Durango School District 9-R Superintendent Dan Snowberger on Wednesday announced his resignation effective in June, the end of the school year.
The announcement came at the end of a special Board of Education meeting Wednesday.
“As you know, I’ve been here for nine years and I have valued every moment of my time in leading this amazing district and team of educators and support staff,” he told the board.
“For the past year, as I’ve experienced attacks while managing my own personal challenges with Olga’s accident and the declining health of my father, I have made the decision not to seek renewal of my contract.”
In December 2018, Snowberger’s wife, Olga, suffered serious injuries after she was hit by a car after they had been rear-ended and Snowberger and she had exited the car.
Shere Byrd, who stepped down as president of the Board of Education at the same meeting, praised Snowberger.
“I’d like to recognize the long-term commitment to the district and the leadership you’ve provided,” she said.
Board members noted the average tenure for a superintendent in Colorado is only 2.3 years, and Byrd noted Snowberger had provided dedication, stability and commitment that is rare.
Kristin Smith, who represents District B, principally western La Plata County, was elected school board president at the meeting.
School board member Mick Souder, who has taught 11 years and served as a curriculum developer, said, “I tell everybody, Dan Snowberger is the best superintendent I’ve ever worked with.”
Amiah Hanson, a student representative on the board from Durango High School, praised Snowberger for keeping in-person learning an option for as long as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The district this week announced it is going to all-remote learning after a COVID-19 spike in the county that was reflected with increased transmission rates in schools.
Durango schools had been using three learning models this year to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic – in-person learning five days a week at schools; remote, online learning five days a week at home; and a blended model with three days remote learning and two days in school.
Snowberger, who was hired as superintendent in 2012, earns $169,320 per year.
In 2018, Snowberger drew public criticism for a number of issues that occurred in quick succession, including:
His handling of a sexual assault complaint involving a student at Riverview Elementary School.A 46-page “white paper” released by a group of residents, employees and former employees, who accused him of reporting inaccuracies on résumés and applications for past jobs, including his position with 9-R.Publicly denying an incident took place at Needham Elementary School in which 911 was called against the school district’s spokeswoman.Using his school district email account to air his “personal agenda,” for which he was reprimanded by the school board.Snowberger refuted the details behind many of the allegations and said the factual premise behind many of them was faulty.
But under Snowberger’s leadership, Durango students have also scored highly on state tests and the Durango High School graduation rate has consistently improved. The graduation rate is now at 87.4% with a goal set of reaching 90%.
The graduation rate also bested the state average four-year graduation rate of 80.7% based on statistics released by the Colorado Department of Education.
Snowberger leaves just as 9-R received voter approval to issue $90 million in new bonds to improve security at schools as well as working to remove a backlog of maintenance needs at schools and to build two new structures, a new building for Miller Middle School on the current campus and a Career and Technical Education Center probably on the Durango High School campus.
Snowberger’s departure comes after 9-R Deputy Superintendent Andy Burns left in August after accepting a position with the Pueblo School District. Burns’ wife had accepted a position with a medical practice in Pueblo and had relocated a year earlier.
Snowberger told board members, “I’m not sure what the future holds. Retirement is tempting, but I also am not sure that I’ve given all that I can to the field.”
The board also elected new officers in addition to president. Souder will serve as board treasurer. Erika Brown will be vice president, and Andrea Parmenter will remain as secretary.
email@example.com This story has been updated to note Kristin Smith represents district B on the Durango School District 9-R Board of Education. An incorrect district was given in an earlier version of this story.