Meet Ken Witt, the new Superintendent of Woodland Park School District RE-2
The Woodland Park School District has been without a Superintendent since parting ways with Dr. Matthew Neal in July. Dr. Neal, who was hired by the previous school board, enjoyed a very short tenure with the district. Dr. Neals predecessor, Steve Woolf, was terminated by the district after being arrested for driving under the influence earlier in 2020.
The current WPSD School Board initiated a superintendent search in November of this year, and announced Ken Witt as the single finalist during a special board meeting on Dec 7th, and selected Mr. Witt as their interim superintendent during a Dec. 21st meeting. Mr. Witt has a wealth of experience within the area of public education. He is the founder of No Waitlists, an organization that assisted aspiring charter schools. He currently serves as the Executive Director of Education reEnvisioned BOCES. This organization is one of many Colorado Boards of Cooperative Educational Services that were established to pursue the “general improvement and expansion of education services of the public schools in Colorado” per the Boards of Cooperative Services Act of 1965. Education ReEnvisioned has stood out for their efforts with addressing the needs of students with learning disabilities, providing school choice options in underserved districts, and notably, sought to minimize the impact of the local, state and federal mandates on children during the COVID 19 epidemic. Mr. Witt’s resume also contains several notable executive roles in private industry, including CEO of a software company, VP of Engineering at Data Race, a public communications electronics company, Information Security Officer of Probuild Holdings, formerly the largest private corporation in Colorado, and Information Security Officer of Newmont Mining. By all measures, Ken is an extremely qualified for this role.
Mr. Witt also served as the Board President of the Jeffco School District, where he championed merit-based pay for teachers, and equalized funding between the district run and charter public schools. Funding equalization efforts Mr. Witt’s board pioneered resulted in state legislation that required equitable funding for all district run and charter schools throughout the state. Ken’s board also reduced the teacher’s union contract with Jeffco from 120 pages to less than 40 after he announced that “not a single word will be written in this contract that is not in the best interest of students”. Mr. Witt’s revolutionary initiatives made his board the target of a recall campaign, backed by the National Education Association affiliated JCEA. The NEA still touts their success in the Jeffco recall effort on their website in an article entitled “How to Oust a Right-Wing School Board”. The Woodland Park School board faced a similar but unsuccessful challenge this year from their local NEA affiliate, the WPEA.
The district has experienced challenges over the past two decades, including a massive decrease in enrollment and lackluster academic achievement. The WPSD district’s 2021 attendance saw just over 1,800 students enrolled in the district, a far cry from their 2001 high of over 3,300 students. The Colorado Department of Education shows mediocre Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) and PSAT test results for the 21-22 academic year. Just 38% of WPSD Elementary Students were proficient in Math, 49% for Middle and 52% for High School last school year. English scores are a bit more positive, showing 64% proficiency in High School. The WPSD achieved a graduation rate of only 72.9% for the 21-22 school year.
The voters and parents of WPSD have actively sought to transform the district for the better over the last three years, as evidenced by the creation of the district’s first charter school, Merit Academy, and the election of four school board members that ran on a platform promising massive improvements to the quality of education within the district. The board’s selection of Mr. Ken Witt as their sole finalist and most recently their final selection for interim superintendent appears to be directly in-line with the desires district’s stakeholders. Ken Witt is an ideal candidate Superintendent for Woodland Park School District.