domangue.

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Choosing the next pair proved an arduous task that included private interviews, meetings with a selection committee, a public form and a second round of board interviews. And in late March, an emotional school board deadlocked over which pair would best lead the economically, socially and ethnically diverse district and its 11,700 students.

“You come down to three candidates and you look at the strengths of all three, and you go, ‘Wow, I wish we could smoosh them all together and get the best of all worlds,’” board vice president Linda Pugh said at the time.

Birhanzel has been with the district for 12 years, according to district documentation. An expert in urban education and curriculum development, she spent the last year leading the district’s elementary schools, finance, curriculum and instruction, among other responsibilities.

She holds a doctorate in educational leadership in urban school settings from the University of Southern California, and has been the principal of both Centennial and Wildflower elementary schools.

Since last June, Rogerson has been the chief of secondary education, operations, human resources and student support services, among others. A 14-year veteran of the district, he has experience in the classroom and the boardroom alike, having been principal of both Fox Meadow middle and Giberson elementary schools.

He holds a superintendent certificate from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs; a master’s in educational leadership from Capella University and bachelor’s degrees from UCCS and Northeastern Illinois University.

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