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Colorado Education Commissioner stepping down July

Katy Anthes oversaw multiple challenges during her six-year tenure, including the most challenging crisis ever in public education — the pandemic.
Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes plans to resign this July. She has held the position since 2016. (Jenny Brundin/CPR News)

Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes plans to resign this July. The board is expected to discuss the replacement process early in the new year.

Anthes, who holds a doctorate in public policy, has held the position since 2016 and is leaving as a newly expanded nine-member State Board of Education takes office in January.

“I am really proud of our work at the department over these last six years,” Anthes said in a news release. “Through all the challenges, I’ve always been committed to listening to diverse perspectives, and aiming for the productive middle ground on issues that could have divided us – with a clear focus on students. I'm proud to have helped build a culture of responsiveness, transparency and pride in providing excellent customer service at CDE.”

Anthes was appointed interim commissioner by the state board of education in mid-2016 and was named commissioner at the end of that year. She held several executive positions at the department before becoming commissioner.

Anthes oversaw multiple challenges during her six-year tenure, with the largest being shepherding the department and overseeing school districts through the most challenging crisis ever in public education – the pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of students and teachers were sent into remote learning, something they had never done before.

She also oversaw changes in the state’s accountability system, academic standards, multiple changes in the standardized tests administered, how teachers are evaluated and the implementation of the READ Act to help more kindergartners through third-graders read at grade level.

She also navigated politically challenging issues, such as the board's decision to reorganize the Adams 14 school district after a decade of low performance.

Anthes garnered the respect of a politically diverse board of education for her attention to detail, equanimity and focus on consensus.

Board vice chair Steve Durham said Anthes has the perfect leadership style to guide the board and stakeholders through difficult policy decisions.

“Dr. Anthes has always been so respectful of different opinions and perspectives and at the same time she’s absolutely committed to the goal of ensuring all students have access to a high-quality education,” Durham said. “We’ve been able to make great strides in several key areas under her leadership — especially the expansion of work-based learning opportunities for our high school students and the meaningful implementation of the READ Act to ensure all students are reading at grade level.”

Board chair Angelika Schroeder said Anthes’ commitment to collaboration and support laid a positive foundation for our improvement work with districts.

“Many of the districts that came before the board are now seeing positive trends, and I credit Katy for these outcomes because she understands that we can go farther when we listen to each other and work together respectfully to support students.”

To read more stories from Colorado Public Radio, visit www.cpr.org.