The chief academic officer of a K-12 school district covering 52 schools in suburban Denver will become the new superintendent of Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41 effective July 1.
Paul Gordon, 45, who oversees academic affairs in Adams 12 Five Star Schools in Westminster, Colo., was named Monday to the top administrative post in the Glen Ellyn district, which encompasses four elementary schools and one junior high. He will succeed Ann Riebock, who is retiring after seven years as superintendent.
Gordon said he was looking to become superintendent in a district that had a similar educational mission, vision and values as his, particularly in its growing emphasis on STEM learning, or Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Three so-called STEM schools were launched in the Colorado district under his watch, including a nationally recognized K-8 STEM lab.
"It really was a perfect match about what they're trying to do for students and where they're trying to go," Gordon said. "Our work around authentic, relevant, rigorous education for students and high-quality professional development -- they're the same things of high value to Glen Ellyn."
Gordon was selected from a total of 299 candidates from 45 states and one foreign country who applied or were contacted by the district's search firm consultant, Ray and Associates. The firm narrowed the list and screened 100 candidates, and then met with the school board to further narrow the pool to six finalists.
After interviews with those six last month, the board brought three back for another round of interviews, after which Gordon was offered the job.
"After interviewing a number of truly exceptional candidates, the board was unanimous that Dr. Gordon is a great fit for our district," school board President Erica Nelson said in a statement. "He brings the professionalism and experience needed to continue the high achievement that District 41 has experienced under Dr. Riebock's leadership these past seven years. He also understands that continued growth for our students includes academic achievement, social-emotional development and belonging to a safe and welcoming place where teachers and staff care deeply about their work."
Having started his career in education 20 years ago in the Adams school district, Gordon worked his way up, starting as a classified staff member, then middle school reading and English teacher, assistant principal, principal, executive director of schools, and finally chief academic officer -- a position he's held for the past three years.
The majority of his teaching and administrative career has been at the middle school level, which spurred him to apply for the District 41 job.
"Coming from a large district of 43,000 students, I'm excited to be able to work in a smaller district where I can actually see and be at the schools," Gordon said.
Gordon is coming to an affluent Glen Ellyn district from a district that covers five towns in the northern suburbs of Denver that range from the very affluent to the most impoverished, he said.
He received a bachelor of arts degree from Metropolitan State University in Denver, a master of arts degree from the University of Phoenix in Denver, and a doctor of education from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, Calif.
The school board Monday approved a three-year contract with Gordon in which he will receive a base salary of $195,000 in the first year, and be eligible for performance-based increases thereafter. The district also will cover contributions for health and dental insurance and retirement.
The district will reimburse Gordon up to $21,500 for expenses related to his move from Colorado, though he must repay the district if he voluntarily leaves employment before June 30, 2015. The contract also requires he live in "proximity" to the district, though he does not need to live within its boundaries. Gordon said he and his family plan to move to the area in June.
When Riebock was hired in April 2006, she was paid a base salary of $210,000. Currently, she receives a base salary of $245,360, $43,749 in other benefits, and will be eligible for $4,764 in retirement enhancements.