WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. - Jefferson County Schools superintendent finalist Dan McMinimee faced tough questions Thursday night during the first meet-and-greet at Wheat Ridge High School.
The board named McMinimee the sole contender for the position at the state's second-largest school district after a 3-2 vote on Saturday. He is currently the assistant superintendent of secondary education for the Douglas County School District.
Parents and teachers raised concerns about school vouchers to attend private schools and a growing climate of fear and frustration after three conservative members became the board's new majority.
"This board has dismantled in six months what some of us spent 30 years to build and it breaks my heart, sir," a former Jefferson County teacher expressed to an eruption of applause.
"It's really insulting because we've built a great school. We've built a great community. We've built so many great things in JeffCo, and we've seen our colleagues in Douglas County lose so many things," said Matthew Landon, a teacher in the JeffCo District.
McMinimee said he is committed to being a part of the process and working with and listening to the staff to improve the climate. But he said it will take the effort of the entire community.
"I think we all own the climate and the culture of the district," McMinimee told 7NEWS' reporter Molly Hendrickson. "That's the first thing I think we need to get to, is who owns this, who is responsible for it. The second piece is about having honest conversations and identifying the things that we need to improve and then try and pick things that we can get better at."
The next meet-and-greet with McMinimee is scheduled for Monday at 4:30 p.m. at Lakewood's Carmody Middle School, 2050 S. Kipling Street.