May 17, 2023 - Education

Denver schools missing key security chiefs amid violence

Police investigate a shooting at Denver's East High School on March 22. Photo: Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post

Denver Public Schools is operating without its security chief and a key deputy at a significant moment.

Why it matters: The vacancies come as the district develops a new safety plan and faces questions about three shootings at or near East High School.

Driving the news: The district's former safety chief, Mike Eaton, departed in November after more than a decade in the post, our education reporting partners at Chalkbeat write.

  • The interim chief, Robert Grossaint, is on medical leave. And one of the two deputies, Melissa Craven, left the district in April, weeks after the latest shooting at East.

What's happening: In a March memo, superintendent Alex Marrero's administration blamed the delay on media coverage of the school board's infighting and the need to find a candidate who can balance student's social and emotional needs with public safety

The intrigue: The chief job was posted in September with a salary range of $123,711 to $143,466, and drew 121 applicants through March. A dozen candidates advanced but none were selected

What they're saying: "We've had trouble finding a candidate that has both the safety and security chops in addition to a student-centric mindset — and in particular a person who understands the needs of communities and students of color," the memo states.

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