When Thomas Tucker, the former superintendent of Douglas County School District, resigned last September, he did so amid an investigation into allegations of workplace discrimination. The investigation, completed in October, found Tucker did not violate any district policies.
In a statement, Douglas County School District said “the investigator found that the complaint was made in good faith, but that there was no policy violation.”
Tucker, who now serves as deputy commissioner and chief equity officer at the Kentucky Department of Education, left Colorado last fall to move closer to his family, including his mother who has since passed away. Tucker said the allegations were filed against him after he did not renew a cabinet member’s contract.
“To be accused of workplace discrimination, being an African American man who was born at the end of Jim Crow in the South, I found that very disheartening and quite frankly, disturbing,” he said. “I was 100% confident that the outside investigator would not find any evidence I engaged in workplace discrimination.”
Tucker is the Kentucky Department of Education’s first equity officer, a role in which he helps reform practices, policies and procedures to support academic fairness and inclusivity in the state’s more than 170 public districts. As deputy commissioner, he also oversees the Office of Teaching and Learning. Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Tucker said they had “absolutely zero” to do with his decision to leave Douglas County School District.
“Not just impacting the lives of 68,000 students, which was a tremendous honor I did not take lightly in Douglas County, but to impact and improve the lives of 650,000 students in Kentucky was not a challenge I wanted to pass up,” Tucker said.
Since last summer, Colorado has experienced a wave of superintendent resignations that leaves the four largest school districts to simultaneously search for new leaders. Last week, Scott Siegfried at Cherry Creek School District became the latest to announce his retirement. Denver Public Schools, Jeffco Public Schools, Douglas County and Cherry Creek all aim to hire a superintendent before by fall 2021.
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